It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Monday, July 6, 2009

Should Christians Boycott Churches That Don't Provide Schools?

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: A friend of mine recently brought up a thought provoking question. The area in which we live is marked by a handful of prominent mega-churches of various denominations. Not a single one of these mega-churches provides a Christian school or a subsidized homeschool program. To send your kids to a Christian school in this area, you have to go to a smaller church. Even then there aren't very many that provide schools. There are a few Catholic schools, one Lutheran school, one Baptist school, along with a few Evangelical schools and homeschool cooperatives. That's it. When you consider this immediate area has over 600 churches, that's a pretty amazingly low number of Christian schools.

So that being said, what is the purpose of a church? Whether you're Catholic or Protestant, Reformed or Evangelical, the answer is the same. The primary role of the Church is to preach the gospel, and provide for the spiritual needs of Christians. Of course the primary spiritual need of all Christian families is a Christian education for children. That being the case, why are so few churches actively involved in education? And what does that say about those churches that fail to provide education programs for children? Certainly the argument could be made that very small churches might not be able to provide education programs for children. That's understandable. However, there is still no reason why such small churches can't team up with other small churches and pool their resources in some way to provide this essential need.

I recently spoke with a retired public school teacher, and devout Protestant Christian, about this problem. I specifically asked her why she thought this problem existed. She laughed a bit, and said that question was an easy one for anyone old enough to remember. Here's what she told me. The reason why so many non-Catholic churches don't provide schools is because up until a few decades ago, they didn't have to. That's because prior to 1963, nondenominational Protestant Christianity was openly taught in the public schools. Prayers were recited before classes each day, the Protestant Bible (usually the King James Version) was openly read as part of the curriculum, and schools regularly organized one-hour weekly field trips (usually on a Friday) to a nearby Protestant church for nondenominational worship services (with parental permission of course). So for the majority of the 20th century, the government provided education for Protestant churches. As this retired school teacher put it, "they just got lazy." It's been nearly five decades since those days, and a lot has changed. Public schools no longer provide Christian education for children, but sadly, neither do most Protestant churches. In the course of half a century, our government education has radically changed the way it does business, but the nation's Protestant churches have not. Maybe it's time to adapt.

Catholic churches have a better track record with religious schools, but mainly because they were forced to provide their own for so long (over a century). Still there are many rural places throughout the United States where Catholic schools are not available to local Catholics, even if a town parish is provided. In this case, something in the way of parish subsidized home education ought to at least be explored.

When churches fail to provide such a fundamental spiritual need as childhood education, it really speaks a lot about their priorities. So my friend's question is simply this. Regardless of denomination, or even if they have kids, should Christians boycott churches that do not in some way try to meet the education needs of children, and go to church somewhere else instead?