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So, it never fails that I after I do some of these sessions on Special Education in the Christian schools that I hear from teachers that work in these schools that their own children can't attend the school they work at because of a learning disability, autism, or ADHD, etc. Though we are beginning to want to approach and address this problem, we still have so much work to do!!! And the first step to making this possible is the belief that we HAVE to do this. If this isn't bought into by the entire body of Christians, our Christian circles, Christian culture, etc. Then we only make up excuses... excuses of why we can't do it or why it is not our fault or problem. I often hear some of these “reasons” such as – “this isn't the mission of our Christian school”. Or as I have said in the previous blog, I'll hear – “That's your calling. Not my calling”. So, in this blog – I would like to explore some of what the scripture says about this topic. Is this a calling? Or is it a Christian mandate? Is this righteousness? There are so many great verses, so here are some of my favorites –
Here is how Job describes his righteousness - "I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger" Job 29:14-16.
And I know we all believe this!!!! We all feel we do our part by sponsoring a child overseas, going on mission trips, sending children overseas on mission trips, supporting our missionaries, filling up shoeboxes with criticial needs, on and on I could go. These are wonderful, and I don't want to take away the importance of these gifts. But it isn't really going through the work it takes to make it part of our everyday cultural. We do these things, while loosing sight of our own community.
But my absolute favorite is Jesus' words, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors, if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed” Luke 14:12-13. So thinking of these verses, when you think of our Christian schools, they are very often the rich, our church family and friends, our neighbors. How often do you think of Christian schools and churches as being filled of the poor, the lame, the blind? Schools may be private if they are open to the elite. But if these schools aren't also open to accepting “the least of these”, I'm honestly not sure if they can define themselves as Christian. - Strong words, I know... stay with me through all these blogs :).
One of the first thing I hear from general education teachers (btw, it is general education and not regular education... if you say regular then you imply that special education is irregular :)... you can tell I'm in teaching mode)... anyway, when I hear from general education teachers, Christian teachers, Christian principals, I often hear – “what about the rest of the students? What does this do for the other 125 I teach in high school, the other 25 in my class, the other 1,000 in our school? We can't stop everything we are doing to help Johnny”. Now, if you feel this way or you work with others who do, I challenge you to study Luke 15, the parable of the lost sheep. I have this image of Jesus leaving the flock, leaving the 99 in safety because they trust Him and He goes after the one lost sheep. I love the image, the image of a sheep on the Good Sheppard's shoulders... Our focus is to be on the broken, the needy, the hungry... the message is clear. It is also the separation of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25. THE message, The mandate...
But there is still more to come... :)