“provoke to love and good works”

Here also is security for the welfare and renown of a commonwealth;
for no state is perfectly established and preserved otherwise than on the
foundation and by the bond of faith and of firm concord,
when the highest and truest common good, namely, God, is loved by all,
and men love each other in Him without dissimulation,
because they love one another for His sake from whom they cannot disguise
the real character of their love

St Augustine

(poor example of spontaneous note taking / Julie Cook / 2018)

it happened that before I could elaborate on last week’s video offering
by the Scottish pastor David Robertson..that being a video posting from his
Wee Flea Blog and the SOLAS conference talk given in 2010—
during the course of the weekend here came another posting.

It seems our Wee Flea friend is faster at offering tasty morsels than I am at
digesting them and then in turn sharing the nourishment of the morsel with you…..

This time the posting is from a 2013 SOLAS conference which focuses on education
and the poor.

Very powerful, sobering and collar grabbing kind of stuff.

And well, you didn’t think a retired educator, a Christian retired educator,
one who taught for 31 years in the secular public educational system of the
United States could actually pass over such a tempting morsel without stopping
to take it all in did you??

Despite this latest SOLAS (remember Gaelic for Light) offering running for
nearly an hour…I couldn’t let it pass without giving it my undivided attention.

During last week’s video offering, I wrote down two quotes of David’s…

“When you remove Christianity from a country, [its] education declines”

“Secularism doesn’t educate you—it dumbs you down.”

I was struck by both of those statements.

And as I am also a faithful reader of Citizen Tom’s blog (https://citizentom.com)
as Tom often points out the dire and dismal state of the educational system in the
United States, I knew these two statements were indeed onto something….

And before I could properly digest and share my copious note taking from the previous
posting, here came this latest posting over the weekend.

My weekend was such that I had to put off watching this particular video until
this Monday morning when I could carve out an hour’s time…
in order to properly sort things out.
Yet on top of just watching the video, came the sorting of the notes and then the
turning around and offering to you a proper post regarding David’s talk…

So now picture me holding my hands to my head in a bit of a tizzy while visions of the
National Football Championship dance dizzily around my head…
There are homemade cookies and homemade pizza preparations to get underway all
for this evening’s big game festivities…..GO DAWGS…while my head was still
swirling with what I’d gleaned from David’s talk.
(well, I wrote this before the big game obviously—now, we won’t talk about it)

But back to the SOLAS clip….

Do yourself another favor—carve out the time to watch this.
Especially if you are a teacher, have children or grandchildren who attend schools
or are simply worried about our youth and their future…..

You should note however when watching the video that there is one huge difference
between the educational system in Scotland verses the educational system
in the United States.
The educational system in Scotland is considered a state Christian System by law
verses our very separate and secular school system in the US.

But the message remains the same—as there is a growing gap between rich and poor
in educational opportunities in both of our nations.

David noted an example….
The more affluent families can easily afford after school and out of school tutors.
Whereas a finer tutor, say in London, might fetch 400 pounds an hour—
such a tutor in Dundee, Scotland might command only 15 pounds an hour—
but no matter, as both kids, be it from London or Dundee, those who can afford a
tutor already have a step up the ladder from those disadvantaged kids from lower
income families who can’t afford any sort of tutor….

If you’ve never heard of Thomas Guthrie, it’s worth clicking on the following link for
a bit of background on a man whose life has played a rich part of the
educational system in Scotland other than that of John Knox himself who boldly
stated that “wherever there is a church, there shall be a school.”


Guthrie (1803-1873), a man who studied to become a doctor but became, upon graduating college, a minister instead held as his mission statement…
regarding those he ministered to in Scotland, that education was essential to saving
the less fortunate from a life of ignorance, squalor, disease, idleness and poverty.

He saw that education and learning were the keys to opening doors and turning away
from the vicious cycles of hunger, alcoholism, crime and poverty that was rife
within the families of the poor and disadvantaged…
Guthrie therefore petitioned Parliament to make compulsory education mandatory
in order to help save the children and future children from an assumed destiny
of misery.

Yet Guthrie maintained that such an education had to have Christianity as its root.
How else would morality anchor itself within society.
As we bewildered watch the secular movement today creating its “social engineering”
of the masses.

The physical threshold of each school Guthrie founded was to be fashioned with the
carving of an open Bible with the motto written, “Search the Scriptures”

Yet David notes that there will always be secular resistance as the secular world
pushes ever closer to ultimately having a society without God.
However David holds firm to the notion that without Christianity,
we will destroy Education….
***and in turn destroy our civilization…
(*** my 2 cents)

And David presents this polestar thought with laser precision in this talk.

David admonishes us all…those of us who confess the Faith of Jesus Christ…
that as Christians it is our moral obligation that we should be making education
and our schools a top priority…be it here in the States or there in Scotland.

Yet I don’t see that happening here anytime soon.

He reminds each of us not to simply leave it to the schools to educate our kids
as to what is a Christian worldview—but it is up to us…us being the ones who need
to chiefly see to that responsibility.

And I dare say, that most of us have grown rather complacent here in the States.
The upper tier pay exorbitant yearly fees to upper crust schools for a
private education, that even though some of the private institutions claim a church denomination’s backing…as I dare ask is that a worldly looking denomination???

Leaving everyone else to the charge of the state and federally funded school
systems—schools, many of which, are woefully lacking and are stymied in
their ability to lay a moralistic foundation…due greatly in part to the fact that
we have erased our Christian heritage from the very system our founding fathers state
as being an important component to the fledgling new nation’s growth and development.

Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
Proverbs 4:13

31 comments on ““provoke to love and good works”

  1. Lynda says:

    The Church has been at the forefront in establishing educational systems in many countries, Canada included. In Ontario we still have provincially funded Roman Catholic elementary and secondary schools but this is not true of every province. The Canadian Constitution entitles Ontario Catholic schools to be funded publicly but periodically this is challenged. It is a political issue. It is important that we don’t allow the secularization of the Roman Catholic schools as they provide a vital alternative to the public system. As in all things, the success depends on the teachers who are in each system as there are excellent teachers who interact with a Christian focus in each school system.

  2. @vapor_sage says:

    The secular direction in education is deliberate. If one Has God the “state” is the last thing to be dependent on. Without God, the “state” is all that is left, for many. One of my objectives in writing my blog is to find ways to convey that, without offending sensitivities, thus turning them away from what has made all the difference in my life.
    I offer my condolences to the “Dawgs” and all their loving fans. I was heartened by the Lover of Jesus who won the game for “The Tide” God bless Tua, he testified to the power in his life

  3. Excellent, Julie! I can see that I need to carve out an hour to view this as well! 🙂

  4. Tricia says:

    First, my condolences to your Dawgs but boy what a game ending! More sad condolences should go to our education system here in the U.S. though, which as you state has been completely walled off from any Christian influence, on the public side any way.

    Black, white, rich poor, we should all be up in arms over what the bureaucrats and Progressives have to done with education in this country. It’s a crime really, when you look at how many children over the years have been denied the opportunity to learn grow and prosper to their fullest potential because the idiots in charge are in bed with the unions who care only about growing their numbers and the seemingly endows flow of tax dollars they can get their hands on.

    There are many good teachers but they work in a system that’s rotten to the core. Until those in charge learn to love other people’s children (their own go to expensive private schools of course) more than the vote buying the unions bring them, nothing will change.

    Our Education Secretary Betsy DeVos offers a huge breath of reformist fresh air amongst this swampy environment, but she’s fighting so many uphill battles, I don’t hold out hope for much change.

    • Thanks Tricia—it was a great season and great game…and not the outcome we were oh so hopeful for….but we lovers of the game hold onto our hope…”there’s always next year” 🙂

      And yes, what a mess we, as in we the American people, have allowed to happen within our school systems—

      I was neither hot or cold over Betsy DeVos appointment–being retired and just glad to be “out” —which by the way is a sad way to feel in a profession that I was once so excited and hopeful about being a part of….I was going out to inspire and change lives…being to others as others were for me…..and I was as I continued to maintain my faith and it was evident what drove me but those days are almost gone as law suites and threats of termination reign supreme if one even mentions faith or beliefs that run counter to the culture…and the “system” continued to erode and consume the starry eyed young teacher, turning her and others into jaded, frustrated, tired of fighting educators who saw the out of control students with greater rights then the teachers themselves….lets not even start of the whole gay, lesbian, transgender business and what’s a boy and what’s a girl and it’s ok to be neither notion that is to be embraced and lauded by all teachers everywhere…..

      So I likened her appointment to just one more—where are the Bill Bennetts hiding???

      My daughter-n-law who is currently one of those young teachers, is quickly growing sour working in a system that demands more and more from their educators but less and less time in the classroom honing their skills and she is not a fan of Mrs DeVos—and I suspect that is coming from above as teachers are being told what is “best” for them and Lord knows, anything to do with this current administration is not best….

      We’ve got troubles yes we do—as the schools are just by products of our cultures and of the fodder being pushed as a “truth”
      But then most kids will be in a “safe” zone some place coloring pretty pictures as in the immortal words of crazy Jack Nicholson, “you can’t handle the truth”……

      • Tricia says:

        Ha! That Jack Nicholson line is perfect for today’s bizarre snowflake world! I truly am sorry for your daughter and other teachers stuck in this system today. The giant wall they face of politics, union rules and various third rail of isms one has to be wary of touching (racism, sexism, transgenderism, etc…) has to be nothing if not disheartening to the earnest teacher who wants nothing more than to educate kids and help them grow in to responsible and wise young adults.

        Thank you for your years of service in the education field by the way!

      • one thing here in the South Tricia—we don’t have the teacher unions like elsewhere in the country—there were times when I wish we did just so there could be some sort of united front—but then we see the monster in all of that–as I can’t hear the word “union” without wondering about poor ol Jimmy Hoffa 😉
        I wanted to teach because I wanted to “help”—I wanted to be there for kids as I knew how hard it was trying to navigate those murky waters of adolescence—I could not have done so myself without my own band of educators who cared for me during those very up and down days—caring beyond how well I did or did not do on a test—but actually caring about my well being, my sense of purpose, my direction—as they held me accountable and when I screwed up, which I did often or acted like the teenage jackass I could be, they let me know. They were never afraid to show me their disappointment as well as joy—if they got mad at me, they got mad as it would be for good reason—but they still demonstrated an unconditional love and compassion for me, their charge….
        For teaching Tricia is like the priesthood, it is a vocation.
        And I know my parents were also grateful as they knew there were some “moralistic” caring adults in my life helping to steer me in the right direction—I had a Jewish math teacher who always wore jeans and sat indian style on her desk. She and her husband never had kids, but she saved me from not graduating due to my math deficiency—after having tutored me through the other courses and teachers besides her and own her class, she told me to never take another math class again as long as I lived—but of course I had to in college and actually did well by then—she stood by me for two years of struggle and I was grateful.

        I loved my history / social studies teacher…a hard no-knocks widow whose red pen loved my papers. She even told me at one point when I was a freshman in college…”just find a rich boy and get married” Something today she’d lose a job over—but she was always honest, always holding my feet to the fire as there were times she wondered if they were worth holding…but I was determined to make her proud—she gave me her time and her very very tough love—but I saw through the toughness and was so grateful in the end that she never wavered or backed down in her “toughness” because it made me determined to persevere….not shrink and shrivel…. When I got teacher of the year for our high school and in turn for our entire system in 2001, she was who I thanked….as I had been able to carry on her legacy.
        I was not a perfect teacher by any means—and I never shied away from letting my kids see and know of my faith and of how it and God’s Grace had saved me and saw me through my own dark days of growing up…
        Yet I could see that the net was closing in on teachers being moralistic examples who could freely demonstrate a rooted faith as foundation—now that would be called indoctrination—yet it is society that is indoctrinating our kids—poisoning them in the name of tolerance, total acceptance and the empowerment of self—things I’m sure Oprah will use as her presidential mantra 🙂
        Oh Tricia, sorry to ramble on so—-I get riled up when we start in on about the state of education and what our enabling parents and far reaching government has created—one hell of a mess!!!

      • Tricia says:

        Lucky you not having to deal with unions like oh say in California where I live. I know it must sound like I’m really sour about them and I am. Not the individual members mind you, but the leadership that is so corrupt and has done such a disservice to our schools out here. They claim they are for the little guy and for kids but they are oh so not.

        I don’t mind you rambling Julie, I get riled up too and agree with what you say!

      • Thanks Tricia-no, I’m sure the unions are walking disasters— I don’t know much of what isn’t in some sort leadership capacity that isn’t disastrous in this land of ours— and God bless you for living in California! Are you California born and bred?

      • Tricia says:

        I was born in Upland, CA but we moved east when I was 2 and I grew up in Massachusetts. I’ve been in California about 20 years now but I will always consider myself a New Englander! 😉

      • Good Girl 🙂 —- or a Reaganite Californian 🙂

      • Tricia says:

        You betchya! 😉

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    @Julie (aka Cookie)

    Thanks for the link. I consider myself blessed when you visit my blog and blessed again when I visit yours.

    Well have to set aside time tomorrow morning to view that video. Thanks.

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    Here is a post I would like Christians to consider. It is about the state of Christian education in Scotland. Unlike the United States, Scotland does not prohibit religious education in the public schools.

    Check this link and you can see the guidelines for it.

    Check this link and you can see how effective it is when the government is put in charge of teaching religion.

    Check these links and you can see that putting politicians in charge of education does not seem to work any better in Scotland than it does in the USA.


    So what is needed to fix things? Why is what is happening in Scotland relevant to us? Well, that is what Julie (aka Cookie)’s post is about. Note that the video is a bit long, but it is well worth a hearing.

    Do you have children? Grandchildren? Do you care about their future? The state of their souls? Then please take the time to listen to the video. Understand the education is Scotland does not differ that much from the USA.

    Consider this also. Reformation is a normal process. Whenever we create an organization, be it a nation, a church, or a school, over time we lose track of what that organization exists to do. We make it about us, especially if we are part of that organization. We forget the people that organization is supposed to serve. Then, when the realization we are failing to serve the people we are supposed to serve finally kicks in, we have to reform. Unfortunately, there will always be those who like things as they are. That means reformation is always a painful struggle.

    Therefore, if we want to understand how to reform education in the USA, we have to study the matter. We have to understand what a good Christian education is about, what is needed to educate Christians, what changes are needed, and how to make those changes. Finally, we each need to figure out what we need to contribute. We cannot stand by idly. These are our children and grandchildren.

  7. Wow, Citizen Tom sent me this way. Thanks for the insight.

    There is much to be done. Building strong private Christian schools is a cornerstone and then getting voucher systems in place will continue the move to faith based education. Home schooling is an option for some.

    The challenge of 13,500 school districts with 50 state education systems and strong unions is a clear barrier.

    There is good news. Nothing is impossible with God.

    • thank you Michael for the kind words and thank you for the wisdom you offer… as we see, things do tend to look grim and dire—but you are so right, nothing is impossible with God!
      Please feel free to come visit anytime!
      Amen!! ….

  8. Great information. I now know another name to describe many of Chicago Public Schools located in poverty areas.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  9. atimetoshare.me says:

    Awesome stuff!the condition of education is off the wall today. I fret for my grandkids and my students. We need to get the government about the business of governing and not telling us how to live.

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