Monday, October 20, 2008

My Mugatu Moment

Okay, so I was having a bit of a Mugatu moment when I wrote my last post. Not that I don't still hold to it, just that I feel I was a bit combative when maybe it was not so necessary. Have y'all seen Zoolander? Do you know what I mean by a Mugatu moment?

Mugatu, pictured to the right, is a high end fashion designer played by Will Ferrell. Derek Zoolander is a male supermodel played by Ben Stiller. Derek has various "looks," pictured to the left below, which are clearly all the same look. But for whatever reason, everyone calls them different names. At his breaking point, Mugatu finally freaks out onstage during his fashion show and says, "Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look, for ___ sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They're the same face! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" I refer to any moment in life where I feel like no one is paying attention to the obvious as a Mugatu moment. And this whole election for me is a Mugatu moment. And talking about emotional health with a lot of Christians is a Mugatu moment. But I am so grateful to have readers who agree (though again, feel free to disagree). And if you have seen Zoolander, you have heard Will Ferrell's execution of his lines- hysterical, angry, panic stricken- that is how I can get sometimes over these things. 

So about the election. I did think it was a very important clarification that I missed, of course you can be a Christian and vote for Obama. Let me tell you that people I love and respect are voting for Obama, and that is why I am so frustrated. (I know that you knew what I meant, Elizabeth, thanks for making it clearer.) I just feel like he is a little dangerous. Not to quote the lame-o McCain commercials, but because of his connections with anti-American and anti-Christian people. Am I saying he is anti-American or anti-Christian? No, but I'm just saying he is not able to clear up a lot of suspicion. He could, but he doesn't. So, that just scares me. 

As for the signs in the school, I had not actually seen the signs until this morning. I was prepared to be a little bit combative, but I really didn't know how to go about it. I mean, I definitely don't think we need any campaign signs in the school. But if they had been some other democratic candidate some other time, even Hillary, I probably wouldn't care so much. And I realized that this could, in the end, become me really offending someone, so I decided not to say anything, just to ask. Well, I had figured they were up because of a mock election the school was holding. And when I asked today, that is what I was told. So then, the question really becomes, what is the point of a mock election at an elementary school? We had mock elections at my schools growing up, which was a serious joke in conservative Christian school in Southern Red States. I have no idea what the point was. Maybe it was to raise everyone's spirits heading into the election? "Reagan beat Mondale 638 to 0!" (I remember everyone, you know all the other second graders I knew, saying, "Reagan won by a landslide!") "Bush beat Dukakis 789 to 14! Woohoo!" I don't know. 

Any insights into the value of this? Or thoughts on if posters are more or less appropriate if they are for an election in the school? Amabel says there are McCain ones too, if that matters. It doesn't to me (I will say that if there are, I didn't see any in two hallways). The neutral ones are okay. There are some that say "Get out and vote," and things of that sort. Those are fine. Anyway, I have not spent a whole lot of time working through my political ideology so I am open on this. Well, not on who to vote for, but on how politics should be handled in schools. Although, I tend to think that it is something better left to parents. And though this is another post, I have been feeling for a while that I am more comfortable with my child's Biblical education being left to her parents as well. I find myself a little weirded out when her teachers are wanting to talk about her understanding of the Gospel. But think of all the parents who dump their kids in Christian schools so they don't have to teach them anything about the Gospel at home! Okay, that really is another post. And please please please don't hear me bashing Christian schools! Certainly not! It is just something I have been surprised to find myself feeling- "Wow, I put her in this Christian school and now I am not so sure I want someone else telling her what to believe about God's world and God's Word."- because isn't that the point? Anyway, another post. But since she's there, any ideas about the politics thing? I am thinking I will let if go, of course, but I just want to think about it rightly, even if I am not planning to do anything. 


the good, the bad & the ugly said...

I'll leave the political comments and educational comments for someone else. Just wanted to say sorry my last comment was so long! I wrote a book! :)

jennifer h said...

On politics in school

I think it is good to have the mock election to teach children about the process. I think in your kids' school this may be even more important as many of the students are likely from families where they won't be taught about the political process. However, I think if they are going to go as far as putting up posters, they should have put one from each party up side by side. Then there would be no doubt about the mock election being a teaching tool and not an endorsement of one candidate or the other.

On Christian schools teaching our kids about the gospel--Our kids go to a Christian school with some very different views from ours. We have many conversations with our kids about what they are learning in Bible class and what sorts of discussions they are having about God and Christianity. We look at it as an another opportunity for us to teach the kids about the gospel from our perspective.

Just my two cents. :)

Abby said...

Jennifer, two cents welcome :)

renee, apology not needed! i appreciated your comment very much!

lauren said...

I'm not sure how I feel about the mock election either. I completely agree that the election process should be taught, but I think voting at this age consists of, "I'm voting for so-and-so because my bff is". Case in point-Ellie is a DIE HARD Alabama fan because she likes the color red and her bff cheers for Alabama. And this is coming from a Kansas/Missouri divided house!

I don't know, I could be way off on this. Or maybe it's just that I have a 1st grader. It would probably be a lot different for a 5th grader.

But I would disagree with signs for either campaign, as an independent. If the sign for one candidate happens to be right outside your kids class and they never walk by the other...and that sign conflicts with what you are teaching your child, I think it would be a bit confusing for them. Maybe I'm being paranoid?

I will say that I became a Christian at WCA because of all the wonderful Bible teachers there. So remember the little wayward 8th grade Lauren when you think of sharing the Gospel in Christian schools. :) BUT, as the wife of a Bible teacher at a Christian School, I agree that it IS the parents primary responsibility. Many Christian parents drop that ball by relying on the Bible teacher to present the Gospel to their kid. They fail to do exactly what God has called them to do as parents-be the primary discipler. (is that a word? spell check doesn't think so...) The job of a Bible teacher is to work hand-in-hand with the parents. Will they always agree on everything? No. But I think that's part of being a Christian anyway. Agreeing on the majors and tolerance for the minors. I think it's a great teaching opportunity.

Abby said...

Both really good points Lauren. I think even besides who the BFF votes for, is that kids are influenced by who the parents vote for. It just seems like, even in my K-12 where Bush slaughtered Dukakis in '88, the kids whose parents were pro-Dukakis probably felt like outsiders, even though they had no idea what they were talking about. And then, if they went home and talked to their parents, the parents are going to feel somewhat alienated too, right? But, I know I worry a lot about hurting people's feelings. But, there is something to what I'm trying to say. For example, I think it is extremely inappropriate for a pastor to say who to vote for from the pulpit. And while Christian schools are not exactly that, they are/ should be an arm of the Church. And the job of the Church is to reach people for Christ in love. Incidentally, I believe that big government inhibits that. People in the Church forget their obligation to the poor, and have drained resources anyway because they pay tax that goes to government programs to help the poor. So they feel they have done their job, and if more should be done, it's the government's job. But wasn't caring for the poor, sick, elderly, widow, orphan, etc. always supposed to be the Church's job? But now I am on a rabbit trail...

And since we seem to have embraced the topic of teaching the Gospel in Christian schools, I guess I should be clearer. I appreciate that it does help the kids whose parents aren't doing their job as the main preachers and disciplers to their children. I do think that stinks for the teachers, and especially for the kids who ultimately lose their teacher. I put a lot of stock in my RUF pastor, he kind of became a spiritual dad figure to me because I didn't have that. Then I graduated and I lost my "dad." But, and I think this is where Democrats come in on government too, parents are not going to do what they're supposed to, so it is helpful to have these things in place.

On the other hand, as a parent who is trying to do what I'm supposed to, I get frustrated with some of the things my daughter comes home with. Yesterday she was talking about a chapel that contrasted "my decisions" with "wise decisions." And while that is catchy, and I ultimately get the contrast, it seems they are teaching these kids from the point of view that they are not believers. That is how most of my chapels were too. But if there's a believing, baptized kid in there who is constantly being taught that they are wickedly sinful and need to repent and cannot make good decisions, it gets a little oppressive. Because that is a child's state apart from Christ, but once we are in Christ, while we still struggle with sin, we have the Spirit working in us, changing us, and we are able to do right and to please God and to make good decisions. That was not a message I ever heard in Christian school. They were so busy trying to save us, they didn't ever aid in sanctifying us. Does that make sense?

I guess we ultimately have to decide if the purpose of a Christian school (and also if the purpose of the Church) is to reach the Lost or help to mature the Kingdom. Some people don't see the difference. There is a whole lot in the PCA about the Gospel message being sufficient both for reaching non-Christians and for ministering to mature believers. And while that is true, I think there is a depth that mature believers require that they can't always get to in a "seeker friendly" environment. And obviously, you could have separate beliefs about the job of the Church than you do about the job of Christian schools. But anyway, I am not trying to draw any lines in the sand. I recognize that this has a lot to do with opinions. Just hoping to continue the conversation....

lauren said...

good points too abby. i had never thought about how govt. programs might affect (conscious or not) how Christians respond to their call to help the poor. i look forward to discussing that one with brian tonight! thanks for providing a topic for our nightly glass of cheap red wine on the couch. ;)

funny story about voting for who your parents vote for. in 8th grade history, shannon birchler (ask george about her) announced to our row that she was a republican. i had no idea what that meant, so i asked my parents which they were and my dad says, "I vote Democrat, because they tend to be more liberal." So what do I do as a new christian in my first week at Westminster? announce to the class that I am a democrat because they tend to be more liberal. nice. thanks dad. you can imagine the horror on my teacher's face and the sneers of the kids! i didn't even know what liberal meant! (i know i was a dork for running my mouth when i didn't know what i was saying)

yes, your other point is the question briarwood teachers struggle with constantly. are we a covenant school or an evangelistic school? i personally think that if they are an arm of the church, they have to play both roles. because isn't what the church has to do? be both evangelistic and disciple the believers? and that can definitely be a challenge for teachers, but i think God's grace filled in so much where my teachers were not perfect. i actually think they could have done a better job reaching out to me in someways, but God was etching a lot of things on my heart (truth) that would come up a few years later.

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