I know it is a little weird to start a book on education with a story about plumbers. I guess that gives you an idea how the book will go! Here is the beginning of Building Biblical Worldview: The Three Loves. We will be using excerpts from the book and lots of other Biblical worldview insights from different places.
The Challenge for Biblical Worldview
Not long ago, the main water line between my house and the street leaked. Bad for the water bill. To make things worse, the pipe goes uphill under forty-four steps with terraces and four story high trees. I have done some plumbing and thought about it, but this was big. It needed a serious Plumber, one with a capital P.
American Leak Detection came and quickly found the leak, thankfully in one of two places that was not buried by mounds of earth and tall trees. A blessing.
Their plumbers came back a few days later to fix it. The two men had a white panel van with big doors showing racks of tools and parts. They dug a hole, found a bad joint, and fixed the leak. They added a new regulator to make things even better, sealed it up, and piled dirt back. They were in and out in eighty minutes. Good work with a lower price than estimated.
I was impressed with the stuff in the truck. It was stocked with things they might normally need, including a new regulator—who would have thought they had one of those along? And, all of their shovels, pipe cutters, saws, and many things I can’t name.
They also brought their training and experience. And, they brought the good name of their company (I had checked reviews online), and a year guarantee. They even brought little booties to wear in my house.
The Plumbers were professionals, equipped and trained. They did the job well and made me a happy customer. They had what they needed in equipment, training, and experience. And, a great attitude and personal relationship skills. They actually seemed to have fun fixing my leak.
What they did in the muddy hole that day was a thing of beauty, workmen in their sweet spot.
We are after the same sweet spot for teachers creating a biblical worldview. Where skill, tools, training, experience, attitude, and personal relationships converge. Teachers in their sweet spot, making class a thing of beauty and giving students a special experience as they learn deeply and with joy about the subject and God, and how the two meet. Teaches with a capital T.
How do we make sure this great biblical worldview happens, every day, in every class, for every student? Even when the hole is muddy, to find pleasure and profit, and walk away with everyone saying joyfully, “well done.”
The Christian School Distinctive
Since the beginning of Christian school education, biblical worldview in all subjects has been our distinctive. Biblical worldview—or as some call it, Christian worldview—is what makes us unique, different than other schools.
It is our most prized value for students and families. It is why we exist.
But, sometimes the prize evades our grasp. We get our hands around it for a moment and it slips out. We can’t seem to hold it long enough to figure out how to make great biblical worldview happen all of the time, or even hold on long enough to describe it well.
How do we get a grip on this biblical worldview so we can understand it enough to replicate it in all subjects all of the time, for every student? This thing of beauty, which makes possible real integration of faith and learning.
We have some great tools and some awesome teachers. We provide books and training and guest speakers to support biblical worldview. We often have our classes in some pretty good looking buildings and rooms, too. And, we have faculty, staff, and parents who seriously want a biblical worldview.
In business terms, biblical worldview is our most significant and distinct value proposition, what a parent and student gains by coming to our school that sets us apart. When done well, we give families something that isn’t just different than other schools, but beyond them.
How do we deliver this value consistently? How do we help children see God in every subject and all of life, with joy and power?
The Land to Take
I am haunted by words from Frank Gaebelein, words from a lecture at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1952 that later became The Pattern of God’s Truth:
“When it comes to the application of the noble principles upon which it is built, Christian education in American has much to learn. We have had a great deal to say about God-centered, Christ-oriented, Bible-based education. But in actual practice we are not doing nearly enough of it….That is not to say, of course, that we are not to any extent practicing Christian education. That is too extreme a judgment. Nevertheless, in respect to a thorough-going integration of Christ and the Bible with the whole institution, with all departments of study, with all kinds of student activities, with all phases of administration, there remains much land to be taken.”
We still have land to take. We have done some great things and there are extraordinary pockets of powerful integration. But, even with some great generals and tacticians since the middle of the last century, we have not taken the mountain. And as each generation of teachers relieves those in the front lines, we can never let up our enlistment and training.
It is even hard just to hold the line and not go backward.
Planting our Flag
This is what Building Biblical Worldview: The Three Loves is about. A model to create and sustain powerful biblical worldview. A fundamental approach that I have seen work in classrooms and might be of use to others.
Your school may be creating consistent and powerful biblical worldview in all subjects, or at least you are further along than many of us. I sincerely hope so, and hope that this small work will simply encourage you to speak up and share your wisdom. We have teachers who are doing biblical worldview well, perhaps they or those who watch them can contribute to a bigger discussion to help all of us.
Creating discussion and sharing the good things we are doing is one of my hopes from this piece.
While looking for answers, I saw some amazing teachers along the way who seemed almost supernaturally carried along as they taught with passion and wisdom, and students experienced and learned a rich biblical worldview and excitement for the subject. Students were engaged, and we all knew this was special.
Perhaps your experience has been like mine. I have seen some of these amazing moments in the classroom. But, I have also seen sincere and hardworking teachers struggle to engage students in a rich and powerful biblical worldview, often because they don’t know how, don’t have the time, or don’t feel they have permission. Sometimes it is just the daily battle of meeting life’s needs and handling the distractions that are so much a part of school life. Every teacher I know wants to have joy and success in the battle.
Things are not bad. We do a good job with biblical content, especially in Bible or Worldview classes. We have some great teachers doing amazing things in the classrooms, helping students learn better than most other schools. This is not a critique related to the world’s standards for education, we are solid there.
It is simply a question. How do we take the mountain and plant our flag? What questions do we need to ask and answer to transform and achieve powerful biblical worldview in every classroom, every time? What can you hang your hat on, every time?
My dream is for us together to fulfill Frank Gaebelein’s challenge when he said that “there remains much land to be taken” in creating true biblical worldview. What Gaebelein said then still holds true today: “We have had a great deal to say about God-centered, Bible based education. But in practice we are not doing nearly enough of it.”
It will only be enough when every student learns all of the time from teachers who create a powerful and rich biblical worldview.