It is that exciting time of year again when high school seniors across the country do their best to fend off “senior-itis” and persevere to wrap up their studies as graduation day approaches.

It is also that time of year when students make decisions about what’s next — work, college or military service; and in some cases, all of the above.

Working in leadership at a university affords me the opportunity to greet dozens of prospective college students and their parents who are wrestling with choosing the right college.

A number of important questions bear on that decision. I try to help by asking them to consider potentially the most important question: “Have you thought about a college education as spiritual formation?”

Soccer net 2"Nothing matters but the kingdom, but because of the kingdom everything matters."—Gordon Spykman

The gospel and a degraded view of sports

My growing-up years were consumed with sports, especially while I was in secondary school. Without exaggeration, sports assumed an idolatrous role in my life. I was not living as a follower of Christ; I served the god of sports. One of my goals in secondary school was to be the best athlete in the school—and that goal was accomplished, I suppose. I enjoyed success in at least five different sports, and during my senior year, I was chosen as my school's athlete of the year. But that accomplishment also set into motion something else that would eventually take my life in a different direction: I began to see the vanity of it all.

Seeing my picture hanging in the halls of my school, the honour accorded to the athlete of the year, made me realise that in ten years, students would probably be mocking my haircut—shoulder-length hair, in keeping with the times!—in the same way we ridiculed the crewcuts of the early 1960s. The recognition and honour I received from athletic success would not last; it was here today, gone tomorrow. As I stood at the threshold of the rest of my life, I began to ask, "What now?" Would my next accomplishment prove to be as fleeting and short-lived as success in athletics?

Several years later I began to follow Christ, and my life changed. But the gospel which I embraced was a narrow, "world-negating" gospel concerned primarily, if not exclusively, with a new relationship to God. Sports and competition had little place for the committed follower of Jesus Christ, in my understanding. Sacred activities such as prayer, worship, and evangelism were what really mattered. All other activities were secular—inferior, wasteful, and frivolous. I succumbed to what Shirl Hoffman calls a "degraded view of sport", an attitude expressed in an article in an evangelical magazine in the early 1970s: "Among the various things we can relax with, athletics are low on the scale of demonstrable religious significance."

If the Bible is irrelevant to the most important things taught in school, then it will certainly be irrelevant to the most important things outside of school, too. This is the devilish outcome of dualism. In the end, we all lose.

Is it any wonder the biblical foundations for law, civil government, economics and family that once provided accepted harbor lights for our society have been replaced? The incessant move toward the secularization of education and the privatization of Christianity has been enormously successful, being expedited greatly through elementary and secondary schools.

Is it any wonder our youth are disinterested in church today, since Christianity is deemed irrelevant to the majority of their waking hours?

VV200A simple, memorable diagram like the Visual Valet - Personal assistant for Christian thinkers and teachers, may be worth more than thousands of words about Biblical integration and Christian philosophy of education. A single page summary of three major ways this visual organizer can be used, is available in multiple languages.

Swiss army knifeChristian thinking involves everything in creation as well as the infinite Creator. Busy teachers and maturing students need something to help them. The Visual Valet is just such a personal assistant. Though it may not be sophisticated enough for philosophers and educational theoreticians, it can assist you in becoming a distinctively Christian thinker and teacher. Like a Swiss army knife, it may be incomplete and unsuitable for large projects, but extremely valuable for many daily tasks.

A leader’s worldview affects all that they say, do, and think. When it comes to the development of the school’s curriculum, there is no way to approach the task without it being impacted by one’s worldview. Therefore, it is essential that leaders first recognize their bias and address the influence of their individual perspectives.

Every teacher teaches from a point of view, a point of view determined by his fundamental convictions, philosophical, theological, psychological, scientific, and so on. Those convictions are not something separate from his education, but are shaped by it as it is shaped by them. An atheist sees history, and everything else, differently than a theist; and his atheism may be the result of his education or may simply confirm what his education has taught him.[1]

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"Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future lives and crimes to society."

Daniel Webster