At Centennial Christian School, we hold a “world view which recognizes everyone as created in God’s image. We seek to support each other in nurturing the unique gifts of all students. Through example and instruction, we equip each student with knowledge, skills, and understanding, challenging them to exercise discernment and stewardship in all aspects of life. We intend the entire learning environment to reflect the diversity and unity of God’s creation.”
This has been our vision statement for many years, but what does this look like practically?
Created in God’s image
Liberal, anti-vaxer, hipster, addict, feminist, refugee, homeless… our world is full of labels and caricatures. Our society is so used to organizing people into neat little categories that we sometimes forget that behind every label is a human being, each with their own loves, fears and stories. Each created in the image of our living God. When we start education from a knowing – not a head-knowing, but a heart-knowing – that Christ is in all, we cannot do anything else but listen to, learn from and love each other. It is from this point that we aim to start all learning.
Example and instruction
Listening, learning and loving are of no use as theories. They need to come alive in real-life interactions. Students are instructed on the importance of listening to understand in stead of listening to reply. They are taught that you only really understand something when you can explain it. But teaching and instructing stays in the head, whereas learning in an environment where teachers set an example of civil discourse in the way they interact with each other, with parents and with students – that learning goes to the heart.
When students are given the task of debating against a matter in which they are in reality in favour of, it gives them the opportunity to see through somebody else’s eyes. When they are expected to work together on projects, not only with their close friends, but also with those with whom they don’t see eye to eye, they are challenged to find common ground to reach a common goal.
Challenging students to use discernment is the opposite of teaching them absolute truths. It is an invitation to go to Scripture for wisdom, not weapons. It is a bidding to stop saying “you’re wrong” and start asking “help me to understand how you see it”. Discernment takes a black-and-white world and colours it in with all the shades and nuances that God intended in creation.
Diversity and unity
Jesus prayed for the unity of all believers, so it is our responsibility as Christ followers to find a way to live in love with all the possible manifestations of the image of God, whether they are like you or not. There is after all a difference between unity and uniformity and the metaphor of the church being the body of Christ, with many different parts, illustrates this very well.
A CCS Christmas wish
We might all live in the little boxes that society put us in to try and separate us from each other, but we have a choice to place our little boxes under the tree of life called Jesus Christ and together be a gift to mankind, each in our own unique way.