Monday, October 04, 2004

Mark Greene on the Sacred/Secular Divide

Mark Greene argues that “we set a lower educational standard for the way we teach kids in our churches than the standard set in the school room.”

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile: my experiences in most local churches thus far has made it clear that high schools expect a higher level of thought work from teenagers than churches do of adults at any point in their lives.

He blames “the sacred-secular divide: the pervasive belief that some parts of our life are not really important to God – work, school, leisure – but anything to do with prayer, church services, church-based activities is.”

He continues:
In sum, we teach our kids very young that what they do between 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, is not important to God. And we also teach them that their minds don’t really matter to God either. So it was that the national leader of an evangelistic ministry said, “We teach gentle Jesus, meek and mild to teenagers in church. Meanwhile in the world they’re studying nuclear physics.” That’s SSD – setting a lower standard of educational expectation for church teaching than for school, treating adolescents like kids, communicating to them that thinking matters in the world but not in the church [emphasis mine – KP]. That’s SSD, treating church time as if it we are primarily in an entertainment environment, rather than in a vigorous, worshipful, learning environment.

From the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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