Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Graduates' Vision

by Erik Ritschard, Administrator

Juniors and seniors in our Philosophy and Culture class are assigned each spring to complete a project that answers the following question: "Discuss the most crucial life qualities a Christian must cultivate if he or she is to be an effective culture and kingdom builder in the next 30 years."  The choice of these qualities is left up to the student, but each must discuss at least four.  What results from the assignment is a powerful, inspiring, personalized window into the hearts and minds of our oldest students, revealing what each believes to be critical issues for their lives and others if they (and we) are to have an impact in our culture for Christ.  I'd like to share a brief summary of those projects, and give our readers a little glimpse of our graduates' thoughts.

Our graduates' included the following topics in their lists of the "most important life qualities":

  • Knowing what it means to be human
  • Valuing the importance of stewardship
  • Understanding the importance of family
  • Appreciating and valuing the importance of marriage
  • Investing in raising children well
  • Being personally responsible
  • Pursuing spiritual growth
  • Developing strong personal character
  • Having a sense of purpose and mission in vocation
  • Developing a Biblical world view
  • Engaging with the culture
  • Maintaining biblical morals and refuting moral relativisim
  • Cultivating one's ability to be a leader through service and example
  • Seriously investing in the Bible's call to justice
  • Believing that God works in power through His Spirit
It's a powerful list, and our students expressed powerful thoughts as they wrote about these subjects that were important to them.  For example,

"According to Dr. Meyers [of Summit Ministries -- we watched a presentation of his during class - ER], 'a leader is a person who views the world from God's perspective, exercises his gifts and talents with excellence and perseverance, and strategically plans to serve others.' It is thus first important that the foundation for being a strong leader is Jesus Christ.  Next is how we decide to apply ourselves to the life that God has given us to live.  With those two in mind, it is important to remember that we exist to serve others -- that is our calling..."

Another graduate writes,

"In order for someone to form a [Biblical] worldview, they must be educated about profound issues.  Issues like: "What does it mean to be human?" and "Who or what is God?" are very important to contemplate, and forms one's opinion about.  A person's worldview forms the foundation for their priorities, beliefs, and practice. Thus, education about relevant cultural and spiritual issues is a necessity for a Christian to obtain."
 Other selections from our graduate's vision projects include...
"Marriage isn't always the happily-ever-after fairy-tale. It is a road that will challenge anyone.  It will take dedication and perseverance as well as a choice to love the [other] at all times.  Love isn't that lovey-dovey feeling, it is a choice."
 "If we expect youths to be able to stand for what is right, parents first should give them a foundation in Christ..."
"God created the family to have a father and a mother because each parent offers different things that the other parent can't offer. Family is also where the mother and father raise their children in a way that is honoring to God."

"Our culture has also been struggling with abortion.  This is when we really need to know what a human is.  Is it still a human even if it only looks like a glob of tissue that is five weeks old? Being human means God created us in his own image.  He created us in our mother's wombs... A human is a human from the time when the egg is fertilized..."

"We are supposed to actively seek His face because we were not created to be complacent. So in order to be effective kingdom builders one should be observant of the plateaus in one's spiritual walk, and seek God actively."

"Christ is a man of integrity; he is blameless, free of sin.  I believe we should put our selfish desires aside and serve others in the same way that Christ did."

"Micah 6:8 says that we are " love mercy, do justly, and to walk humbly with our God." I believe God has called me specifically to fight against injustice -- to do justly."

"Christ served without expecting anything in return. This is a very important aspect in our culture today.  It is easy for our minds to be influenced by our culture.  Today's culture often views a person as a means to get something, not as an image of Christ. For a Christian to develop strong character, it is important that they view others as images of Christ and serve them without an expectation of return."

"Just as Jesus is the foundation for being a strong leader, He is also the foundation for all aspects of my life. I think too often Christians trivialize the spirituality of our faith, when in reality that spirituality is the foundation of everything we believe in.  By this I mean that God works in power through His Spirit, and He is an active part of our everyday lives."
 Powerful ideas - and, as we learned in class, "Ideas have consequences."  Think of the consequences of the ideas expressed here for these young adults in their own lives if they continue to live out these ideals, and then those positive consequences multiplied out to the others around them.  I'm very proud of our graduates, in what I hope is a good way -- that they have each committed themselves to being a follower of Christ and striving to understand and pursue the application of their faith in a challenging culture.

Would you join us at school in praying for Elle, Ethan, Abbie, and Jess as they continue forward with the next stage of their journey?  Elle will be at Dordt College in Iowa this fall, Ethan at USMC Boot Camp from August 20 - November 16, Abbie at Colorado Christian University, and Jess in Tacoma, Washington. Pray for steadfastness, perseverance, and the continued commitment to live out their faith with integrity.  They each have a strong vision for a godly future: pray for their ability to hold fast to the vision they have expressed. 

Ideas have consequences -- and these student's worlds will be better places as the consequences of their ideals bear fruit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Eagle is Back!

Welcome to the new format and location for The Eagle, the school newspaper of Darren Patterson Christian Academy! We've published The Eagle off and on for years, usually as a student-run newspaper with staff articles as well.  In this new on-line format, we'll feature articles from students, staff, friends of the Academy, photos of events -- all the kinds of things you would hope to see in a school newspaper.  We're hoping with the new format it will be easier for our friends from all over to follow what's happening at DPCA.