December 1, 2009

You Can Go Home...Sometimes

I spent the last week in my hometown of Jackson, TN. It's OK if you've never heard of it, but most of you have a connection to Jackson. If you've ever eaten Pringles, that potato crisp (they're not chips) was made in my hometown, possibly by my dad's team. He's worked there for over 30 years. Going back to Jackson is always a different experience. Part of going back home is cool. You remember fun times & crazy stuff you did when you were a kid. Other parts aren't quite as fun. Sometimes you feel like you're being squeezed back into a mold that you may have outgrown 10 years ago. I guess that's why you say you can't go back home, but one part of my trip home was really cool.

I got to speak at my old high school, Jackson Christian School. JCS is affiliated with a particular Christian denomination, & while I was a student at JCS, the school was pretty much segregated from other denominations. It affected everything from employment, chapel speakers, & Bible class curriculum. The last two years I've had the privilege of going back & speaking in chapel, even though I'm not a part of the denomination. I'm sure being an alumnus helps, but it's really encouraging to see the growth & expanding vision that the leadership for JCS has. Here are a few examples:

1) Teaching Students To Own Their Faith-While I was there, the Bible was usually taught as just another textbook. It was academic. That approach is beneficial but only to a point.
2) Casting A Global Vision To Students-I don't remember ever doing ministry in my time at JCS, but now the school has embarked on being a part of Christ's movement in the world. During Spring Break 2010, JCS will have 3 teams of students, parents, & faculty on 3 different continents. Not bad for their first year of this.
3) Integrating With The Rest Of The Body-JCS still has a long way to go in this area, but baby steps are being taken. The fact that I've been allowed to speak in chapel the last two years is bigger than you know. When I was a student, someone like me wouldn't have had a chance to speak in chapel, but things are changing. I applaud the leadership for moving in this direction, & I pray that it continues.

When God's people work together, in spite of their differences of opinion, the world takes notice. Wouldn't it be great if that was our reputation rather than as a group of people who supposedly believe the same basic stuff but can't find a way to get along?

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