Challenge Day was a Challenge!

challenge-day-logo2Today I participated in an event called: Challenge Day.  I was the only teacher from our school to do so in our group yesterday. A group from California came in and spent the day with 100 of our 8th graders.  The event was aimed at our teens who are being bullied, have self-esteem issues, have poor body images and to try to stop the gossip laden culture of schools.  I thought they did an excellent job at much of what they did.  The day builds with games in the morning and lots of bonding and feel good activities.  The adults were coached in the morning on how to be effective and enthusiastic.  All of this was done well.

The kids enter the room to an enthusiastic group of crazy adults who are yelling and cheering them on, while many of them are looking at us, the adults, like we are crazy.  But that is the point.  As the morning wears on the kids loosen up and they begin to participate with enthusiasm.  Before lunch there is a deliberate winding down on the energy level to get kids to begin to become a bit more serious.  The two speaker share their story and the kids are visiblaly moved by what they hear.

The end of the day is spent in “family groups” or small groups of five or six and you are taken through a series of exercises to get the kids to share, and they do, some intimate areas of their lives.  The end of the day wraps up and the kids leave wired and tired, as do the adults.  All-in-all a great day.  However, and here is the big however, a political and social agenda is at work.  This issue of gay rights in introduced into the mix.  As a Christian I have issues with this “movement” and the intentional intrusion into my life from this group.

Look, if you say you are gay that is between you and God.  I would agree the church has done an awful job with this in the past. My Bible tells me the only unforgivable sin is that of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  I also know that the Bible condemns a great number of sexual activity outside the context of a marriage.  I also know that the first amendment interpretation of religion does not allow me to discuss this homosexuality from a religious point of view in my classroom.  Yet, I am told that I am “homophobic” if I don’t accept this person for who they are, ahh the rub.

I don’t give a rip what you do in your bedroom, in fact, I don’t want to know and furthermore it is none of my business.  What is my business is what we are teaching our children and from what perspective.  Think about it, if I were to bring a program that spoke about my being mistreated because I am a heterosexual, would that go over well?  When did we start to define ourselves by what kind of sex we have?  When did we begin to demonize people because of their religious views?  I don’t hate you because you are gay, I just don’t like you telling me what I have to think about it.

An excellent program Challenge Day, however, their theology needs to stay out of their presentation.  One of the activities is called, If You Knew Me.  This is an activity where the speaker begins with that phrase and talks about the real them.  Well, If you knew me, you would know that I desire all to know the love of God and I dislike being told I am wrong because I believe God is who he says he is in the Bible, and I loathe those who use the word of God for their own ends, and I love the church that welcomes all and teaches truth in a way that honors my Lord and Savior and that I have the hope that all will know the love of God.  Does that sound like I am a homophone?  To some perhaps, I’m not, but does it matter when I am being painted with a broad brush by those who cry foul for what they perceive to be the same thing?

An otherwise powerful tool is Challenge Day.  I think we can look around the desire for some to use it as a hammer to hit home their political agenda, but why make me have to do that?  I wouldn’t do it to you!  One last thing.  If I had a child that was going through this I would let them go and tell them to participate fully, but I would discuss with them what you just read.  What do you think?  Until next time, peace.

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Todd