Here is an attitude pervasive through our society, and unless you are looking for it, there’s no natural reason to be wary of it.
But it isn’t Biblical.
It was most clearly brought to my attention within the last month, as I was reading Wilson’s The Case for Classical Christian Education.
Modern society does not want to recognize the existence of and problem that does not admit of a human-engineered solution. This solution invariably comes down to some form of education.
I saw the perfect example of this when reading the introduction to a popular education book on the way back from Anchorage this weekend. It was clear the author sincerely believed that if only we could get this education thing *right* we’d finally have everything we’ve hoped for.
That idea might have struck me as vaguely creepy before, but it hardly seems fair to argue against. After all, what other means do we have to even attempt pursuing this high goal?
It was after reading that paragraph from Wilson’s book that a number of things I’ve been struggling with began to come into clearer focus.
I must say, writing a novel while living my life has the tremendous effect of forcing me to see innumerable parallels. Wasn’t I just talking about seeing things more clearly? Things I sort of knew already, but couldn’t quit get at because they weren’t quite… clear.
Anyway, having something before my eyes always makes a tremendous difference for me.
I’m not saying self-education is a bad thing (I live on a steady diet of that); I’m asking, Where is the first place I turn?
If we were not so dependent on the Holy Spirit we could claim our own efforts (frequently to self-educate– some of us) were our solution, our salvation.
In the same way that I can hardly complain of not understanding everything about God (3-in-1? Jesus incarnate = 200%?), I’m beginning to think I should not be surprised when my own efforts or *will* is insufficient to accomplish something.
And I’m beginning to wonder if this is so often the reason why a project may fail, even with with the best of intentions and planning: We really can’t do anything on our own; Jesus himself promised that.
It seems to me we must take that dependence as the most essential starting place, and throw ourselves on the mercies of God if we expect to get anything significant accomplished.
But don’t you dare take that as a suggestion to do nothing. I affirm the “folksy” saying (with my own observations):
Pray as if everything depends on God (because,of course, you know it does). Work as if everything depends on you (because you don’t know how much of it does).
Salvation, of course, is by faith. But blessings (and I would include success here), the Scriptures tell us, are measured out by obedience.
But to finish what I started:
Education is the solution only as much as ignorance is the problem. That is, for “defects of character” or manifestations of Original Sin, education has no relief to offer.
But Jesus does. We’ll be much more effective when we start there.