If you believe that children are made in the image of God, then you will see the value of a child’s life, a person’s life, as being infinitely precious and valuable. This belief holds profoundly significant guidance for our society (laws and culture), especially the way we treat each other.
I need to start this newsletter leading with an apology. It’s likely that the included music (below youtube reference) may not be your style. My children are jazz musicians and often perform at contemporary gigs, so it’s important you realise I’m very empathetic if ‘folk’ is not your first love. Personally, I’m a fan of ‘funk’. However, here’s an opportunity to listen into the lyrics of the below audio (only), and quite possibly feel drawn into an easy-to-listen, rhythmical, affirming chorus. It’s recorded by Noel Paul Stookey. He was famously known in an American trio called ‘Peter, Paul and Mary.’ ‘You’re likely to be familiar with their classic children’s song: ‘Puff the Magic Dragon.’ Below is Stookey’s version of ‘You were made in the Image of God.’ I hope you find it encouraging.
In my last newsletter I wrote about our college’s view of a child. It’s simple. From the first book in the Bible (Genesis 1:27), we have formed the belief that children are made in God’s image. In the New Testament (1 John 4:8), God is described as love. This belief is central to how we educate your children. The value of a child’s life, a person’s life, is infinitely precious and valuable. Our belief underpins the foundational civilisation of our country. What we believe as a nation profoundly matters. It will ultimately determine how we treat each other, especially our children and young people.
In my previous Newsletter, I shared with you insights gained from spending time with leading US thinkers about the future of education. Collectively, they hold the view that we need to ‘re-imagine’ education. They argue we need to significantly improve the connectedness of our young people to their learning. They hold promoting the value of ‘test scores’ over and above the wellbeing of ‘the person’ is ultimately not going to improve the economy. Actually, it’s counterproductive. They believe if young people experience purposeful learning experiences, they are more likely to feel connected to their education and flourish. It’s held to be essentially important that our young people feel valued (intrinsically and from others) for their contribution. An education system that conceptualises students as a ‘unit’ on a production line created for curriculum driven ‘inputs’ typically leads to personal disengagement. The below ‘chart’ may assist you for the section below. For interest, born in 1964, my Gen is the last of the Baby Boomers. You?
Generation Z: 7-22 yr olds (those born from 1995 to 2009)
Generation Y: 23-37 yr olds (those born from 1980-1994)
Generation X: 38-52 yr olds (those born from 1965-1979)
Baby Boomers: 53-71 yr olds (those born from 1946-1964)
Builders: 72+ year olds (those born from 1925-1945)
Australia’s view of Christianity; extracts from a book called: ‘Faith and Belief in Australia’
Perceptions of Christianity
Australians most value Christian organisations for their work with those in need, specifically looking after people who are homeless, offering financial assistance/food relief programs and providing disaster relief (74%, 72% and 69% respectively). 8% of Australian adults (1.5 million) do not know any Christians, while for Generation Y this is almost one in ten. One in 29 Australians have never heard of Jesus.
Australians differ in their knowledge and perceptions of Christians. Four in five Australians (79%) know two or more Christians. Nearly 1.5 million Australian adults, however, do not know any Christians at all (8%). For those who know at least one Christian, the top words used to describe Christians are:
- Caring (41% select this word)
- Loving (35%)
- Kind (35%)
One in two Australians (53%) consider Jesus’ life to be extremely or very important in the history and culture of the world. Only one in three (31%), however, consider Jesus’ life to be extremely or very important to them personally.
Love is the attribute of Jesus that Australians connect with the most. The top three attributes of Jesus that Australians connect with in a positive way are:
- Love (50% connect with this)
- Hope (39%)
- Care (34%)
Australians most value the Church and Christian organisations for their work with those in need. Australians highly value the work of the Church in looking after people who are homeless (74% extremely or somewhat value this), offering financial assistance/food relief programs (72%) and providing disaster relief (69%).
Firstly, we see our students as made in the image of God. This belief determines how we conceptualise excellence. We are driven by a desire to honour God’s precious creation, His children, by helping them understand that God’s ‘DNA’ is love. They are made in His image. We want them to perceive excellence through God’s eyes, directly reflected in His Son, Jesus, and made real to us through the living presence of His Holy Spirit. Our learning programmes are intentionally designed to purposefully engage our students, as a means of optimising their sense of connection; to God, self and others. It has been said that real excellence is God’s love in action.
Secondly, we recognise most Australians value Christian organisations for their work with those in need. SCBC’s motto is ‘Rigorous Minds, Compassionate Hearts’. We want to be known for our compassion. One example is the creation of a food trailer (named ‘Mannafest’); an interdisciplinary project by SCBC students and staff. It’s used in partnership with our local Salvation Army to help feed homeless people in our own community. As a Christian community, we want to be known for our love, evidenced by practical expressions of compassion.
Over and above economy and cleverness, we want our young people (Gen Z) to reflect God’s love, and succeed in life.