Teaching students God’s way, not the world’s way

Published 7:03 pm Monday, August 10, 2020

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By MICHAEL J. BROOKS | Guest Columnist

Note: This is an opinion column.

I saw Carl a few years ago after not having seen him for a long time. We had a pleasant conversation though I remembered a bit of unpleasantness we’d had when I’d been his pastor. It had to do with sex.

Even the word itself is sometimes shocking in the context of church matters. But we believers insist God is the author of sex and that the only thing wrong with it is when people pervert his plans and purposes.

One of the youth leaders we had in our church at the time said he wanted to schedule six Sunday evenings and teach psychologist Dr. James Dobson’s “Preparing For Adolescence” to the middle and high-schoolers. This book was published in 1980 and is still widely-used.

Dobson has always been an outspoken proponent of biblical values and pro-life causes. He remains a hero to many of us. The teacher reminded me that Dobson had a chapter on sexuality and a paragraph explaining what the sex act is.

I suggested we send a letter to the parents and tell them what we had in mind and invite their comments. No one commented, so the series was scheduled with a number of adult helpers present in each session.

A few weeks later I noticed Carl on a Sunday morning making his way to one deacon and then another, showing them a document he had. After the service I learned he’d photocopied the infamous paragraph from Dobson’s book and angrily told the deacons, “This is what they’re teaching in our youth department!”

I called Carl that afternoon and asked him about the matter. I reminded him that a letter had gone to his house. He said he’d overlooked it.

I offered to get the teacher and church leaders in a room and discuss the matter with him. He agreed to the meeting but didn’t come. Gathered leaders affirmed what the teacher was doing and thanked him for his efforts.

I remembered this experience lately and thought about how different things are. Then we didn’t have the Internet. Today our youth are confronted with vile images on computer, phone or tablet, unless we parents take steps to filter the feed.

And I would argue that a Christian gentleman like Dr. Dobson is a much better purveyor of life, health and peace than the online suppliers of degradation.

I believe today’s church has grown more forthright in speaking God’s truth, even in sensitive areas. And I hope that parents see the church as an ally in praying for their children and teaching them about God’s way vs. the world’s way.

Jesus said the former leads to abundance and the latter leads to disappointment (Matthew 7: 13-14).

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.