Conviction: To believe in something enough to fight for it, to suffer as a consequence of it, to risk everything for it. Pilgrims brought their families to a stretch of wilderness out of religious convictions; abolitionists and civil rights leaders, both black and white, risked life and limb due to their conviction that people made in the image of God should be equal and free. Can we even understand our nation’s history without some level of respect for the power of conviction?
Most kids who study Martin Luther King Jr. (and most kids do) are left unaware that his religious faith as a Christian minister fueled his fight for civil rights. He said, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth century prophets left their little villages and carried their ‘thus saith the Lord’ far beyond the boundaries of their home towns and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.”
(Martin Luther King Jr.)
The Apostle Paul said to the people of Philippi in Philippians 1:21: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain–Now that’s conviction!
Kids also won’t learn much about religious conviction from the novels that they read. Even characters on a spiritual journey (and there are many, surprisingly) seem to all conclude that religions are basically the same. Heaven forbid that a character come to any sort of religious conviction! I’m so grateful for my publisher, Sunpenny Publishing (UK), that has embraced my characters’ Christian formation journey in Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather!
Even so, I’m not too worried about any of the books with different religious ideas. God can speak through any book if he chooses and I’m not about to go on a witch hunt in my library. Much more troubling is an increasingly common situation on college campuses: policies geared to end “discrimination” that make it impossible to exclude non-Christians (even people vehemently opposed to Christianity) from becoming leaders in Christian organizations!
Christianity Today’s Sept. 2014 issue tells about a specific case at Vanderbilt University, and yesterday, online, the same magazine highlighted the news that California State University’s 23 campuses have adopted the same policy. Intervarsity, a long-respected Christian group on campuses, has opted to pull out of these universities rather than compromise their convictions.
The online article (See CT Online, Sept. 12, 2014) pointed out that the Greek system can “discriminate” based on gender, and honor groups can “discriminate” based on intelligence, but Christian groups have to treat their creeds as meaningless relics if they want to stay on campus.
Have we stopped using our brains to help us think for ourselves? If we truly want to be a diverse society, where all views are given a certain level of respect and we are all free to practice the religion of our choice, then we must use our heads and realize that this will mean that a certain amount of “discrimination” must take place.
Let’s go to the dictionary, shall we? To discriminate simply means to “discern,” or to “determine the differences between.” If we can’t accept, with respect, that people have differences of opinion or belief–of conviction–we will, in the name of ending “discrimination,” have ironically lost all ability as a society to be truly diverse!
As a fellow teacher once told her students when they were being particularly thick-headed, “Fred, Fred! Use your head!”
For friends new to this blog, “Wednesday’s Word” is a weekly Bible audio clip that rotates between Genesis, Luke and Psalms. Occasionally, I post “Wednesday’s Word to the Free,” a short Bible passage on what it means to be free. Freedom is a very big concern to Timley, Mouse, the tiniest character in my upcoming novel, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather!
On Sundays, I post an article-type post on themes in the novels: faith, friendship, diversity, etc. Thanks for reading! Feel free to share!