Even the culture we intentionally and unintentionally develop in our own homes is influenced by the way we grew up. If our parents were over-strict, we will likely either be strict ourselves, or react against that and be the opposite of what we experienced ourselves.
When these cultural actions and reactions are compounded on a larger scale, it has interesting impacts on the wider culture.
This is why an understanding of history is so helpful. We don’t live in a vacuum! The culture we live in impacts the way we view the world, and yes, it even impacts our expression of faith and belief - often more than we are prepared to admit.
When I was growing up, the ideas of modernism were still strongly affecting the Christian church. As discovering scientific fact was seen as critical in the modernist era, Christians also sought to read the Bible as a book of facts or rules.
As I grew up I was aware of many conversations among fellow Christians about what was true and right as a Christian who ‘followed biblical teaching’. The role of women, the way we relate to divorcees, the date of the end of the world, the use of alcohol, the concepts of creation vs evolution and the purpose of Sundays were more important discussions to Christians than they are now.
I observe the Christian culture around me to be vastly different from the culture in which I grew up. We are so much more aware of opinions and expressions of Christian faith that are different to our own.
Today, while I have less certainty about some things I used to hold dear, I have greater confidence in the goodness of God, and the significance of Jesus in my life and, I think, I am able to integrate my faith and life together in a more wholesome way than the more 'separatist', and no doubt sometimes fearful, ways of my past.
So how has this impacted the way I parent and teach?
The biggest ‘right answer’ for me now is to love God, myself and others more and more fully.
My biggest joys are when I see my children desiring to connect with God, having a faith that sits comfortably alongside questions, and seeking to love themselves and others well as they live their everyday lives.
I recently read a quote which I love and which expands on our Horizon School tagline of Loving Life, Living Faith, Looking Forward:
The experience of God deepens the experiences of life. It does not reduce them, for it awakens the unconditional Yes to life. The more I love God the more gladly I exist. The more immediately and wholly I exist, the more I sense the living God, the inexhaustible well of life, and life’s eternity.
(The Spirit of Life: A universal affirmation by Jurgen Moltmann)
At Horizon, we want to learn together as teachers and students how to live well as an expression of faith, hope and love.
And we want your children to have experiences of a Christian learning environment that helps them to love life!