This Momentary Gain
Snap-Chat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: how on earth did we survive before these marvels of technology? A recent survey showed a high percentage of millennials (roughly ages 18-30) actually believe that free WiFi should be a Constitutional right; one wonders what Alexander Hamilton, President Washington, and John Adams would think of this result of their toil and sacrifice. The agonies of Bunker Hill and Valley Forge summed up into the right for wireless internet access.
Now, before you think I’m launching an assault on the upcoming generation, I am a millennial myself and enjoy the benefits of the internet! Homeschooling has reached new heights since the advent of social media—the world itself is changed, and we often feel the good of increased communication. With a Starbuck’s ® drink in hand and earbuds at the ready, the modern world is a fairly comfortable place.
Yet what do Instagram, the homeschool movement, and Valley Forge have to do with the depths of winter or St. Valentine’s Day? If you can bear with the ramblings of a millennial for a moment, I’ll tell you.
I am a grateful recipient of the homeschool movement; my parents had the courage to teach me in our home; while my dad followed God’s call in the pastorate. We were, and still are, a ministry family. Every family is in ministry, whether one admits it or not. I grew up in conservative, Fundamentalist circles, but we never fit the mold in certain ways.
When I graduated from high school in 2008 (yes, ten years ago), I wanted out—out of the “box” to experience the wonders of university life! I wanted to pursue drama. I wanted my fill of intellectual achievement. Ministry demanded too high a price. This pastor’s kid wanted, in short, to be “normal.”
The glories of Dickens, Shakespeare, Brontë, and Tolstoy were mine and, as an English scholar once said, I reveled in academia’s “domes and spires.”
Then, I messed up. Pride, arrogance, and conceit reaped a bitter harvest. Although I attended a Christian liberal arts university, I left disillusioned. Looking back, I see how God graciously preserved me, kept me from further trouble, and restored me to a right relationship with my parents and other authority figures.
Yet the question still remained: what do we, the next generation, do with our learning? Raised contrary to the “system,” should we embrace the inevitable? Do the classics truly make us better people for God’s service?
Eight years later, the answer is both “no” and “yes.” Technology is a great tool and so are the classics and the arts. They matter. Now, I personally prize the arts above technology, yet that is merely my opinion. Both have their place in a believer’s life. On the other hand, we cannot embrace values as children only to dispose of them in the wider world.
Our nation cannot define our faith. As grateful and thankful as we are for this struggle called America, we must prize our citizenship in Heaven as supreme. (Romans 13:1-7)
Theologian John Piper writes in his book Think, 1“All my life I have lived with the tension between thinking and feeling and doing.” In beautiful and simple terms, Piper presents a humble treaties for Christians to value and cherish Christ as supreme, and then to think and feel deeply about Him and his truth. For Piper, who spent 22 years in academia, learning must propel us to love Christ and people more. If we are not motivated by love, then all our learning is mute.
Here we see the confluence of Valley Forge and St. Valentine’s Day. The toil and suffering of Valley Forge may deepen in our minds, but do we weep for joy at the impact of Calvary?
Are we ready to accept technology, the arts, sciences, and other disciplines as tools properly submitted to the Master? True, we profit from these things, yet they are momentary.
All literature, history, and mathematics point us to the realization of a Creator. His love never ends and, when our feverish rehearsal on earth is done, we will see our God as He is and then we will laugh for joy.
Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!
Rachel Ann Rogish is a freelance writer, excited to give back to quality home education and promoting a creative-ministry life-style. When she is isn’t writing, you can find her learning the domestic arts, reading a good book, exploring nature, and reporting for the Cape May County Herald Newspaper.
1 Piper, John. Think, The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010