This morning I have been contemplating a situation that occurred when I was a superintendent of schools about twenty years ago. I am not proud of my actions in handling this situation, but the telling of the story magnifies a truth that is clearly spoken in the New Testament. I must make it clear that I was not yet a born again Christian. Indeed I did my best to keep “religion” out of our public schools. I was certainly not an atheist, but protecting young minds from the influences of organized religion and those who were, in my mind at least, far too intense in their public faith was part of my work persona.
Any request to distribute written materials in more than one school required the consent of the appropriate superintendent of schools. I had been requested to review a pamphlet inviting parents to register their children for a summer camp owned and operated by a local church. On the folded pamphlet cover was a cross. I can’t believe that I was silly enough to actually call the reverend and inform him that the content of the pamphlet was acceptable, but that the cross would have to be removed from the front cover. I explained to this flabbergasted man of the cloth that the symbol was far too Christian and may cause complaints from parents. Let’s just say that this gentlemen retained necessary decorum, but he was not happy. By the same afternoon, I began to receive phone calls from trustees of the board. Callers were calling them to object to my decision which the trustees “suggested” that I reverse. The pamphlets were indeed approved and distributed with the cross intact. In the end, I felt very foolish for my refusal of the cross. In 1Corinthians 1:18 we read about that very foolishness.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The Amplified Bible actually refers to the message of the cross as “sheer absurdity and folly” to those who are perishing. Until I was forty-eight years of age, I was perishing. I found the message of the cross absurd. Now, due to the grace of God, I am not perishing. I am saved. I am assured that I will live forever with Jesus in heaven. The cross is now a symbol of the power of God. God so loved me that he sent His son to die on that cross in order that I be redeemed. How I needed to be redeemed! How thankful I am for that redemption! The Bible tells me very directly about my foolishness in making a foolish decision so long ago.
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