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Ken Robinson, in his book “The Element” wrote:

“…. Children everywhere are under intense pressure to perform at higher and higher levels on a narrow range of standardised tests.

Why are school systems like this?  The reasons are cultural and historical. … … The point here is that most systems of mass education came into being relatively recently – in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  These systems were designed to meet the economic interests of those times – times that were dominated by the Industrial Revolution in Europe and America.  Math, Science, and language skills were essential for jobs in the industrial economies.  The other big influence on education has been the academic culture of universities, which has tended to push aside any sort of activity that involves the heart, the body, the senses, and a good portion of our actual brains.

The result is that school systems everywhere inculcate us with a very narrow view of intelligence and capacity and overvalue particular sorts of talent and ability.  In so doing so, they neglect others that are just as important, and they disregard the relationships between them in sustaining the vitality of our lives and communities.  This stratified, one-size-fits-all approach to education marginalises all of those who do not take naturally to learning this way.” (Ken Robinson, Ph.D. with Lou Aronica, “The Element” – Penguin Books – pg 13-14 paper-back edition)

Even though in orthodox Christian scripture we are told not to conform to the patterns of this world but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, Ken Robinson could be talking directly to the dominant fundamentalist mindset prevalent in the modern church of our day.

Even in regular sermons, truth is not truth unless it is parenthesised by a mathematical grid reference – a spiritual GPS, if you will.   Conformity to correct social order, culture, language, behaviour, ‘submission’ and ‘discipline’ are the direct determinates of ‘spiritual’ progress and promotion in the church along with academic qualification and rote regurgitation of and conformity to doctrine and tradition.

The fact that in the same scriptures an overwhelming picture is clearly painted of the significant prophetic players in God’s dealings with man and the church as being non-conformists and even the outcast, rejected, often uneducated, even rebellious and ‘sinful’ of the community is somehow completely disregarded.

Could it be that we got here because we have focused on playing a game of ‘catch-up’ with the cultural and historical times we live in rather than keeping our eyes on the instigator, provocateur, and revolutionary originator of our faith?

Who are the legalists, the lawyers, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees of our day?

…. why, … they are we


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