Part Three -- High Noon in Action
She was a high school senior with a 4.0 and was bound for a good college when she got an "F" on a major test in advanced biology. Her fellow teens at church alerted us (ministers and elders) concerning the reason why: she had defended her belief in creation. Her teacher was an aggressive evolutionist and had given them a long, hard test requiring ten short essay answers. She had supplied the "evolutionarily correct" answers and then added her objections and counter arguments; effectively doubling the amount of work on her test. The teacher did not deny that she had learned the material and could spout it back on command, but gave her an "F" since she "clearly did not understand it."
Our elders were at the school the next day. They were kind, soft spoken, and respectful as they spoke with, first, the principal and then the teacher. Later that day they also spoke to the superintendent of schools. The grade was changed two days later to an "A." The elders took her original paper, complete with red "F" and laminated it, hanging it in a prominent position of honor in the church building.
I could also speak about the new band teacher who upon coming in immediately changed practice from Thursday to Wednesday night and made it mandatory. When two of our teens tried to explain that they had church they were told: show up or drop the band. Our elders once again went into the school -- gently and with a Christ-like spirit. The practice was switched back to Thursday.
Or the time that a single mother who struggled against all odds to raise her children ran up against school regulations and an uncaring employer. She wanted to be at her kids' school for the parent teacher conferences but her employer -- a manager at McDonalds -- wouldn't give her the night off. The elders volunteered to go to the conferences in her place but the school wouldn't allow it. State law said only the parent or legal guardian had the right to confidential info about the child (understandable). One of our elders, who owned stores all over the state and was a very well to do man, went to the McDonalds manager and asked him personally to release the woman for that evening. When the manager refused, our elder volunteered to work in her place. He came in three nights in a row to learn her job and then worked that night for her -- for free. By the end of the week the entire town had heard about it. It's hard not to notice when a wealthy man is working at McDonalds mopping floors and cleaning toilets... without a word of complaint.
Each of these people stepped up and stepped out for something bigger than themselves. The teens could have stayed mute, shrugged and said "What can you do?" They didn't. The elders could have tsk-tsked and complained about the state of things today... but they moved in sweetly to change things. No voices were ever raised or threats made. In case you are wondering, this wasn't in some small rural backwater, but in a major metropolitan area. And we don't win them all, but we put them all in play.
Today we sent three of our own away. One of them, a lovely twenty two year old girl, is going to work at planting a church in the Bronx over the next two years. She said she had only 20% of her needed funds, but promised God she would go anyway... and then the money came in. A young couple with three elementary school and preschool children are walking away from their upper middle-class home and great jobs to live in Jinja, Uganda for five years. Why? Because on a visit they saw the need for God in the eyes of those there and determined to take the good news to them.
High Noon moments. Gotta love 'em. Step up and step out. All praise to Him who lets us in the game.