VBS: Not a Government Acronym


Since January 1, 2013, I’ve started following several blogs by e-mail. I love it. I get the new content directly in my inbox. I can read new content without having to go to a blog each day to check to see if there’s something new or not.

I wonder if my “views” count toward the author’s page views, as I obsess over my own page views, but other than that, I LOVE getting the posts via inbox.

One post I received this week I flagged to use in a blog later this week. Today is the day.

If you’ve read many of my posts at all, you know two things about me, well, more than that, but these two also!

1) I am a Christian. I live my faith out loud. I often fail out loud too, but I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Christian.

2) I am a teacher in a public school.

Many times in my life these two roles collide, crash heads, and are generally at war with one another. This week they met on a turf that made me almost want to run away screaming. Almost.

I currently serve as our Associational VBS Director. This is my third year in that role. I have served four or five (um, I can’t remember…) of the last six years as VBS director at our own church. I also typically do VBS Worship music at our church and fill in wherever I’m needed, as needed.

It’s fair to say I’m at least praying and thinking about VBS year round. A good chunk of the year I’m actively working on something for VBS.

It makes sense that I follow the Lifeway VBS blog via e-mail just like the various other blogs I read. Right?

Well, I almost unfollowed it the other day.

Why? Because it collided with my career.

This offending VBS blog actually recommends that it would be “nice” if churches would adopt the NCLB school policy.

Gasping for air here! Quick! Someone smack me on the back a few times.

This was a wonderful article about being thankful for having a job in your calling and such, and then in the conclusion it encourages churches to buy into No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Oh my.

Don’t get me wrong. There were (are) some good things to NCLB. However, the overall impact and view of NCLB by frontline educators is similar to mine. Gasp. Gag. Panic. Ire.

If it’s negative or stress-inducing, insert that adjective.

As a church community, we claim that public education has kicked God out of the schoolhouse and now we want to invite public school’s policy into the church house?

Do you know the struggle I have to keep my conversation free of the spiritual overtones that naturally flow from my being while I’m at work? I have to draw a line, an almost visible line to remind myself what I can and can’t say and do at work to separate church and state. It is stressful to me that I can’t be who I am all the time.

So, yes, I was taken a little (LOT) aback when I read a spiritual blog recommending that I bring my career terminology to church with me.

If I can’t take my church terminology to work because of separation of church and state, I sure don’t want to bring my work terminology to church.

No, I don’t want to leave any children at VBS behind. I just want to call it something else…something that doesn’t remind me that it’s ok for the government to seep into my religion but not ok for my religion to seep into the government.

5 comments

  • What part of NCLB do they encourage you to adopt? The student passes the test or the teacher will be fired part (ok, an exaggeration, I admit, but you know what I mean)? Isn’t VBS about allowing the children to come to God in their own way? How would you quantify that? Maybe I just have to much bias against NCLB.

    • Audrey,

      Thank you for reading & commenting! There was really only one sentence about NCLB, & I interpreted it mean we can’t bring kids to VBS for 1 week & them never see them again. We need to be enrolling them in Sunday school classes, youth groups, & other year-round opportunities we offer.

      I totally agree with getting VBS attendees actively involved in a church on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the use of one little acronym almost sent me running in the opposire direction!

      Blessings!

      Cat

    • That I understand. Happens in my faith tradition too. Once they make their First Holy Communion, we never see them again. So, how to convince the kids (and mostly parents) to continue attending.

      And yeah, I understand the mere mention of NCLB can send people screaming for the hills. 🙂

  • Thank you! I completely agree with you. It’s a free country until you want to be your Christian self in a school … I sometimes try to write about this and then feel all the energy drain out .. thank you for doing it for me.

    Thanks for linking up too! (:

    • Larissa~
      Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I, unfortunately, takle this subject matter frequently. It actually helps me deal with it to write about it.

      Thanks for hosting!

      Blessings!

      Cat