We bid farewell to our old monogram this school year and welcome the new and improved Trinitas “T” logo. Thankfully, our old logo shirts and sweaters will be worn and enjoyed by many children at a school in Guatemala. Donnie and Shay Peterson, from Pine Summit Baptist Church, are taking the uniforms with them on a mission trip in July. What a blessing they will be for the young people in the school their church helps support.
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Congratulations to all of the young ladies selected to participate in the 2017 Trinitas Volleyball team! Varsity: Summer Gregg, Emily Hadding, Alex Johnson, Mekenzie Petersen, Cate Price, Erica Radcliffe, Eryn Riesberg, Jillian Todd, and Emma Todd. Junior Varsity: Eliana Adler, Jessica Croley, Abby Hadding, Morgan Petersen, Amanda Schwartz, Grace Tenniswood, Brooklyn Weihenmayer, and Catherine Zepp These ladies have been working hard with early practices and learning various drills. The first game is planned for mid August so plan to come cheer on our Lady Knights!
In a most unique farewell to her graduating senior, Mrs. Susan Hill created a quilted masterpiece! As a gift to her son, Master Hayden Hill, Mrs. Hill combined old t-shirts and memorabilia from uniforms, yearbook shirts, house shirts, running club, soccer team, baseball jerseys and even a Friday uniform shirt and tie made the cut! It is an amazing compilation of memories and sweet tribute to Hayden after his tenure here at Trinitas. Thanks for the wonderful idea and may it be well used by Hayden at Samford this Fall!
It’s volleyball camp week at Trinitas! Ladies of all ages have been brushing up on the their volleyball skills and talents. With the help of the varsity squad, the campers are learning some basic fundamentals of the game and having lots of fun too! The first volleyball game is slated for mid August so preparation is in full swing. Go Lady Knights!
On Father’s Day my pastor used the term “father famine” to describe the lack of fathers and fathering in our culture right now. Even though the truths bound up in this term are familiar to me as a watcher of culture, the term slapped me in the face—it was that shocking. Our culture is truly in the midst of a father famine. And it is not simply that we lack headship in families. No, the problem is much deeper: we don’t even understand what good headship is. We—all of us, the whole culture—have little vision for fathers or fathering.
The problem is at least two-fold even in its simplest form. On the one hand, some families are completely fatherless because of divorce or abandonment or in some cases even death. There are many single moms out there doing the best they can with what they have. Theirs is a labor of love, and we should thank God for them. The complete absence of a father in the family is a serious and deep rooted cultural malady. I do not mean to just wave my hand at that malady as if to dismiss it as a problem that won’t go away, but that is not the issue I want to address here in this limited space. I want to explore the other hand.
On the other hand, even when a father is physically present in the home, often times little or no actual fathering is going on. We have cultural amnesia and have all together lost our understanding of what it means to father. Jesus, during His Sermon on the Mount, said, “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matt. 7:9). At first read Jesus seems to mean that a good father would not trick his hungry son by replacing his bread with a rock, and we would certainly see the good fathering in that, but there’s more going on here.
Jesus is also saying that a good father knows what his children need and gives that to them instead of something else. He is not saying that a good father knows what will make his children immediately happy and gives that to them in spite of their need. Immediate happiness and fulfilling a need don’t always go hand in hand. Herein lies one of the gravest of the fathering issues in our culture, and one that has contributed greatly to the famine. So many fathers have become convinced that they should be friends with their children, so they give their children popular gifts and do things to make themselves appear cool or hip to their children in order to win their friendship. These fathers are convinced that children made happy in this way will like them, respect them, even obey them. This is not the kind of fathering Jesus had in mind and is, in fact, no kind of fathering at all—it is bribery. The role of father is much greater than that of friend when it comes to training up children in the way they should go, which is our task.
So very often what our children need is not necessarily the thing that will make them immediately happy. Few fathers would give their children chocolate cake for breakfast, in spite of the outrageously funny skit the now infamous comic Bill Cosby performed on that very subject. Chocolate cake is not good for children to eat for breakfast; instead, they need nutritious food that might not be as exciting or might not gratify the sense of taste so fully as chocolate cake. Chocolate cake for breakfast would make them happy, but not fulfill their need. This is a case of knowing what children need and giving it to them even if they protest. They want cake, but they need oatmeal; so sensible fathers give them oatmeal.
This chocolate cake vs. oatmeal analogy may seem to oversimplify the problem. I definitely do not want to do that, but I think the analogy works when we extend it. An important aspect of fathering is knowing what our children need. An even more important aspect of fathering is being man enough to give it to them when they would prefer immediate gratification. God, our own Heavenly Father, must be our model father in this and all fathering issues. When the children of Israel would not trust God and go in to possess the land He had given them, He did not cave in and do something different to make them happy. He did not give them chocolate cake for breakfast. There would have been no gain in that. He gave them nourishing oatmeal instead. For their good, fulfilling their need, He led them into the wilderness where they spent forty years learning how to trust Him. That is fathering, and in the long run it led to a deeper happiness, even joy, for the children of Israel.
At some point the chocolate cake vs. oatmeal analogy runs out of gas. It can’t describe all of our culture’s fathering shortcomings because there are so many issues to discuss. This much seems plain though: as Christian fathers we can make a dent in the father famine if we will look to God as the model father and if we will meet our children’s needs even if that doesn’t make them happy in the short term. Happiness is superficial and fleeting; joy in a Father who meets all our needs is deep rooted and everlasting, and it is just the kind of thing that ends famines.
The Bible is full of agrarian metaphors. One of the greatest of these metaphors is based on the principle of sowing and reaping. Sowing and reaping in the world of agriculture works like this: if a person plants a field with wheat seeds, that is, if a person sows wheat, then wheat is what will be harvested, or reaped. No corn or beans or squash or tomatoes will be harvested if wheat seed is what has been planted. Harvesting anything other than wheat from sown wheat seed is absolutely impossible.
The metaphor of sowing and reaping applied to people works like this: if a person touches fire, the result will be a burn. See, touching the fire is the sowing part—it is the seed that’s being sown. The one who sows the seed of touching the fire reaps a burn—the burn is the harvest, or the reaping part of the metaphor.
The sowing and reaping metaphor helps describe to hearers and readers of Scripture the natural progression of things according to the created order of God’s world. The metaphor helps warn us of the consequences resulting from certain actions. Some such things, of course, are just common sense. We know that if you play with fire, you get burned. If you sleep with dogs, you get fleas. If you fall down, you skin your knee. These things exemplify common sense sowing and reaping relationships.
But what is plain old common sense for wise adults is not so for children. Children need to experience the principle of sowing and reaping in the world. And this is where the problem comes in. As parents, we are often loathe to allow our children to reap what they sow. We often remove the consequences of our children’s actions to avoid “hurting their feelings” or “damaging their self esteem” or “breaking their spirits” or even to avoid physical pain. We manipulate the world so that our children can touch fire without getting burned. While we may indeed help our children avoid the unpleasant or even painful consequences of their actions, we are at the same time ensuring that they will remain spiritual dwarfs and not become wise.
A little perspective may be necessary here. Children obviously need our protection—that is our God ordained job as parents—but they need the right protection at the right time. Any parents who let their child climb to the top of the fence that separates the gorilla enclosure from the human portion of the zoo are just plain abdicating their God-ordained responsibility as parents. On the flip side, parents who protect their child from the negative consequences of turning in homework late, breaking a neighbor’s window, or stealing an apple are absolutely perverting created order. This is just the opposite of good parenting.
God created the world in such a way that our actions have consequences— sowing and reaping. We must teach our children just that. We must, in a way that takes into consideration the development and wisdom of our children, teach them that God will not be mocked—whatever we sow, that is what we will reap (Galatians 6:7).
Mr. Ron Gilley serves as Headmaster at Trinitas and is the father of two Trinitas alumni. While school administration is his day job, his real passion is writing. His thoughts and reflections can be found most Mondays here on the Trinitas blog.
Mrs. Phillips 3rd grade class explored the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum last week and even braved the 177 steps to the top! After witnessing the amazing view of the Pensacola Pass, they enjoyed touring the museum filled with exhibits of local history pieces and information. They ate lunch on the beach in the sunshine to wrap up the festive day.
The book of Deuteronomy is basically a reminder, or a refresher course, given to the nation of Israel by Moses before they enter into the land God promised them. In chapter five, Moses recapitulates the Ten Commandments. In chapter six, he reminds Israel to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5). He goes on to say that all the words he is teaching them, they should also teach their children; in fact, he tells them they must teach their children “diligently” all the things that he teaches the adults (Deut. 6:7). He gives fair warning of the consequence if they should fail to teach their children God’s ways: when times get good, they will forget God (Deut. 6:10-12).
We are in many ways far removed from the nation of Israel, but in other ways we are as close as ever. Our chronology, technology, and theology may be different on this side of Messiah than it was on Moses’ side, but some things never change. Take, for example, memory. People are as forgetful today as they were in the Garden of Eden or on the plains of Jericho or on the outskirts of Jerusalem. When times are good and all is going well, we often have a tendency to think more highly of ourselves than we ought and forget the blessings of God that got us where we are. God knew this about the nation of Israel, so He told them to teach diligently His ways to their children. Since we are, and our children are, as forgetful as the Israelites, then we too ought to heed this exhortation to teach our children diligently God’s ways.
God knew, too, that the Israelites would face competing gods when they came into the land and that they and their children—especially a few generations down the road—would be tempted to forget the God of their deliverance and worship idols (Deut, 6:14). That’s another reason He commanded His people to teach His ways diligently to their children so that they would not be fooled by the liturgies of idols.
Here again, we are just like the Israelites. We live in what some have called “the post-Christian West.” We, and our children, face competing liturgies every day. Everywhere we turn we are faced with some idol or ideology that is in direct, though sometimes subtle, competition with God for our affections, devotion, indeed for our worship. There is no neutral ground. Turn on the television, radio, internet; drive down the road and look at billboards; take a trip to the mall, the beach, the ballpark, the theater, the art gallery, or museum and what you will find is that God is being marginalized, pressed out, or even directly attacked by other gods.
Other gods often begin by wooing us to believe that we can have them alongside the One True God. But this is always a lie. Once they get their hooks in us, there’s no getting away. One may manage to cling to some watered down Christianity while worshipping a false god, but watered down becomes nothing at all in a generation or two. In order for us to pass the legacy of Christianity to our children, we must walk in God’s ways and teach them diligently to our children. Any compromise, any half-way covenant, any watered down version of love, trust, and obedience to God is the beginning of the end for our children. That’s why God commands His people now, just as He did thousands of years ago, to teach their children diligently to walk in His ways and to keep His commands. There are heavy consequences for not obeying, great blessings for obeying. In the second commandment God promises to visit “the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Deut. 5:9-10). No Christian would say he hates God, but not keeping God’s commandments and not walking in His ways is hating God.
Don’t listen to the competition. Don’t leave your children to sort out for themselves the competing liturgies of false gods. There is no neutral ground. Don’t neglect your duty as a Christian parent. Your children’s souls are at stake. And not only your children, but your children’s children and so on and so on. Teach them diligently the ways of God, the ways of life, that they might love God, keep His commandments, and live.
As teacher appreciation season draws to a close, we would like to thank all parents and friends for their help in making our teachers and staff feel appreciated and special. The creative art projects given to each teacher, the delicious “take-home” meals and also the chocolate and cheese day were all highlights of the month. Mrs. Phillips was especially touched by the “goat bag” that was created for her. The children drew images of her favorite animal and inscribed, “Don’t worry, I goat this!” It is a blessing to have such generous families and devoted teachers. We are tremendously grateful!
The 2017 Trinitas Art contest winners were announced at morning meeting Friday, May 12th. The recipients in the categories of painting, sculpture, photography, and drawing are listed below. The Best of Show award went to Miss Abigail Tenniswood for her “Finger Fish”. After seeing paintings by Iris Scott in New York City, she was inspired to complete an oil painting using her fingers in lieu of a paint brush. Other winners, Tim Parsley and Bryce Barnes who won 3rd place in the painting category, also mimicked a beloved artist, Jackson Pollock. Mr. Pollock was the inspiration for Mr. Parsley’s senior thesis and his attempt to replicate his work was well received.