Pink Floyd’s famous song has always irked me. It’s not just because this was the cult favorite for those classmates of mine in the 80s who sort of scared me with their big hair, black tee shirts and faint wafting aroma of Mary Jane. But it was also because it was just such a dumb lyric. Yes, I get the irony. But, clearly, with all the double-negatives, you in point of fact do need education.
But maybe Gilmour was onto something without knowing it. As it has been suggested before around here, one of the interesting aspects of modernity is its exaltation of education. Instead of rightfully esteeming education and placing it in its proper and dignified place, the stakes of education can very often be over-realized (idolized?) as at least one way, along with politics and family values, to construct another modern end known as the Good Society. It can be to the point that the modern outlook is such that it might be said that human beings are actually made and shaped, not by the contours of the home, but in school. And one of the interesting ways this gets interpreted by culturally Reformed believers is to conceive of instruction and nurture in the faith to come by way of the day school, then the church, then the home. But if we’re being honest, what is unspoken is the skepticism that the home has any such duty; the notion is a relic of the past which deserves at best a nostalgic yet dismissive smile, the kind an adult has when he reminisces security blankets and teddy bears.
But at Yinkahdinay Wes Bredenhof points to the efforts of Dort that suggest something less modern and more Protestant:
On Friday November 30, 1618 in its morning session, the Synod of Dort issued its decree on the manner of catechesis. Dort followed Bremen’s division of catechetical duties. The work of parents, however, was put up front. According to Dort, it is the work of parent to instruct their children and the whole family with all diligence in the elements of Christian religion… It’s unfortunate that parental or domestic catechesis has been lost in so many places. It’s regrettable that many Reformed parents today expect the church to do virtually everything when it comes to the catechesis of covenant youth. The first responsibility lies with parents. Dort was right.