Words: A blessing and a curse

"[The tongue] is a restless evil, full of deadly poison...from the same mouth come blessing and cursing." (James 3)Guilty as charged? James's words are a harsh reality. This verse is also similar to Paul's fret, "I can will what is right but I cannot do it, for the evil I do not want is what I do."Last week, I heard colleagues' concern about my attitude and outlook. They had read in last week's newsletter about my worries over state politics, including Indiana's ability (or inability) to stand strong for religious liberty and the lives of the unborn. They heard more woe than peace when I talked about Jeremiah last week. My statements of concern about the morals and ethics of the day seemed to outweigh the hopeful promise of God expressed through Jeremiah: "I know the plans I have for you..." Even though I wanted my words to be of caution and action, the words came out as gloomy and hopeless.There you go. Words can be blessings and curses.So here are my thoughts this week after worshiping Sunday morning, after being at a strong Indiana Non-Public School Association Administrators' conference, and after a weekend of reflection and renewal. These words are meant to be hopeful, but also express our need for reflection and action. Lutheran schools must be uniquely Lutheran. Can YOU define that principle? It was quite obvious this week when our Lutheran baptismal theology rang loud and clear through the tragedies of CLHS. While sin shows it's ugly head with death and hardships, the peace that Jesus' redemptive work gives to His people lift them and carry them through the valleys of life. Jesus' needs to be the focus of all we do. Not feeling good, not pats on the back, not a community of care. It's about Christ and how life in Christ affects all we do. Lutheran schools must be filled with rich learning experiences: Christmas services, mission trips, off-campus study. Experiences that leverage technology (even robots!), teacher collaboration, and best practices. Experiences that include what it means to be a community of believers that encourages CLHS, or that faithfully and joyously supports Woodburn Lutheran School's Blue and White Banquet. Lutheran Schools must be places of safety and nurture. Christ must show in our actions and words of love. His love should ensure that kids in our schools will know the loving arms of our Savior through rules and procedures that support safe and secure learning environments. This includes our words; words of nurture and not words of harm. This includes standards of conduct that demonstrate respect for the teaching/learning process, for adults and classmates, and even for the facility.Blessings to you as support Lutheran education.Peace and joy,Mark MuehlDirector