The First Sixteen Words
Becoming a part of the 16-9 Movement means that we are seeking to understand our role in education both legally and gracefully. We need to always begin in prayer because it is the foundation of all that we do in the classroom. We pray for our students. We pray for our colleagues and we pray for our administrators, parents and school community in general. We are prayerfully dependent. Next, we are committing to learn the first sixteen words of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the 9 Fruits of the Spirit. Why have we chosen these two challenges? The First Amendment is the basis of being a legal American Christian in the public school and the Fruits of the Spirit help us to be gracious Christians loving our students, colleagues, administrators and school family.
There are actually 45 words in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that are as alive and important today as they were over 200 years ago. It provides five basic freedoms to all Americans. Can you name them? If so, write your answer in the comments below and I will send you a prize! The only reason I am offering this is because most Americans do not know their basic freedoms so beautifully preserved for us. In the 16-9 movement, we will be concerned mostly about the freedom of speech and religious liberty, but we respect and honor the whole First Amendment also. The first 16 words of the First Amendment read: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; the remaining 29 we will leave for another study. The First Amendment applies to all Americans. These inalienable rights make these ideals reality in the lives of all Americans and were added to the Constitution based on the concept that all humans were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. As Christians in the public schools, we must know when we are “Congress” and when we are an individual American. Educators in the public schools are government employees and are subject to the laws of the United States. We can never establish a religion nor prohibit the free exercise, thereof. In other words, we can neither encourage nor discourage the freedom of religious expression. When we are on paid time, we are “Congress.” When we are not being paid we are First Amendment Americans. We must be wise as a serpent, and as innocent as a dove. (Matthew 10:16).
The 16-9 Movement blog is designed to help Christian educators understand their high calling as a teacher, administrator or support personnel as we touch the lives of the next generation. We seek to be legal and to walk our walk in a way that is appealing, contagious and respectful of all.
We are available for events, seminars, professional development, conferences and other venues that help unite us with Christian educators with this worldview. May I invite you to join us? Feel free to contact me anytime through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image is in the public domain provided by the National Archives