What is the 16-9 Movement?
A movement is defined as a group of people working together to advance their shared ideas. The 16-9 Movement seeks to define the high calling of Christian educators in a legal and graceful manner. For the last few decades, we have been increasingly misinformed on how we can be Christians in the public schools. Unfortunately, most educators and administrators have a knee-jerk reaction to any mention of God. If you picture a pendulum, its movement back and forth helps us understand the difference between extremes and moderation. When the pendulum swings all the way to either side, it tends to ostracize. However, when the pendulum gently swings at the bottom, it is fluid, balanced and inviting. The 16-9 movement rocks at the bottom of the pendulum in balance and moderation.
To understand 16-9, educators in the public schools need to know the first 16 words of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the 9 fruit of the Spirit. Let’s examine both. The first 16 words of the First Amendment are: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The 9 fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The first 16 words of the First Amendment help us as educators and administrators understand our important role as teachers. While we are serving on the job, we are “Congress.” We can make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In other words, we can neither encourage nor discourage the free exercise of religion. When we begin our official day on the clock, we put on our “Congress hat.” When we are off the clock, we take off our “Congress hat.” The 9 fruits of the Spirit can and should be worn whether we are on the clock or off the clock. What school wouldn’t want a faculty and staff of educators who are practicing love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control and faithfulness?
Will you help me build the 16-9 movement to unite Christian educators in our public and private schools so they are informed, gracious and legally living out their high calling as educators?