What do Christian values do?

They bring anxious twins back to class.

They simply refused to go. The twin girls in their tweens had developed an anxiety disorder, overhanging from the COVID lockdowns perhaps, and would not go back to their school mates. Already, they were falling behind in their learning. 

Known as “school refusal”, the problem is on the rise across Australia, and no one is sure how to solve it. The parents were frustrated and anxious, with no answers. The Principal was stumped too.

So, they called in the Chaplain, called Ruth. 

She admitted, she didn’t have answers either. What she did have, was her living faith in Jesus. A faith that shapes the values she lives by.

Sadly, the idea of “Christian values”  and “ethos” are sneered at by legal experts today. 

There’s one group of people who – without any irony – call themselves the “Australian Discrimination Law Experts Group.” Early in 2023 these experts wrote a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission on the topic of Christian schools and whether they should be able to hire for that person’s “values” or “ethos.”

They concluded that Christian schools should stop talking about ‘ethos’ when we talk to the government, “because it has no meaning in history.” 

And when it comes to values, only today’s secular values count according to these “experts”. They believe schools shouldn’t be able to value a teacher’s decision to stay faithful in their marriage for example, because that is  “out of step with contemporary Australian values.”

None of that expert talk is helping anxious girls to get back to their school mates and learning.

Here’s what did help. 

Ruth. And her values.

For Ruth, Christian values meant staying humble. 

Even before the young twins and their parents. Instead of telling people what they need to do, her values “keep me humble to share what I’m learning.” 

Christian values mean drawing on something bigger than yourself when you’re stuck. And Ruth was stuck. She didn’t have the answers that would help the twins. But she did have her faith in Christ. She says, “I don’t feel like I’ve got the ability, or skill set, I can remember that Jesus has already given me all I need.”

Christian values meant not giving up on people. Ever. She kept meeting with the twins. Kept meeting with the parents. Almost every week. Until the problem was solved. 

Values aren’t just words on a mission statement. Nor are they debating points for self-appointed “experts.”
Christian values are revealed by what we do. What they do is help children learn. As Ruth worked with the girls and their parents, she revealed that her Christian values do something. The ultimate Christian value, of course, is love, which “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 

But what about “ethos”? Something the experts say “has no meaning.” 

We asked Ruth about that. She said “Christian teachers and schools have ethos written into the core of everything they do.”

Everything. Including the way staff respond to school refusal.

Wonderfully, the twin tweens came back to class after about a term, and they’re growing as intelligent young women today. 

A small moment that shows how Christian values are different, and how they make a difference. That difference is good news. Even for anxious twins.