Owing to the extent of alteration in all kinds of products today, ‘organic’ has become a household term. It is not uncommon for manufacturers today to substitute a portion of the real product with something artificial. The degree of such substitutions varies from product to product. In a perfect world, one would wonder why anyone would want to do that. Unfortunately, profit is top priority for many manufacturers regardless of the consequential harm from such practices. Some who have gone to great extents in the alteration of food products, in particular, have been legally penalized. However, companies have successfully steered clear of the radar of quality control systems despite some serious alterations. Iron particles in corn flakes, plastic in rice, colored stones in legumes are some examples of food alterations common today.
I searched the web to look for similar tricks and surprisingly found such practices in other industries as well. For instance, there seems to be a wide range of online shopping websites that sell duplicate branded clothing and other fashion products that have gained popularity. Their target customers are those who cannot afford the original but would rather have the particular brand of interest.
It isn’t surprising that there is a huge market for such products. Why not? We are constantly looking over our fences to see what the latest in our neighbors’ homes is and how we can remain in vogue. The Bible (Exodus 20:17) clearly warns us of how serious God is with the issue of desiring to be like others and to want what others have. Is it possible that our institutions are following suit? Have we forgotten our roots?
The benchmark of an Adventist School is its prescribed focus on the three-part value system—the physical, mental and the spiritual. This driving force was derived from Sister White’s counsel on proper education, calling it a preparation for life. Floyd Greenleaf pointed out that a brief comparison of 19th and the 20th century education will reveal a stark shift of focus from the preparation for life to simply the preparation for a career.
Indeed, our education system would be inadequate if we fail to prepare students for this life. However, a loss of focus from the preparation for eternal life also has a detrimental impact on the complete education of our students. Careful and intentional balance is the key to ensure the holistic development of children. While a genuine implementation of our philosophy of education does give us a competitive advantage, some of our schools are sadly giving in to the temptation to compete with secular schools. In so doing we risk failing the call to stand apart.
As Adventist educators we must heed the call to stand tall and, as such, apart. As Christians, we were always designed to stand out as ones who would not conform to the world but look to Jesus as an example. As Christian educators, may we keep the fire burning and not shy away from our identity of being organic Christians, clearly understanding how we differ from the rest of the unbelieving world like chalk and cheese.