Headmaster's 2021 Convocation Address
At JRHS, it is the Mission that is the essential process, that brings about the life change and formation that has been the hallmark of a JRHS education for the past 29 years, and now, kicking off year 30, we have extreme confidence that the Teachers can once again, run the Mission Process. So, here it is: Jesse Remington is a Christian Community of Students and Faculty, pursuing Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding, and is committed to raising a generation to be effective leaders for Jesus Christ.
30 years! Wow. I want to let everyone in on a little secret this evening…It took us 29 years, but we have alas learned a few things that we can confidently pass along to our students, that will greatly help them in their JRHS journey. So tonight, Students, you have a GREAT advantage; in the past, scores of students have had to discover “Six Keys to Thriving at JRHS”, but tonight, you get to hear and apply them on opening night! Are you ready?
1. Embrace Work
Our culture is slouching towards an ethos where some work, some don’t, and those who work, pay for life for those who don’t. We see too many instances where adolescence is dragged out into the young adult years. 50 years ago, an 18-year-old was prepped for the work force, marriage, children, war, community and more. Today, we want to fabricate the thought that “growing up” can wait.
Students, we want you to take a BIG step every day to Growing Up, and growing up to what is real, beautiful and truthful – and in that, is an understanding that Work is good. We are designed to work, all to a greater purpose than self. We don’t work to try to attain the “American Dream”, but we work to fulfill the Creation and Cultural Mandates. We work because God made work; we work because God himself worked, and expected all of his Creation to work, all with the purpose of redeeming it all back to him one day. We must remember that God worked 6 and took off one; Adam and Eve worked 6, and the work was joyful. Students, I urge you to avoid the fallacy, the trap, that it is all about you and your future. The work of your education should bring you closer to God, not closer to your next paycheck or personal goal.
2. Fulfill your Calling
This one is fundamentally important. As Trinitarian Christians, we believe that when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and we begin to seek a spirit directed life, as apposed to a self-directed life, we can begin to experience God’s “Calling”. We believe He can and wants to open up doors of opportunity for us, but ultimately for Kingdom Building. We believe He endows us with wonderful gifts and talents, all for building His Kingdom. To experience a calling is nothing more than to intentionally live with this perspective, in anticipation that God has a best plan for us.
Well, what does this have to do with Math homework, or a science lab, or a soccer game, or a chapel message? My answer is – everything! Students, you are entering the last phase of your life when your calling is largely prescribed for you – and what is that? – A Christian Academy Student. For the next 1-4 years, I encourage you to fully live in the calling that is only here for a little while longer. Say a big YES to everything God has for you for this year, and relish the opportunity to fulfill this important, yet youthful calling – A Student. For most people, this is the only time of life you get this badge.
3. Love one Another
Christian Community is a big deal at JRHS; in fact, it is right in the mission spoken a moment ago. You see there are several models available to guide our relationships. Nazi Germany for example, set a model for interpersonal relationships; as did Corrie Ten Boom. Sauron from Lord of the Rings determined a community; as did Gandalf. There are inner city ethic groups today flying a banner of what they call community that hearkens back to darker times of segregation, separation and arrogance. Students, we need you to know about the cultural world view of community, but we want to fully sell you on the highest form of human relationships - Christian Community. Ours is marked by love for one another, where we learn to think more highly of other than self; acceptance of trivial differences, never moral deviances; accountability for our actions and statements; forgiveness and longsuffering for and with one another. Some of you are going to read this year the manifesto of Christian Community – Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together.
4. Get new Glasses
A worldview – or a world and life view – as some call it, is the structure of understanding we use to make sense of the world. Our worldview is what we presuppose, it is our way of looking at life, our interpretation of everything. It is how we come up with our definition of what is real, what is truthful, and what is beautiful. Now, here’s the bedrock: everyone has a worldview, and something formed that view. At JRHS, we are very clear on the informant we have in the toolbox that we want to actively engage to form your worldview. We want to partner with your parents to offer you a robust Biblical Worldview.
Our friend CS Lewis offered a helpful analogy: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen today; not only because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything else”.
Students, we will incline you to begin to see everything through the four key words, which are actually huge concepts. Some of you who have sat in a year or two of Bible class with Mr. Hannan know these four key words – the bases of God’s Diamond: Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration. Or, perhaps more familiar, Ought/Is/Can/Will. We learn to see things this way:
The situation with gender and sexuality ought to be different;
But right now, it is not good;
I know it can be better;
And I believe it one day will be better;
And I am going to be an agent for God drawing all things back to Him for the triumphant conclusion of human history as we know it.
5. Live intergenerationally
Did you know that the whole idea of youth culture, and adolescence is a rather new construct, comparatively? It comes from the late Victorian era, when farm communities became industrial communities. Then, the modern school has rather cemented the concept by all the separation we do by ages and grades. We would do well to hearken back to a former time, where multiple generations of people lived, worked and learned together. In fact, we even have a One Room Schoolhouse on our campus. Students, this means we encourage you to have those few close friends, but learn to reach across the cultural standards of age, race, ethnicity and gender, and grow everyday in your ability to know and love all kinds of people. You will be the winner when you learn to do this.
6. Learn and Practice Stewardship
Stewardship is a great JRHS word. At one level, it is, yep, “Cleaning Duties.” But that is only the starting point. We want you to eventually become a “Steward”. Let’s first understand it from its medieval expression -the one who cared for the king, and the king’s affairs. None of it was his, but yet, he was responsible for it all. Biblically, we can think of Joseph, caring for the wealth of Egypt and his King. But if we go back to the beginning, we are reminded of God’s command to Adam and Eve, that they were to rule and subdue and care for everything in the Garden, merely a metaphor for God’s world. We want you to start on the first floor, to learn stewardship of yourself, and your belongings; then of our campus; then of your relationships; then your time; then your talents; then your money. And, when you fully understand stewardship, you realize, that it all belongs to God, and we are merely tenants on the grand game board of life, asked by the Creator of it all to care for it, and invest it all towards His purpose. One day, you will be given the opportunity to rule and care for and subdue your corner of Creation, and your JRHS education will prepare you for that.
Love One Another
Fulfill Your calling
Get new glasses
Learn and Practice Stewardship
Six things we have learned in 30 years of working and fulfilling the Mission of JRHS. So, about that. 30 Years eh! In my family, and perhaps some of yours, and I have experienced this in many cultures of the world…Singing Happy Birthday! Yessireee, we are going to make Pastor Remington proud, as we sing a happy 30th birthday to the NH’s Distinctive Christian Academy – JRHS.