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Gloucester County Humanists Message Board › The 4 to 14 Year-Old Window: Turning Children Into Evangelists in Public Schools

The 4 to 14 Year-Old Window: Turning Children Into Evangelists in Public Schools

Bill R.
Glassboro, NJ
Post #: 267

The 4 to 14 Year-Old Window: Turning Children Into Evangelists in Public Schools
Monday 13 February 2012

by: Katherine Stewart, Truthout | Book Excerpt

When an after-school “Bible study” program called the Good News Club showed up at the Santa Barbara public school where journalist Katherine Stewart sent her children, she decided to take a closer look at its sponsoring organization, the Child Evangelism Fellowship, and other groups like it. Stewart was surprised to learn that there is more religion in public education today than there has been in the past 100 years. Her book, "The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children" (PublicAffairs), explores the wide range of initiatives to infiltrate public education while simultaneously undermining support for it. In the following excerpt, she investigates the source of the religious right’s new focus on children and schools.

"The Good News Club" can be purchased here, through Amazon. [4]
The video is a panel discussion with author Katherine Stewart, hosted by Mark Crispin Miller, held at the McNally Jackson bookstore earlier this month.
Thy Neighbor’s Children: The 4/14 Window
by Katherine Stewart

Excerpted from "The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children"
PublicAffairs, 2012

The Religious Right is not a single organization, and yet it is surprisingly well organized in a certain way. It is a “grassroots movement” by definition, not answering in any formal way to a command-and-control hierarchy. And yet the grass often seems to grow in surprisingly tidy rows. The coherence of the movement, such as it is, rests on a set of ideas, and an avalanche of resources pours down upon whoever happens to share those ideas. If there is anyone in charge, it is the big-picture strategists who, through a number of well-coordinated events and organizations, are able to mobilize the movement around a few simple messages.

Luis Bush is one such thinker. A missionary strategist who trained in Intercultural Studies at the Fuller School of World Mission in Pasadena, California, Bush built the first half of his career around the concept of the “10/40 Window.” His thesis then was that Christian missionaries needed to target their efforts on the area of the globe between ten degrees and forty degrees north latitude. Subsequently, missionaries were dispatched to swaths of North Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East in order to convert “unreached people groups” in the designated latitudes.

Then at a Transform World Connections conference in September 2009, a gathering of high-level mission strategists, Bush announced a new unifying vision for missionaries around the globe. He called it the “4/14 Window.” The largest and most strategic group of people in the world, he said, are children between the ages of four and fourteen. Kids are the key to the “Great Commission,” or the theological tenet, popular in the evangelical world, that there is a mandate to convert all of humanity to evangelical Christianity.

Bush’s argument was simple and blindingly effective. He pointed out that 85 percent of conversion experiences occur to people between the ages of four and fourteen. He also said that when you get them young, you have a better chance of keeping them for life. “It is imperative that we see children and young people as a strategic force that can transform a generation and change the world,” he wrote. “Our vision and hope is to maximize their transformational impact while they are young, and to mobilize them for continuing impact for the rest of their lives.”

Bush’s ideas lit up the skies of the missionary community like a bright flare in the night, illuminating the path for evangelicals worldwide and missionaries in particular. “Political movements (like Nazism and Communism) trained legions of children with the goal of carrying their agenda beyond the lifetimes of their founders….Even the Taliban places great emphasis on recruiting children,” wrote Dr. Wes Stafford, president of Compassion International, one of the largest worldwide missionary groups, in an introduction to Bush’s 2009 book, The 4–14 Window: Raising Up a New Generation to Transform the World. “May God inspire you to join us in His battle for the little ones!”

Bush also provided the theoretical rationale for the charge on public schools. In a nutshell: it’s a matter of taking the battle to the enemy.

“While universal primary and secondary education may be considered a worthy goal, its ultimate effect can sometimes be negative,” wrote Bush. “Unless the teachers and administrators are Christ followers, the world view that is taught will not transform the minds of the 4/14ers.” Bush continued, “Secular education does not enlighten, rather it dims one’s grasp of the ‘real reality’ rooted in the truth of scripture.”
In order to get the message to the American heartland, the “ideas people” need to come down to earth. One very important vehicle is the conference circuit, a combination of face-to-face meetings, seminar-style discussions, book sales, and missionary “festivals.” All serve to help put the missionary world on the same page.

For full article follow link above, top.
Janice R.
Clayton, NJ
Post #: 348
Author Katherine Stewart is coming to speak in Philadelphia on Thursday March 29th at the Delaware Valley Americans United Chapter's meeting.

­DVAU/Philly: Katherine Stewart, author, "The Good News Club"

­"THE GOOD NEWS CLUB: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children" by Katherine Stewart

Katherine Stewart will be on a national tour beginning January 24, 2012, to discuss her new book about the Christian Right’s stealth activity directed at America’s children. She will present her findings to the Delaware Valley Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State at our regular bimonthly program meeting, to be held on Thursday, March 29, at 7pm in the Skyline Room on the 4th floor of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch, 19th & Vine Streets, Philadelphia PA.
DVAU would love to bring Katherine back for a talk in South Jersey, her travel costs must be covered (approx $200), and someone would have to transport her to and from 30th Street Station. Maybe DVAU and GCH can co-host a talk, and split the expenses. I would have to run this by the DVAU Board.
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