Engaging the Head, the Heart, and the Hands

In his doctoral dissertation entitled Emerging Young Adult Spiritual Formation: A Developmental Approach for an Intergenerational Church, Frederick R. Fay argues that “Creating an environment that supports and involves generations together will help shape [young adults’] faith.” Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network agrees! Our teachers join with parents and the Church at large to help shape the faith of the next generation. Fay also writes, “In order for Christian leaders to facilitate spiritual formation, three things need to occur. A leader has to engage the head, the heart, and the hands.”

This brings to mind the Two Greatest Commandments of our Lord, from Matthew 22:

“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command.  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

It makes sense why engaging the head, the heart, and the hands leads to Christian spiritual formation, for those are the ways of the Christian. And these are the tenets of Christian education.

Fall Conference Recommendation

The CiRCE Institute is hosting Restoring The Likeness, a virtual conference Thursday, October 15, 2020 – 11:00AM to Saturday, October 17, 2020 – 5:30PM. I have attended their conferences in real life, and nothing beats those, but I did attend their Summer virtual conference and found it to be as good as it gets as far as virtual seminars go! I highly recommend this conference for Christian teachers and Christian parents who are interested in Christian thinking about culture and education, or those who enjoy contemplating “the importance of paying attention to the right things (the True, the Good, and the Beautiful).” You do not need to be a teacher to enjoy this conference!

This Fall Virtual Conference is available with a donation of whatever size you feel you can make. You can go here to register and I hope to “see” some GPCSN faces on the zoom screen!

Take a look at the currently confirmed talk titles by Christian thinkers and educators to see if there are any topics that interest you!

• Andrew Kern: On Earth as it is in Heaven
• Matthew Bianco: Becoming Future Kings: How T.H. White and Homer Teach us to Grow
• Heidi White: How Where We Live Makes Us Who We Are
• Dr. Zena Hitz: Images of Learning
• Jessica Hooten Wilson: As Humans
• Dr. Hans Boersma: Learning by Heart? Restoring the Likeness through Memory
• Josh Leland: 10,000 times, and then begins understanding
• Dr. Anika Prather: The Great Books: A Polaris for the African American People
• Dr. Carol Reynolds: The Creation of Art from Chaos to Form
• Joshua Gibbs: The Classical Christian War on Competence
• Martin Cothran: Narrative Wars: The Battle to Determine What Story We’re In

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Here are some important links to help you determine what financial aid is available for your family:

My Family Choice awards income-based scholarships to students across Pennsylvania. Applications are typically due July 1.

The Poise Foundation awards income-based scholarships to students attending a private school in Allegheny County.

The Pittsburgh Foundation awards approximately $2.8 million in scholarships annually to students throughout the United States. Scholarship applications for the 2021-22 academic year will open in mid-November.

Visit our schools to see their financial aid process!
Beaver County Christian School
Cheswick Christian Academy
Greater Works Christian School
Penn Christian Academy
Pittsburgh Urban Christian School
Trinity Christian School

In The News

A new report finds that adults who attended private schools as children are more likely to have successful families than those who attended public schools. While we know we aren’t raising our children to be good husbands or wives, but instead to be faithful disciples of the Lord, it is nice to hear some good news from adults who have gone before our kids! This study did not seek to measure good or bad husbanding or wifing, but successful families suggests the presence of some faithful spouses to me! Check out the report for yourself!

The Gospel Comes With A House Key Book Review

The Gospel Comes with a House KeyThe Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a hard review to write. First, in college I was welcomed by the author into the very type of hospitality she describes in this book. I know that she practices what she preaches, and practices it very well. I was an unchurched Christian and she brought me, and many other college students, to church followed by lunch in her modest apartment with delicious and modest meals. The wisdom, love, and conversation she shared at these lunches were delightful. Many of us would stay the whole day and return with her for evening worship, in the small church’s basement.

Still, after I began this book, I was nervous. At first, I really did worry it was going to be a new law, and I think it was the description of how the Butterfields practice hospitality and the insistence that we must practice “daily” or “nightly” table fellowship. It is embarrassing to say, because it shows how unlike Rosaria I am, but I scoffed at this! You mean to say God requires that every day or night I need to open my home to people and if I don’t, I am sinning? Can that truly be a biblical command that I have been ignoring for my whole Christian life? This made me both nervous and skeptical. Oh no! I can’t even handle all of the things I already feel obligated to try to do well! Should I even finish reading this book? Am I just going to feel guilty? But I know how lovely Rosaria’s Lord’s Days were! How lovely she is! Keep reading! And I was also aware, thankfully, that even if I can’t do it the Butterfield way, I should be involved in hospitality way more than I am now. So I read it with part skepticism (sorry!) and part trepidation–I know I need to do this better. Keep reading!

The weirdest part was that the crazy radical hospitality that she describes is probably my dream life! I would love to see neighbors everyday and be in and out of people’s lives in such a constant way. But reading it when I was wondering if this was a command, scared me still! I don’t live this way and I don’t see that coming any time soon. At the time that I read this book, I had five kids who I was homeschooling. (Now my kids are split between going to Christian school or being homeschooled–which adds new challenges!) I know she homeschools, too, but we are different people with different gifts (she is brilliant, for instance) and have different numbers and ages of children and probably different levels of hands-on-edness required, etc. The fact that I even had to wrestle with these things (and make excuses for myself!) is what made me nervous! Should I be defending myself–to myself–because I don’t see making my house look exactly like hers? Again, the conviction that I was guilty of practicing hospitality less than I should be, regardless if it should be daily or weekly or what, told me to keep reading.

So I did! Finishing the whole book, I do not think that this book is saying that we must look like the Butterfields in order to be living right, because she does share how other people practice hospitality and they don’t all look like hers (chapter eight). Also, she describes a period of time (in chapter seven–my very favorite chapter for its sweetness and evidence of God’s beautiful grace in an otherwise sad story) where she could not practice this daily hospitality. She sorrowfully missed practicing this way, but she doesn’t say she was sinning.

I think my knee-jerk reaction to the earliest chapters were probably me reading the book critically out of a guilty conscience. I know I don’t practice regular or even frequent hospitality. I know that I could do some things differently in order to love my neighbors (which is God’s command for us) better and more frequently or even at all. I don’t know many of my neighbors. I don’t invite all the people from my church, even, to my home regularly. This book really gives a vision for an incredible, and hard, people-filled life–and it shows how this life brings people to the Lord himself! In the end, it has been a great encouragement! I fully recommend it.

As a memoir sharing how living a life of radical hospitality has turned strangers into friends into family members, this book is incredible. Five stars.

View all my reviews

Use Your Income Tax Costs to Help Create Scholarships!

You do not have to have children at our schools in order to help Christian education! If you owe PA income taxes, you could be using that money to give scholarships to kids who cannot afford private education.

The Details:
Citizens who owe state income taxes can designate their Pennsylvania State tax dollars towards our schools’ financial aid programs! You qualify if your individual or combined PA tax liability is $3,500 or more.

The EITC and OSTC tax credits were created by PA legislature to provide tuition assistance in the form of scholarships for income-eligible students.

You can contact any of our schools and they will help you add to their financial aid program.

To see if you may qualify to donate your state tax liability to a Christian school instead, find your PA tax liability on Form PA-40 Line 12 of your most recent tax return. If you owe $3500 or more, you qualify!

Here’s a video explanation!

Fine Arts

purple lavender over note pages
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

My daughter is an artist. Shouldn’t she attend a public school?

A common question we hear is what opportunities are there for the arts? In our schools, there are plenty! While the specifics vary throughout our schools, you might find art classes, band classes, choir classes, music classes, worship teams, or more!
We put on musicals, plays, choir concerts, art shows, and more!

Watch this space for more info about the arts at GPCSN schools!

Sports at Christian Schools?

sky sunset field sunrise

Have you ever thought, “My children want to play soccer and volleyball, so I have to send them to the public school”?

A common myth about Christian education is that we do not have opportunities for athletics. This is untrue!

Most Christian schools have competitive sports! In fact, in the Greater Pittsburgh Region, there’s even a sports league available for Christian Schools, called SWCAC. And some of our schools have sports teams in WPIAL–the same league you’d find in the public schools!

Having smaller schools can actually improve your child’s chances of playing on a team.

And our schools often make it to, and win, playoffs! Or even championships!

There are plenty of good reasons why your local public school might be your best fit, but athletics might not necessarily be one of them!