By Bob VanderPlaats, CEO, Family Leader
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Summary Notes of Dr. Bob Stouffer, Superintendent, Des Moines Christian
Secondary Principal John Steddom introduced Mr. VanderPlaats as someone who could have an excellent perspective on the Christian's role in politics.
Mr. Steddom prayed to open the chapel
Mr. Steddom led the students in the singing of "Happy Birthday!" to Mr. VanderPlaats, since his birthday is on Thursday, April 12!
Mr. Steddom welcomed Mr. VanderPlaats as speaker, and the students welcomed him with their applause.
Of all of the singing I have heard, that is the most recent. [Don't let this joke pass you by.]
I share my birthday with David Cassidy! My wife shares her birthday with Michael Jordan.
The theme is Christians being involved in politics.
I've run for Governor. I've run for Lt. Governor. I led Mike Huckabee's Presidential campaign for Iowa. I worked for Rick Santorum in this year's campaign.
I've been very involved in politics.
When I was sitting where you were sitting at Western Christian High School in Hull, Iowa, I had no interest in politics. I loved basketball and Darla, but not politics.
Anytime, I get the opportunity to speak in a school, I do it. I love school. I love everything school has to offer: friendships, to be invested in athletics, and kindergarten!
At Sheldon Elementary School, we had kindergarten graduation. We had kindergarten graduation practice, so we would not embarrass our parents. The teacher did what she always did to me. She put me front-and-center of my 29 classmates to keep an eye on me. There was a lull in the practice. I was looking around. I looked to my left. There was a little girl with long dark hair. Her skin was tanned to a golden brown. She had big brown eyes. She was cute! She looked at me, and thought I was kind of a geek! Over the years, she got cuter, and I got geekier. But this summer she and I will celebrate 29 years of marriage this summer!
[Applause from the audience]
I became a teacher. I became a basketball coach. I became a high school principal. So I love everything about schools.
In the early-1990s, the Iowa High School Athletic Association honored me by asking me to host Russian basketball players and teach them everything I knew about basketball and America. These young men spoke the Russian language. I had no idea what they were saying. We took them to Bonanza. They saw all of the fixings and the abundance of food in this country. They couldn't believe what we had to eat. We drove back to our home in Jefferson. We welcomed them into our home.
I taught them everything I knew about basketball. After those three minutes were up, I taught them about the American life. I talked to them about American education and the right for parents to educate their children. I exposed them to our field of education. We brought them to our farm, where we raise the world's food. We talked about banks developing our communities. We talked about freedom of religion in our churches. freedom of speech.
After one of the basketball practices, Alexia wanted to drive our pick-up. He loved the tilt steering wheel. We'd drive, and he'd slam on the brakes. He straddled the center line of the highway. I said, "Vroom!" He vroomed. We had so much fun.
A blizzard cancelled our Tuesday night basketball game. The snow reminded them of Siberia. Darla made a great American meal. It was wonderful. It was our last night together. I cut to the chase: "Isn't what you want in Russia what we have in America? Don't you want our freedoms? Isn't that what you want?" I'll never forget what he said back to me. The translator said, "America is the greatest system on earth, but America will go to hell."
I bleed red-white-and blue. I couldn't leave that comment. "Why, in your opinion, will America go to hell?" Through his interpreter, Alexia said, "American will go to hell because of your youth. Your youth have no respect. They don't respect their country, and they don't respect their leaders. They don't respect their schools, and they don't respect their teachers. They don't respect their homes, and they don't respect their parents. And, worst of all, they don't respect themselves. How do you build a country with no respect?!"
One summer, I coached with Bobby Knight at one of his academies in Indiana. Coach Knight sat across from me one lunch time. I asked how kids had changed since he had started coaching. He said, "Bob, kids have not changed. They come into the world the same way we come into the world - with the same needs. But let me tell you this: The adults in the children's lives have changed dramatically. When the adults change, the kids are going to change. The standards, the teachings, the principles, the pillars have been moved. When you move those pillars, things are going to change."
The net result of what Bobby Knight and Alexia have said is that we have a generation which is being more influenced by the culture than by parents and churches. They can't distinguish right from wrong, art from pornography, love from lust, knowledge from ignorance.
You students won't remember Ted Koppel. The staff members will. ABC News. "Nightline." We tuned in late at night to this far left journalist. I am skeptical of the media. Just because it's in the Des Moines Register doesn't makes it true. Ted Koppel's 1987 commencement address at Duke University was entitled, "The Ten Commandments Are Not the Ten Suggestions." It's a powerful speech. You can find it online. The Commandments are meant for your good, not your harm, he said. One of Ted Koppel's daughters was graduating from Duke that year. He was teaching her and the others that we can no more violate the Ten Commandments than violate the principle of gravity when jumping away from the roof of Des Moines Christian School.
Deuteronomy 6 tells us to teach, teach, and teach our children. That's why your parents are sending you to Des Moines Christian, so you can take a stand against the culture. When you stand against the culture, you are going to be involved with politics. Look what Jesus did when He testified for the truth. When you testify for truth, there are opposing views, and you will see sides filled with deception and lies. Christ said to testify to the truth. Christ also said He came to engage the culture. I take a strong stand for marriage in our state. I get pressed by a lot of people. The Pharisees were pushing Jesus on marriage. Jesus told them that God created them male and female; what God joins together, no one should separate. Christ constantly engaged the culture.
A lesbian woman told me today that she wishes I would come around to her way of thinking about homosexuality. I told her I was not against gay people. I told her I am standing for the bonds of marriage in God's design for sexuality and marriage. Whatever the Scriptures teach, that's where I'm going to land. She believes Scripture is "conflicting." I asked her to call my office to schedule a time to discuss the issues. Christ engaged the culture. Christ engaged the Samaritan woman at the well. Christ engaged the woman caught in adultery [and those who trapped her into that act]. Christ always engaged in His Father's business. A question I always get is "What do you do?" I answer, "I am about my Father's business."
God has three institutions.
His first institution is the family. This is where Mom and Dad stand in the place of God to teach His precepts. We need to pass on the precepts of God. Why aren't you asking your Mom and Dad why we're willing to pass the national debt onto you?! You are not living for yourself. You're living for a future.
God also instituted the church. I speak to congregations. We do not need the churches to be political. DMC shouldn't be political. Churches and the school need need to be BIBLICAL, and then the ripple effect is dynamic. Too many churches are walking away from the truth of God, because the truth is too controversial.
Finally, God instituted government. Christians and churches removing their voices from the institution government is spiritual negligence. Government represents the soul of a culture. If you tell people in a society they can kill children, they will kill children. If you tell people they can marry trees on Arbor Day, they will marry trees on Arbor Day.
Practice righteousness and extinguish evil. It's basically that simple.
I endorsed Rick Santorum as a Presidential candidate. He dropped out yesterday. Rick said if law does not line up with God's law, it is no law at all.
Read Ezekiel 33, which is very clear with the message: If you see someone going down the wrong path, against God's heart and in a sinful way, you will be held accountable if you don't say anything. That is a very high standard -- a very high bar.
Three institutions -- family, church and government -- working together with synergy -- when not -- we've got issues on all three fronts right now. We need to get back to foundational principles.
My Dad was in World War II. He didn't like to talk about the war. He never talked about the war. They call the World War II generation the "greatest" generation. They put the cause above themselves. My Dad graduated from high school at age 74, from Sheldon High School, where I was principal. We attended the graduation ceremony. The gym was packed. Pictures were being snapped during the graduation march. The march stopped. Then, it began again. There came my Dad and 11 of his WWII peers. Full cap and gowns with tassels. A full and thunderous applause greeted them. At the end, the Principal presented the graduates of the class to another thunderous ovation.
At the party afterward, I told my Dad I was proud of him. I asked him about his training and battles in the war. I asked him to commit to a no-holds-barred interview with me about the war. He made that commitment. For the next two years, he was the busiest retired guy you've ever seen. The video cameras were running. He was emotional. I was emotional. It was gut-wrenching. I asked him to look into the camera. I asked him to address young people about what is most important in life. He answered, "Love this country. Defend this country. Use war as a last resort, because those who have seen war don't want war. Go to your knees in prayer to ask God to bless this country. Stand for what is right."
Young men and women, we live in a great country. We're at an Isaiah 6 moment. Whom will God send? I hope you are willing to say, "Send me."
[The audience applauded generously.]
[Mr. Steddom prayed to close the chapel.]