I first heard the term "worldview" when I was in Middle School. Mrs. Jeffes explained it was our understanding of the world that dictated our discernment and actions, stemming from our beliefs and assumptions about the world in which we live.
Essentially, our beliefs determine our morals, our morals determine what we value, and our values distill into our corporate (laws) or individual actions.
Fast forward a decade or so, and I was teaching in a secular school with the opportunity to present worldview to my middle school government class. As I taught worldview, it was the height of teacher-nerd enjoyment to watch as students grappled with a much bigger world around them than they realized. They assessed their actions, finding them rooted deeply in their religion or cultural background.
As we navigated that year, we had the freedom to explore this idea in our study of federal, state, and local government. Yet, understanding worldview is not where it ends. We must be willing to go further into critique, distinguishing what is intellectually honest and effective at causing the flourishing of our community.
In my current Government class we had to discuss Jefferson's assertion of man's natural rights, "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness," and how he rooted them in a divine Creator where the individual was given worth, not a government who could give and take rights. Further, we had to come to the conclusion that perfect liberty does not give way to the perfect promotion of life or one's happiness.
We parodied people who make poor life choices that aren't illegal, but are also not promotions of life or happiness. Consider our American quality of inventing unhealthy foods. Fried Oreos, anyone? USA! USA! Recently, I had a sandwich that consisted of smoked sausage, topped with shredded brisket and onion rings smashed between two buttered hamburger buns. The only healthy ingredient was the sliced yellow peppers mixed in for a little zing. It was the best thing I've had to eat this year. Yes, it is my liberty to indulge in that. It is a free country, after all. And yes, my happiness level has been permanently raised, but I won't have to worry about who will take care of Old Shawn, because I lost a good 2-4 years off my life.
The point is, we cling to our beliefs and assumptions without always viewing them with a discerning eye, especially when the result is something that does not promote our life or another's. As Christians, our long held beliefs and assumptions need to be assessed and critiqued by our Christianity so we can pursue truth and interact in a pluralistic society with grace.
I love that we teach from a Redemptive Worldview. We take the world for what it is, the way God takes the world. It is beautiful and broken, in need of someone who will sacrifice for it and walk with it until it reaches a final place of beauty. We teach students to pursue truth with love, admit failure with grace, cry and be tough when things are hard, and work to make things beautiful because our God did that for us.
This distills into what they see as right and wrong, what they value with their time, talent, and treasure, and how they treat their neighbors and enemies. The educational world is always looking for the next best thing, and often the philosophy circles back to empathy, patience, and perseverance. We have those in spades, because that is what our God has for us.