About this time every year, the St. Paul Public Schools sends the results of standardized tests that Paul takes.
In previous years, the rather sterile letter would eventually get around to the results. Paul has never even come close to ‘passing’ the alternative tests that they administer to children in special education.
I guess this year they decided they would make sure I understood what these results meant:
I’m all for clarity, and I suppose there are parents who aren’t paying attention and need a precise, bold statement about how their child is performing.
But for children like Paul, and I know quite a few, the educational standards are simply ridiculous. He doesn’t have the ability. You can adjust the test all you like; he can’t read in any format.
And that really wouldn’t be a huge deal if there weren’t people, smart people, making the argument that some children already born can be killed. Pain and suffering is usually the standard that is articulated, but it doesn’t take long for other categories to come into focus: those who have severe cognitive disabilities; those who won’t live ‘productive’ lives; those who, because of their dependence on others, limit the options of people who desire to be independent.
So, children, young people, adults and the elderly who are like Paul are at risk of not meeting some arbitrary standard imposed by people who are stronger than they are. Ironically, all will eventually be weaker than someone else, and then they will live at risk of the standard that stronger person will impose on them.
No, it is better to see that we are all dependent on someone much greater than we are, but one who rules perfectly and who provided at great cost to himself the very means to rescue us from the perfect standard we cannot meet. And because of him, we can love – and protect – our most vulnerable members.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:1-8 ESV)