Yesterday morning was an event called “See You at the Pole” (SYATP). Thousands of Christian kids around the country gathered around the flagpoles at their schools to pray… or… to take a stand… it really depends on the group.
Sorry, I just can’t get behind it.
I didn’t even mention the event in our EZINE or in my blogging the past few weeks. I’ve received emails asking me about the event and asking me to publicize it. I haven’t.
Why? Am I a SYATP hater?
I’ve never really verbalized my feelings about the event. My mom taught me… if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. So for the last couple years I just kept silent. But people are beginning to ask questions. I even was forwarded this blog –SYATP is Stupid! – written from a guy who really doesn’t like the event.
Is this guy a hater?
I hate to admit it… (and I wouldn’t probably title my article like this guy’s), but I can’t disagree with this guy.
Here’s what I have noticed year after year at SYATP. Adults tell Christian kids to go stand at the flagpole and pray for their school. “It’s their right!” The event is “adult driven.”
Now fast forward to the actual Wednesday morning where a kid is standing next to the pole… struggling with one overwhelming thought. “What is everyone thinking of me right now?” Is that what we’re trying to accomplish?
A practice that is supposed to be our communication with God has just turned into a giant struggle with pride. Temptation while standing at the pole is, “Look at me!” not, “Look at God!”
The question I have is simple. Where is the Biblical basis for this event? Because if we look at what the Bible says about prayer, I only find passages talking about how we should NOT pray to be seen by others. Jesus himself said that we should go and close the door to pray.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that anyone who has done SYATP has bad motives. A ton of us have tried SYATP with good motives. I’ve tried it for years. I’ve made videos, spoken at rallies, and encouraged my kids to attend. I think my motives were good. I think many of my kids motives were good. But after observing it for years, I’ve taken a step back and tried to take an honest look at the results. I encourage you to do the same. What did this event accomplish? Did it help my kids learn to pray? Was it helping them be an effective witness for Him? More importantly… ask yourself a bigger question. Why are we encouraging our kids to go do this public display of prayer when the Bible not only doesn’t support it, it seems to speak against it?
What the heck is SYATP? It’s more like SOKUF. Set Our Kids Up for Failure.
A couple years ago my friend KJ went to a local campus to watch it all go down. A handful of Christian students gathered around the flagpole staring at the ground. One of the kid’s friends came up and looked at the ground to see what his friend was staring at. Finally, confused he spoke up. “What are you doing man?”
The Christian kid looked up and said, “Are you a Christian?”
The friend said, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
The Christian said, “Then get out of here!”
I’ve written articles about SYATP before, trying to not stop the moving train, but maybe guide it to safer tracks. But I’m tired of trying to put icing on the turd. I’m just not pumping it anymore. SYATP breeds a mentality of “us” vs. “them.” It’s not in the literature, but it reeks of, We Christians need to stand up for what we believe… amongst these dirty pagans! Nice. That attitude will bring a ton of people to Christ! (sarcasm intended).
Sorry guys, but I just don’t think Jesus was in the Bible Club at his high school. I think he was in metal shop.
Jesus went away to pray a ton… I just don’t remember it being in front of everyone.
Am I wrong?