I was recently in Mount Vernon, Ohio where the news story of John Freshwater is taking place. If you haven’t heard about this story, it is intriguing and worth looking in to. The story made national headlines last week, being mentioned on many major newscasts including Fox News and CNN. Mr. Freshwater is a middle school teacher at Mt. Vernon public middle school, and has been for some time (20+ years). His faith and Christian lifestyle are well known throughout the smaller, midwest community, and the majority of the students and parents appreciate and support him.
However, recently a parent decided that he/she didn’t like that he had verses on his walls and a Bible on his desk. So he/she complained and made the school principal ask Mr. Freshwater to “remove all religious items” from his classroom. Well, he took down the wall stuff, but held his ground on the Bible on his desk.
What is great about this story is all the support he has garnered from the students in the school system. Middle and High school students are wearing supportive shirts, putting together petitions, and generally voicing their displeasure with the school administration over this. I say way to go!
On a personal level, I was very convicted by this story of some pride in my life. I too like Mr. Freshwater have taken a Bible to my place of employment. However, mine has sat in my desk drawer pretty much for the duration of the 2 years I have been working at said job. I used to think what a good and radical person I was for having my Bible in my desk, but I am so wrong. I realize I am more hiding it in the drawer that using it as a tool for my edification and also to share my faith.
Being in Mt. Vernon and hearing the story of John Freshwater touched close to home with me, showing me how short I come to sharing my faith. I know most people around me know of my Christian faith, but I don’t think they know my passion. I can only sit here and sing the great children’s song, “hid it under a bushel, No!” and realize I must not be ashamed of the gospel! (Romans 1:16)