Chuck Colson

Without adult intervention, peer pressure, affluence, and the need to “fit in” almost invariably lead to the kinds of excesses that drove Hoagland to cancel the prom. It’s sadly telling that it took a celibate cleric to relieve parents of the pressure imposed on them by kids’ ever-escalating demands. 

The other lesson is about the place of money in a Christian worldview. To hear some of our critics, our worldview is only about sex and Darwinism. According to some Christians, the only thing a Christian worldview has to say about money is “send us yours.”

Hoagland’s actions remind us that both are wrong. Flaunting affluence is injurious to the good life—yours and others’.  A society that pursues vanity for its own sake cannot be called good, even if it abstains from “sex, booze, and drugs.”

So, three cheers for a courageous principal who in saying, “Enough already!” reminds us that what matters is not what we have but, rather, the way we live. 

For further reading and information:

The Good Life: Finding Meaning, Purpose, and Truth in Your Life by Charles Colson with Harold Fickett.

Frank Eltman, “L.I. Principal Cancels ‘Bacchanalian’ Prom,” Boston Globe, 15 October 2005.

Read the text of the March and September prom letters from Principal Hoagland. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required.)

Barry Gadbois, “Parenting, manners and personal responsibility,” Desert Dispatch, 21 October 2005.

John Ehinger, “Rejecting decadence,” Huntsville Times, 18 October 2005.

Susan Konig, “Disco, Dates and Donuts,” CBS News, 30 October 2005.

BreakPoint Commentary No. 031118, “Bankrupt at Age Twenty-Five: Marketing to Teens, Tweens, and Kids.”

BreakPoint Commentary No. 031128, “Image Is Everything: Losing Identity at the Shopping Mall.”

BreakPoint Commentary No. 050225, “Castles in the Air (and Backyard): Perfect Parenting.”

Karen Santorum, Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners (ISI Books, 2003).

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson was the Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon and served time in prison for Watergate-related charges. In 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, in collaboration with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families.
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