“Fathers, bring your children up in the paideia of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The Greek word paideia has undergone a renaissance over the last 30 years or so, thanks to the classical Christian education movement. Many Christian families are at least familiar with the concept. Paideia is the all-encompassing enculturation and formation of a child into a citizen. Christian paideia, then, is all-encompassing Christian discipleship.

Paideia is how a people passes on its customs, culture, and religion to the next generation. Paideia instructs the mind and shapes the heart. It includes both formal instruction (like in schools) as well as informal, daily, as-you-go instruction. As Deuteronomy 6 instructs us, “You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

In this sense, paideia is immersive and environmental. True paideia involves embedding reminders of our culture, values, and beliefs everywhere. This is why God commands Israel to put up stones of remembrance; they were to be signs of God’s mighty deeds so that “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD” (Joshua 4:6-7). In other words, the symbols were designed to provoke questions which would be answered by the stories of God’s people, stories that would shape their sense of who they are, where they’ve come from, and where they’re going.

Ideally, we would be offering Christian paideia in a Christian civilization, one whose symbols, rhythms, and customs all point to God’s mighty works. But we live in the ruins of such a Christian civilization, and thus our task is to repair the ruins.

And we don’t do this repairing work in a vacuum. We do it amid a counter-paideia, the paideia of the world. And the worldly paideia demonstrates just how all-encompassing discipleship must be.

Which brings me to Pride Month and rainbow paideia. The month of June is designed to catechize our citizens, and especially our children, into the sexual revolution. The omnipresence of the rainbow in our society is designed to provoke the question, “Mommy, what does the rainbow mean?” And the priests and priestesses of the rainbow want us to answer with the story of sexual liberation and inclusion and equality. “From Seneca Falls to Stonewall.”

The people of God have frequently found themselves handing down the faith amid an ungodly and wicked culture with its own paideia.

That basic symbol provides endless opportunities to disciple. Almost every business and corporation is involved in the rainbow paideia. “You shall talk of it when you sit down to watch a show, and when you rise up to go to Target, and when you drive down Main Street. You shall wear them as bracelets on your arm and bumper stickers on your car. You shall fly them as flags on your house and signs in your business window.”

And the music and entertainment business is ready to supply the stories that answer the question, “What does the rainbow mean?” Disney knows that it’s in the paideia business. The endless stream of gender ideology in children’s media is evidence of the Total State’s commitment to rainbow paideia.

Yes, ideally Christian paideia would be conducted in a culture shaped by Biblical Christianity. But we mustn’t overstate the challenge. The people of God have frequently found themselves handing down the faith amid an ungodly and wicked culture with its own paideia. Again Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that our paideia is often practiced in the face of alternatives. “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth” (6:14-15). Whether it’s the Hebrews in Canaan, the Jews in Babylon, or the Christians in Corinth, our fathers have often found themselves amid a crooked and depraved generation with the call to shine like stars in the cosmos, both for the sake of our own children and for the world around us.

So while we can and should lament the ruins of Christian civilization, we should mainly roll up our sleeves and get to work. At present, this means flipping the script on the rainbow paideia. When your 7-year-old asks this month, “Mommy, what does the rainbow mean?,” be ready with something like, “Well, honey, remember the story of Noah? The rainbow is God’s promise to never flood the earth again and a reminder of God’s covenant with His people. But some wicked people who hate God and His word are trying to steal the rainbow and have turned it into a symbol of pride and sin. So every time you see the rainbow, you should do two things: thank God for His mercy, and pray for the sinners to repent and turn to Jesus.”

The only answer to the rainbow paideia is the paideia of the Lord. So let’s build and fight.