About Lux Debate Club
Lux Debate Club exists for three purposes:
- to glorify God and enjoy his blessing;
- to educate and train middle school and high school Christian home school students in the principles and techniques of critical thinking, logical argumentation, debate, public speaking, research and teamwork, as well as important academic topics, such as government policy and current events;
- to pursue and achieve excellence in performance and competition.
Our First Purpose and Reason for Existing: To Glorify God and Enjoy His Blessing
The first and foremost goal of Lux Debate Club, and our most important reason for existing, is to glorify God and enjoy his blessing. In this pursuing this goal, we take our cue from the first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
What is the chief end of man?
Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Glorifying God, and enjoying his blessing, does not happen in a vacuum. It doesn't happen accidentally. We must be intentional and thoughtful about it. In the context of debate, we believe glorifying God and enjoying his blessing especially entails a thoughtful focus on integrity, excellence and kindness.
In middle school and high school home school debate, many of the judges are not experienced debaters themselves. They tend to be parents of home school students participating and/or members of the community - often friends of the families involved. And most of them have not studied the debate topics and do not have in-depth personal knowledge of many of the topics. Thus, it's relatively easy for experienced debaters, especially "smooth talkers," to trick judges by misrepresenting evidence and communicating half-truths or outright falsehoods. The temptation to cut corners with integrity is especially powerful in debate, in circumstances in which students must think and react quickly and when the difference between winning and losing is oh so close and invitiations to NITOC are on the line. Take into account that fact that championship performance in high school debat can win acceptance to, and even lucrative scholarships for, America's top universities, and the temptation to play fast and loose with the truth - or at least cut corners with integrity - becomes very powerful, yet insidious.
Standing tall and looming large over this temptation, however, are Jesus's words, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?" And what shall it profit a high school student if he wins NITOC and garnishes a full ride scholarship to an Ivy Leage school, but loses sacrifices integrity? Some things are more important than winning. Living with integrity is one of those things. In Colossians 3:9, the Apostle Paul exhorts us, "Do not lie to one another." We believe this is a moral mandate that all Christian home school debaters should vigilently strive to obey at all times.
Dishonesty in debate can occur in various ways, such as: (i) misrepresenting evidence by taking a quote or statistic or data point out of context to distort its meaning; (ii) misquoting evidence; (iii) stating an outright falsehood; (iv) allowing an error in fact to stand without correcting it; or (v) hiding or withholding evidence in order to keep the judge or a debate opponent in the dark about an important issue in the debate round. Tricks like these may help debaters win debate rounds, but they will cause the debaters that delpoy such tricks to lose their integrity. It's not worth it. But because of the pressure to win, the temptation to cut corners with integrity are powerful and insidious. Therefore, Christian home school debaters should be ever vigilent to guard their hearts and minds against these temptations. We heartily concur with the following admonition from the Stoa "Evidence Philosophy and Standards" document: "As a Christian organization, we need regular and ongoing efforts to direct all of our participants (coaches, parents, students, and judges) toward a distinctively Christian vision of our activities. We all need to study, consider, and discuss both the principles and the application of how we engage in forensic activities. To these goals, we must be devoted and purposeful. We must have both formal and informal education of students, parents, coaches, and as much as possible, judges." Amen. (This quote is from the first paragraph of Section III of the Stoa Evidence Philosophy and Standards document on the Stoa web site.)
We also believe that an attitude of glorifying God entails pursuing excellence in all we do. In a debate and speech competition, we believe this means putting in the hours of requisite study to do our homework and be prepared. As a fundamental precept of integrity, we don't want to fake it in a debate round - that's dishonest. But we also don't want to be shown to be unprepared. We want to be thoroughly knowledgeable of the topics of debate and discusion. That requires the hard work and discipline of preparation - there is no way around it.
Christians should be leaders in society - leaders in government, leaders in business, leaders in academics, leaders in media, leaders in banking, leaders in communities. And we should lead with excellence - diligence, due care, professionalism. Our goal is that Lux Debate Club be a training ground in excellence for future Christian leaders - leaders of our state, nation and world.
"Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31)
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." (Ecclesiasties 9:10)
"Render service (or, work hard) with a good will as to the Lord and not to man." (Ephesians 6:7)
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if anyhthing is worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)
Debate is competitive. It's not for the weak of mind or faint of heart. A debate round between strong competitors can feel like mental "hand-to-hand" combat. Under such stress and duress, it's easy for emotions to get out of control and for frustration, irritation and even anger to take control and cause competitors to act in ways that are not becoming - especially not becoming of Christians. Christian home school debaters should be constantly on their guard againts such negative emotions and strive to keep themselves composed and controlled and display an attitude of compassion, graciousness, gentleness and kindness at all times.
"Christ ... suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceipt found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to rigtheousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were strying like sheep, but have not returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (I Peter 2:21-25)
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" (Luke 23:34)
"The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." (II Timothy 2:24-26)
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" (I Peter 5:5)
Our Second Purpose and Reason for Existing: To Educate & Train Christian Home School Students
The second most important goal of Lux Debate Club is to educate and train middle school and high school Christian home school students in the principles and techniques of critical thinking, logical argumentation, debate, public speaking, research and teamwork, as well as important academic topics, such as government policy and current events.
The purpose of Lux Debate Club is not to get "check marks," obtain trophies, win tournaments and win NITOC. It's really not. It is imperative to keep the big picure in mind.
Martin Luther said, "The devil is God's devil," meaning that God is control of the devil - not the other way around. And we say that California is God's state, the United States of America is God's country, and Planet Earth is God's world. God is in control. God's will will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. God's kingdom will grow, and like the mountain of Daniel's vision, it fill the whole earth. Our desire is to be God's servants, to be his stewards, to help advance his kingdom in this world. Our vision is to train Christian students to become change agents in this world for the LORD, to have a redeeming influence on our culture, and to take back California and the United States and the world for Christ and his kingdom.
Our Third Purpose and Reason for Existing: To Pursue & Achieve Competitive Excellence
The third goal of Lux Debate Club is to pursue and achieve competitive excellence. But it's not about winning - it really isn't. It's about the process. It's about the discpline. It's about the character development.
Winning is nothing. Trophies are trinkets. They have literally no intrinsic value and their only representative value is a sign of achievement. But winning is not the achievement on which we are focused. Instead, we are focused on the puruit and achievement of excellence in all we do. Thus, we are right back at goal number one: to glorify God and enjoy his blessing.
Eric Liddell is a modern-day Christian hero. He was a Scottish gold medalist runner in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. At the Olympic games, Liddell refused to compete in his best event, the 100-meter sprint, because the qualifying rounds were held on the Lord's Day. Liddell, as was his custom, attended corporate worship in church, instead. (Eric Liddell knew the meaning of "never on Sunday" decades before Chick-fil-A was founded.) Instead, Liddell competed in the 400-meter sprint, which was not his best event, and unexpectedly won the gold medal in that event. (Eric Liddell is the subject of the Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots of Fire.) Liddell is famous for, among other things, this quote: "I believe God made me for a purpose. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure." This is a beautiful quote, and it captures the desire we have for our students to feel God's pleasure as they follow a disciplined process of diligent work and study and the pursuit of excellence, with integrity and humility and kindness.
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling theword o f truth." (II Timothy 2:15)
Of course, when excellence is achieved, trophies and championships will come. But those trinkets are not what's important - they're more of a distraction than anything else. The process is what is important. The preparation for a life of serving the King of kings is what is important.
Membership Information - Our Organization & How to Join
Lux Debate Club is located in Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay area.
We are part of the Stoa national Christian home school organization, and we compete in their tournaments. Membership is open to Christian home school students, ages 12-18, as of October 1 of the relevant debate season (corresponding to the academic year). If you are a Christian home school family in Silicon Valley, or anyhwere in the San Francisco Bay area, we'd love to talk with you!
To join Lux Debate Club, families must first join Stoa. (It's easy to join!) The eligibility requirements for joining Stoa are on their web site under Stoa Membership Registration and repeated below for your convenience.
Stoa is organized to serve the privately educated, Christian homeschool community. Stoa recognizes and accepts that homeschooling families use a wide variety of homeschooling strategies and supports the parental right to direct the education of their children.
Eligibility for Stoa and the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC):
It is expected that a student registering for a tournament is able to compete the entire tournament season. Competitors joining Stoa shall meet the following criteria:
Competitors shall be ages 12 to 18 on Octobert 1st of the current season.
2. STATEMENT OF FAITH
The parent member(s) must agree with the Statement of Faith.
- There is one God eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:16, Matthew 28:19, John 10:30, 2 Corinthians 13:14)
- Man is sinful and therefore separated from God, who is holy and perfect.
(Isaiah 53:5-9, Romans 3:23, I Peter 1:15-16)
- Jesus Christ paid the eternal penalties for our sin through His death on the cross
(Luke 24:46, I Peter 2:21)
- Jesus Christ also resurrected bodily and ascended into heaven and will return one day to fulfill His kingdom. (Matthew 28:6, Revelation 19:11)
- Only through Jesus Christ and the grace of His provision of salvation, may we be saved from eternal punishment, enter into God’s family and receive eternal life.
(Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:11, I John 1:9)
- The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible and authoritative Word of God and the truth for Christian faith and practice.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, John 17:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Psalm 19:7-11, John 6:67-69)
3. HOME EDUCATED
If the following statements can be affirmed with a yes, the student shall be deemed privately home educated for Stoa purposes:
1) Parent or legal guardian(s) direct the educational choices for the student, including the use of dual credit, online/ offline courses, cooperative courses, private tutored courses, and other parent directed methods that support the student’s educational plan; and
2) Parent is the authority to award the Stoa competitor junior high or high school credits and grades; and
3) Under the laws of your state, if your state defines home schooling, the student is classified as legally “homeschooled”; and
4) Student is not enrolled full-time in a public charter school or public school independent study program.
Level of Education:
Stoa student is classified as actively homeschooling as a junior high or high school student, and
1) not previously graduated,
2) nor in a full-time college-level degree program.
The cost to join Stoa is minimal - only $75 per family.
Additionally, Lux Debate Club charges a fee of $200 per family per academic year. This fee can be split up into two payments of $100 in September and $100 in January, if desired. Also, full scholarships / fee waivers are available to families with financial need. (If this is your situation, please don't be shy - let us know, and we'll be happy accomodate you and do is in a discreet, private way that respects your privacy and dignitiy. We're here to serve the LORD - don't let money get in the way!)
The biggest cost of involvement with Stoa is travel costs (gasoline or airfare and hotel costs) for out-of-town tournaments. But attendance at these is strictly voluntary, and host tournaments typically have families that offer "host housing" to out-of-town guests.
Also, students are generally expected to wear professional business attire at tournaments (for example, for young men, this means a suit and tie).
Don't let money be a hindrance! We're in this to serve and glorify God. There are many people in the Stoa community who are willing and eager to help members with financial need.
If you are interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 408 203 7981. We look forward to hearing from you!