Christian Love, Homeschool Movement, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Spiritual Bullies

Christian Homeschool Dad Takes on LGBT Former Homeschooler

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It’s not always easy growing up in a Christian fundamentalist homeschool environment.  I have been seeing an increasing number of homeschool graduates “coming out” in more ways than one.  As a Christian homeschooling mom of over 20 years, we didn’t think about our own kids coming out sexually.  That just was not an option that was discussed in our fundamentalist circles.  A lifestyle other than heterosexual was not a consideration.  Well, it’s happening. Some former homeschool kids (HKs) are in fact coming out.  Some are doing it quietly, others are more bold and telling their stories publicly or online.  They are experiencing responses from their Christian fundamentalist parents, some not so positive.

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In light of those negative responses, one former HK has written an article in an effort to help Christians make that difficult connection with their LGBT adult kids: 7 Ways Christian homeschooling parents can support LGBT kids.

The blog author identified as “Theo”  writes:

Some background for consideration: I am a homeschool graduate, now in college. I identify (right now) as queer and [transgender]. I no longer practice my parents’ religion, but I grew up in a conservative-evangelical Christian community. Certain aspects of that culture have not only made it difficult for me to understand and accept myself, but also deeply harmed my relationship with my parents.

I realize that Christian/homeschooling parents may not be eager to take parenting advice from someone like me, someone who turned out very differently than my own parents expected and hoped I would, but…my parents did their best to give me a Christian education. To raise me to serve Jesus. I became who I am anyway, in spite of their efforts to control my future. I hope that parents in this culture can try hard to listen to the stories my peers are bravely sharing, so they can learn healthier ways to love and parent their kids.

As a Christian homeschooling parent, I understand it would be a challenge to read those words. Out of our brood of seven, three are adult children.  We have seen our adult children make mistakes that sometimes make us cringe. This parenting thing is tough.  One adult daughter has spoken publicly about leaving her faith and walking away from her conservative Christian upbringing. Does this bother me?  You bet it does.  It’s difficult to see a child abandon the faith/morals/convictions we as parents tried to instill in our children.  Do her choices make us love her any less?  Of course not.  Is it difficult to maintain a relationship with someone so different from us?  Yes, it can be.

How do we bridge that gap?  In Theo’s article, he speaks directly to parents.  He is attempting to  give us insight into what will draw homeschool kids like him to us.  Don’t we want our children to be able to have a relationship and connect with us?   After our children become adults, that concept is not a given, it is a privilege.  I repeat – it is a privilege and a gift to have our adult children be a part of our lives.

Here are a few of the ways Theo mentioned that we can support LGBT adult children:

  • Create an environment of approachability.
  • When you tell us that you love us “no matter what,’’ prove it.
  • Treat other LGBT people in your life with kindness and respect. 
  • Don’t interpret any point of divergence as a personal attack.

Those ideas seem reasonable, don’t they?  Actually, they would line up with Jesus’ basic command for Christians to love.  This seems almost too basic.  Parents should be able to handle these suggestions, shouldn’t we?

Well, sadly, this is not so obvious or important to others.  I was disappointed to read an article written by a homeschooling father who did not have kind words to say about Theo’s ideas. This article comes from Fred Butler.  Butler’s Hip and Thigh blog is rated #244 in Jared Moore’s yearly top 250 Christian blogs.   Here is Fred Butler’s bio:

My name is Butler.  I’m a graduate of Arkansas State University and The Master’s Seminary.  I currently live in the LA area and work at Grace to You, the radio ministry of John MacArthur, where  I have the honor of coordinating and directing the volunteer ministries.  My wife and I have five kids and we are all actively involved at Grace Community Church.

I began this blog in 2005 to have an outlet for my opinions both theological and secular.  I don’t have any particular emphasis with my blog except for promoting a high view of God, the authority of Scripture, and a biblically grounded worldview.

I have another website called Fred’s Bible Talk where you can listen to some of my devotional teaching I give to my volunteers and I have a secondary blog called Biblical Premillennialism.

If you must get a hold of me my personal email is fivepointer (@) gmail (dot) com

Butler begins his article by saying he is responding to Theo’s article.   When reading the following quoted paragraph,  try to pretend you are Theo, an LGBT former homeschool kid who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment.  Tell me if you’re feeling the love from this Bible teacher and homeschooling parent.  Butler describes Theo’s article:

It’s one of those cathartic rants dripping with emotion that complains about how “my life has been ruined because I was homeschooled by crazy Fundamentalist parents.”  The Homeschool Apostates, I mean, Anonymous blog also cross-posted it at their place.  I thought I would use it as a spring board to offer a rebuttal and response to the author.

and then this:

Look it. We all understand that you were raised in a wacky, Fundamentalist atmosphere. You’re ashamed and embarrassed about your past. Now that you have freed yourself from the shackles of your Fundy upbringing, you believe you have ascended to a fuller life. We get it, okay.

Apparently in an attempt to build a bridge between himself and the LGBT author, Butler then gives his religious background from childhood to adulthood, saying he started off in the United Methodist church and then in high school, moved to Arkansas where he attended a Baptist church.  All niceties come to an abrupt stop there.

Here is the new tone:

You seriously need to keep in mind that your so-called new found “faith journey” is just as warped and twisted as your parents[sic] Fundamentalism.

If I may, let me offer seven truths I think you need to seriously ponder. I warn you now that they will sting; but you need to read them.

Butler condescendingly shares with Theo seven truths of his own.  Here is a quick sampling:

  • Consider the fact that you may be wrong – fatally so.
  • If you are actively involved with a “faith community” now, you are blindly being led to the destruction of your soul.
  • Treat the Evangelical Christians in your life with mutual love and respect.
  • Don’t interpret any pointed criticism as an ignorant, bigoted attack against you.

You get the idea of the tone.  Did he say treat Christians with love and respect?  Ok.  Just checking.  Here’s more love and respect from Mr. Butler.  Oh wait, I forgot, Butler wasn’t talking about himself loving and respecting, but the LGBT kid.

You believe your shunning of your parents and their ways is sophisticated, so if they shun you in return, then the feeling is mutual.

Maybe Butler doesn’t realize that many of these fundamental homeschool parents actually shunned their adults children long before their kids shunned them.  How do I know?  I have read their stories online.

It is nothing new for adult children in their late teens and early twenties to separate from their parents physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and begin to question how they were raised, what they believe, and question what the future holds for them.  But I question the heart and attitude displayed by Butler, a current homeschooling father.  By the tone reflected in the article, it does not appear that Butler is really trying to build any relationship or reach anyone’s heart.  His attitude would probably push any homeschool kid further away.  We’ll know more in a few years, if/when perhaps some of Mr. Butler’s grown children eventually distance themselves from their dad.

But that doesn’t seem to matter to Butler.  As long as the truth is told, that’s love, right? Butler forgets that these adult kids already know the truth.  They have the scripts memorized. Remember, their parents taught them the way in which they should go spiritually.  This is nothing new to them.  They have all the verses still memorized from childhood.  The old scripts aren’t going to work for them anymore.

But then again . . . is Mr. Butler really interested in souls after all?  Maybe that list of seven truths is just all talk.  Why, you ask?

Check this out.  I can’t remember how I stumbled across this, a brief Twitter dialogue between Fred Butler (@Fred_Butler) and JD Hall (@PulpitAndPen).

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In the first tweet at the top, there is the hyperlink to a website (bit.ly/109CVyu) that Butler refers to as needing a “snarky beatdown.”    The link takes you to a blog called Homeschoolers Anonymous – a blog community interested in “sharing our experiences growing up in the conservative, Christian homeschooling subculture.”

If you spend some time reading some of the former homeschool kids’ stories there, you will probably read some heart-wrenching personal accounts of abuse and neglect by Christian homeschool parents.  Many of the stories are not pretty.  Up until now, there was no specific gathering place for former HKs to share their experiences, so this may be the first time HKs have come to realize they are not alone in their challenging and sometimes painful upbringing.  Connecting with other with shared backgrounds can begin the process of healing for some.  This community is an attempt to do just that.

So what do you suppose this tweet means?  Why is Butler proposing that PulpitAndPen aka Pastor J.D. Hall do a “snarky beatdown” of a group of kids who are really struggling with life right now (some even having attempted suicide) and trying to come to grips with some real abuses?   You tell me, but it sure doesn’t sound appropriate for a Bible teacher and popular Christian blogger to treat hurting people in such a manner.  I really can’t picture Christ behaving in such a way.  I just cannot.

I’ve come to the conclusion that those seven truths may have some element of truth in them, but I seriously question the heart behind the entire article.  Yes, Mr. Butler, that was a “snarky beatdown,” and this homeschool mom is calling it as she sees it:  R.U.D.E.

But the wisdom from above is first pure,

then peaceable, gentle, open to reason,

full of mercy and good fruits,

impartial and sincere.

James 3:17

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photo credit: Guillaume Paumier via photopin cc

151 thoughts on “Christian Homeschool Dad Takes on LGBT Former Homeschooler”

  1. Being fairly well acquainted with three homeschooling families where the children are entering adulthood, I have had some ability to observe the fruit. I will stipulate that the homeschooled children I know seem to have achieved a certain level of academic excellence. Beyond that, however, it does not seem that homeschooling made much difference. One student who received a scholarship to a well know technical college flunked out. Twice. There has been a tendency for these homeschooled students to remain in the home way beyond their late teens and early twenties. It appears they are socially challenged outside the bubble of their immediate families. They have had difficulty obtaining good employment. Some have been fired from the jobs they did find. There have been failed marriages. Children have been birthed that cannot be supported. I strongly suspect, though I do not know, that one student married early in order to be able to leave home gracefully. In general, it all looks quite dysfunctional when compared to the rosy pictures painted by advocates of the conservative Christian homeschooling movement (think Vision Forum). Except for the difficulty establishing independent, self-supporting lifestyles, and difficulties with social skills, I am not saying any of this is all that much different than what is seen with public schooled children from conservative Christian families. Yet, the long term negative fruit is observable.

    I do not oppose homeschooling. I do oppose the agenda embraced by those who engage in homeschooling as part of a wider movement. Again, think Vision Forum.

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  2. Why do you think it ‘foolish’ NOT to dig and expose? WHY do we see the increases? Are they really increases in actual abuse, or an indication that venues for ‘tell-alls’ are so readily available (Internet). Which claims of ‘abuse’ (spiritual/emotional) aren’t really abuse but someone who just didn’t like the way their parents raised them? Just questions for which I do not expect/demand an answer.

    Rather than deep dive into the sinful bowels of the church and or go after specific issues per se, I see a greater and more important battle with the purity of the gospel message itself. I try and always ask myself about what any response/behavior I might make would impact the overarching mission of proclaiming Christ and him crucified. Sometimes we can get so caught up in this or that ‘crusade’ that the gospel is neglected and the enemy wins, because we are not doing what he hates the most.

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  3. B4B – – Apparently you missed the point that many of these HKs are abandoning the faith of their parents. Perhaps the sinful bowels of the church are “anti-evangelizing.” So what do we do about that? Abandon those lost sheep?

    I don’t take kindly to people who want to abandon victims.

    I’m not going to get caught up into your numbers game because numbers don’t matter to me. If there is one person hurt, that is one person too many. . . . .remember the least of these.

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  4. Gary W – – I just want to add from my perspective, I have not seen socially challenged kids in my homeschooling circles. I’m sure it exists. A lot of it depends on how active kids are in their community; ie, sports, music, theatre, church, clubs. I also have not seen HK kids with poor work ethics. A lot of them are great workers and are good team players (especially if they come from large families).

    I have seen kids culture-shocked, though!

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  5. B4B-

    I’m all for keeping the message of the Gospel pure as well. One of the larger issues, in my oppinion, for example from the last few years is growing acceptance of universalism, such as that taught by Rob Bell in his book “Love Wins.” That does not mean that other “crusades” should not be fought though. The fact that the Gospel is of #1 importance does not diminish the importance of other issues. In somes ways, it elevates the importance of other issues. As Christians, we are supposed to be different from the world. We have the love of Christ in us. Our actions should show it. When we have people who profess to be Christians, and yet by their actions (like people in the homeschool movement for example) portray the opposite, the Gospel is hurt. So not digging up these problems an dshowing that they do not represent Christ can indeed stain the Gospel that you and I both want to keep pure.

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  6. Life is life. We all get hurt. Are we called to sound off for all the ‘hurt’ people (representing our favorite causes), or first and foremost to bring the gospel to the table.
    There are all sorts of reasons why youth are leaving the ‘faith’ of their parents, rather well documented with statistics (numbers).they might be from overly domineering homes, many were never saved in the first place because they never heard the message that Christ died for our sins, or because their parents dumped them off to the church – Sunday school/youth groups with immature youth pastors, whatever. they never got the true gospel there either. Most of today’s youth, in our culture, would consider home in which Biblical values are lived and upheld as abusive – too many rules. The true gospel of Jesus Christ has given way to one of ‘having your best life now’ and a lot of other ‘false gospels’.
    It’s fine if we engage in the ‘smaller skirmishes’, but the main thing is the main thing the true Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-5). Bring that to the table and all it means, and we might actually be able to have a good conversation.

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  7. Again, because something, in our case the Gospel, is the main thing, does not mean it is the ONLY thing. A large portion of Christ’s ministry while on earth involved healing people, and not only physically. He healed them emotionally as well. There are many churches, church leaders, and other Christians who focus so intently on the “main thing” (preaching the Gospel) that they ignore the other “things” (helping people heal emotionally). This blog helps to serve the latter. It does not ignore the former, but sees a need of people to heal, and fills that need. We are called to care for the needs of others, allowing people to “sound off,” expressing their hurts, talking about and exposing hurtful teachings and helping others to avoid them, in a sense then is indeed something we are called to do. Helping in this specific way is not what everyone is called to do, but it is evidently one way JA feels called to bring healing to the hurting. We cannot expect for people to trust in the healing power of Christ for their spirits if we ignore all of their other hurts (physical/emotional).

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  8. Here’s a heart warming story.

    Danielle Powell was close to getting her bachelor’s degree when she was kicked out of her university for being gay in 2012, and now says the only way the school will transfer her credits to another school is if she agrees to pay $6,300.

    Her former school is called “Grace” University.

    I’ll take “Isn’t that ironic” for $300, Alex.

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  9. I take it from B4B’s reference to 1 Cor 15:1-5 that, to him, the gospel is the good news that Jesus was crucified and rose again. Well, yes, all else depends on that. However, the great commission, spoken by Jesus Himself, calls us to make disciples.–not just converts. Borrowing from Dallas Willard, I take discipleship to involve spending time with Jesus, learning to be like Jesus.

    To be like Jesus, I must have compassion. Among other things this means taking up the cause of the oppressed. Would that I had more successfully done so! Still, it is not clear to me how the true gospel can be successfully communicated by one who is without compassion and who is not, therefore, a true disciple. Perhaps an evangelist without compassion may be used to win converts, but then there had best be other members of the Body whose gifts are sufficient to bring converts to maturity. True faith requires more than evangelism alone.

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  10. B4B said: It’s fine if we engage in the ‘smaller skirmishes’, but the main thing is the main thing the true Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-5). Bring that to the table and all it means, and we might actually be able to have a good conversation.”

    I submit to you that connecting with these smaller skirmishes is the true Gospel – – meeting people right where they are – walking out the hands and feet of Jesus and showing them authentic Christianity and the unconditional love of Christ.

    I’m having a hard time with your comments. It seems like you look at these HKs as 2nd rate and rubbish — as if they are not worthy of us spending time with them – – and that’s not sitting well with me – – as if there are “better” things to do?? What better things?

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  11. JoeJoe said: ” Helping in this specific way is not what everyone is called to do, but it is evidently one way JA feels called to bring healing to the hurting. We cannot expect for people to trust in the healing power of Christ for their spirits if we ignore all of their other hurts (physical/emotional).”

    Thank you!

    Here’s where I’m coming from. So many of these HKs are already considered “wayward” and rebellious and basically castaways. Many of them have severed relationships with their parents – – – – some by their parents’ choosing. What is it like to navigate through the young adult years with no supportive parent? Can you imagine the isolation and abandonment issues? Yes, sometimes it is the HK who alienated themselves from their parents, but why? Was the home environment so toxic that they had to put up safe boundaries? Ok, so now who is going to step in and provide support, love, and care? They already have been judged as rebellious and immoral. They already have the script memorized about how they are sinners and on the way to hell and know the formula how to become a Christian. Maybe what’s lacking is simple love and understanding and respect. Our Heavenly Father gives us guidelines on how to live, but he does not force us to go His way. He allows us choices, yet is available to us when we stumble and gives grace. Some of these kids’ parents do not act Christ like. They are trying to force their kids into their own mold, and if the kids do not conform, they shut them out. I don’t see the love of Christ in this. It’s crazy. Is it any wonder some of these kids are cutting themselves, drinking, sexing, addicting to numb their pain. And we wonder why?

    Rant over.

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  12. David C said: Her former school is called “Grace” University.

    – – – I also notice that “Grace” word again. I should keep a running list of Grace churches/schools who do not exemplify true grace.

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  13. Here’s the thing about “proving” how many homeschooled kids turn out a certain way (good or bad). The NHERI studies which “prove” that “most” homeschooled kids turn out well-educated, etc. are constructed like this: compare a volunteer group of mostly white, middle-class homeschoolers in supportive, two-parent homes, with the national average of ALL public school students (from all backgrounds, localities, economic strata, and racial groups). In other words, the studies are not comparing ALL homeschoolers to ALL public schoolers. They are comparing the people who volunteered for the study with ALL public schoolers. This is like comparing apples and penguins. White, middle-class kids from supportive, two-parent homes would have most likely gotten relatively good scores in public school too. So the studies don’t prove anything one way or the other about how well-educated homeschoolers are.

    Essentially, there’s really no way to “prove” much about homeschoolers because frankly, we don’t even know how many of them there are. When you go to public school, you register with the school and there are teachers who will know if you’re there or not. If you don’t attend, you get a truancy/DCF officer on your case because not attending school is illegal. For homeschoolers it’s different. Not all states require registration, so there’s no way to take a national census of homeschoolers and interview each of them to see how they’re doing. In fact homeschooling tends to attract people who would deliberately eschew this kind of thing, which makes it even harder. Honestly, we don’t even know how many homeschoolers are Christian or not, and it’s a matter of frequent debate in certain parts of the community whether the “fundies” are the majority, or a declining fringe group.

    So yes, on one level the stories on HA are anecdotal. But we certainly can’t dismiss them as aberrations any more than anti-homeschooling types can dismiss successful homeschoolers as aberrations, because we just don’t know the real numbers.

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  14. Julie Anne, I had hoped to hear input and responses to my question; if it’s OT, I understand. I posted under “Just Me” instead of Ric (typo), so folks may not have caught the follow-on.

    GaryW – you made observations of a very small group of homeschoolers and seemed to have defined the “movement.” really? If that’s how we should “judge righteously”, then the colleges and public schools systems are worthy for all peoples to flee from.

    All, the issues being brought up regarding homschoolers under sundry names alleging abuse, seems very disingenuous and without much critical thinking. The problems raised are problems that could, and do, happen in many homes of kids that do not homeschool. So what’s the point? We have imperfect homes? Ok.. nothing to see here, lets move on… But, I agree with Jule Anne, the abuse is not a numbers game. If we have a 95% best rate of quality homeschool homes compared to the public schools 65% (numbers are made up for the analogy), what about the 5% of the kids who are being abused? It shouldn’t be.

    Making the real issue a Homeschool issue is helping to cloud the real problems; somewhat like chasing the zebra… while on the chase, we miss the real issue.

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  15. Note. Children leaving their parent’s faith, in this context that means that don’t believe in Jesus (right?), is a concern that’s been in the media for the last 10 years or more. This is not a “homeschool” issue, but one of real faith being gained by kids. I don’t think we should be overly critical about the church’s youth groups or the quality of the parents rearing, nor homeschooling. If there are real issues with any of these, those things would certainly be worthy of specific address, I’d think. Thoughts?

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  16. Gary W and Julie Anne – thanks for your comments about socialization, and trust me, there are plenty of homeschoolers that are so isolated that they never develop any social skills whatsoever. My mother was mostly not homeschooled, but she did grow up in a very small town in a very strict & narrow Mennonite household, and to this day she simply lacks any kind of grid for the wider culture.

    She never experienced anything or met anyone from outside of her tiny little bubble, and these days, she tries awkwardly and gradually does pick some things up, but she doesn’t understand why they matter to anyone, doesn’t have the ability really empathise with other people’s interests and enthusiasm for things she thinks are dumb, pointless or confusing. It’s a long list. *wry*

    However, she is also (for the most part) a very tolerant, transparent, humble, honest and open and caring person, and a good listener. She doesn’t judge or shut people down with self-righteousness, so she is still able to function in the world despite her lack of social skills and inability to read people or situations, because her sincerity and honesty and transparent caring draws people in and they’re able to overlook her stumbles.

    But that is one thing that factored into the way she homeschooled and raised us kids, she never had adequate socialization herself, didn’t know or understand there was a need for it, didn’t think about how it might hinder us later on in our lives. I had one friend, when I was seven years old, we lived next door to him for a year and a half. My best friend by default, my only real friend in all my childhood, and his family moved away barely more than a year after we’d moved in. So we lost touch, and I grieved to the point of serious emotional trauma for the next ten years. I never had a real friend again until I discovered the internet, I was maybe 17 I think, and I started finding out that there were communities and people who weren’t just talking but caring for each other and building relationships.

    It was a revelation, but it was all online. Which was important because online, my lack of social skills didn’t matter so much. The internet was ‘new’ enough then, at least the widespread access to it, that all of us were learning at the same time, how to convey emotion and tone and other things that normally come across in speech, but fail in text. So it gave me a chance to start over, so to speak, and build that skillset both online and off.

    To this day I can count on one hand the number of friends I have had in real life, that I’ve known in person and lived near. I spent most of my childhood terrified of social situations, afraid to even try to speak to any other kids who were obviously cooler than me, would find me boring and backward and stupid, and maybe make fun of my clothes because they were all hand-me-downs and thrift store bought, and the styles we were allowed to wear left much to be desired.

    I was ashamed of myself and everything about me, and I was sure that all the other kids, Christian or no, had more freedom than me and weren’t on nearly the lowest rung of the economic ladder, and they would look right through me and either be scornful, pitying or amused. (It also didn’t help that I was crushing hard on some of the girls, and had no grid for it since it was never discussed or considered as an option, so I didn’t know why I felt so awkward and heart-thumping around them, much less how to talk to someone when you did.)

    And finally, more often than not, if we did manage to talk to someone and seemed to click a bit and wanted to become friends, our parents would frequently nip it in the bud with heavily discouraging or disparaging remarks to enforce to us that we were not like ‘those people’ and we should not be hanging around with ‘people like that’. It left us with a very short list of available friends to choose from, and most of them were our siblings.

    I’m really grateful for the friendships we did forge with each other growing up, my sisters and I. But it was no replacement for learning how you as an individual fit into society as a whole, how you understand and relate to people who are not like you, how you grow in emapthy and communication and the love we are commanded to show to every single person, whether we agree with them or not. In short, kids need to be exposed to other kids who come from different background & grew up different than them, other worldviews, just…otherness, to realise that all people are different and we can still treat one another with love and respect. It’s possible to do that while homeschooling, but it’s much harder, and there are many many parents who don’t even try. They would prefer to lock Rapunzel in her tower for the rest of her life, and make sure she never sees (and therefore never longs for) the outside world, and keep her too scared to be curious about it.

    ….errr. sorry for the length. o.o I am terribly sleep deprived atm, it makes me ramble.

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  17. JA,
    You said to me:

    “I submit to you that connecting with these smaller skirmishes is the true Gospel – – meeting people right where they are – walking out the hands and feet of Jesus and showing them authentic Christianity and the unconditional love of Christ.”

    “It seems like you look at these HKs as 2nd rate and rubbish — as if they are not worthy of us spending time with them – – and that’s not sitting well with me – – as if there are “better” things to do?? What better things?”

    All I am saying is that there is an overarching ‘Gospel’, one that has the power to save people from Hell. I’ll let the Apostle Paul say it:
    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, – 1 Cor 15:1-4

    The Gospel is a proclamation, a statement of what Christ has done on behalf of sinners. That’s the better thing and if I do nothing else on this earth but proclaim Christ and him crucified, I have done enough, done my duty. I’ll do a lot of other things, including connecting with folks and showing them the love of Jesus, but those are secondary to the Gospel message itself.

    If I don’t carry THAT gospel with me when I do all the ‘things’ I am sores than an infidel.

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  18. B4B,
    You amaze me with your explanations.

    You said:
    ” I have done enough, done my duty. I’ll do a lot of other things, including connecting with folks and showing them the love of Jesus, but those are secondary to the Gospel message itself”

    I say:
    No, you haven’t done enough.

    You are to be a “DOER” OF THE WORD.

    Your faith and proclamation without works is dead. You are to DO something. It’s called “GOOD WORKS”. You aren’t supposed to just sit on your butt and do nothing.

    James 1:22
    But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    James 1:23
    For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    James 1:25
    But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    Matthew 25 also comes to mind.

    Good Works is not just about proclaiming the gospel. You have to couple that with LOVING people, NO MATTER IF THEY REJECT JESUS OR NOT.

    Ed

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  19. B4B

    In other words, good works is not secondary. Works and Faith go hand in hand. You can have works without faith, but not faith without works. It cannot be secondary. The 2 are primary.

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  20. Hester,

    Thanks much for that info. That was very helpful and interesting. I really never paid much attention to NHERI studies. I heard of it, but was too busy taking care of my passel. And frankly, I wouldn’t have cared. I was doing what felt right for my family.

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  21. Ric, you are right. I did not make the connection with your names. I’m on a 4-hr drive to Portland and can’t “see” behind the scenes to match email addresses. I do have a response, but let me get to my laptop in a few hours and I’ll be more thorough. I can play piano keyboard alright, but don’t like typing on smartphones. 🙂

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  22. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
    Jesus Is Love.
     ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Born4Battle, All references to love here, I sum up in one word: JESUS!

    You are blessed that you haven’t suffered abuse from a pastor. I can’t tell you in words, it would take a novel the fallout from what I experienced in my old church. What happened crushed my heart. Julie Anne’s blog & TWW have been places for me to continue to heal spiritually. Baby steps, slowly.

    I am recovering & rediscovering my first love: Jesus. I also have been educated here by so many. People here explained to me, how some, not all pastors, like to beat the sheep, use the word as a sword to cut a heart to pieces, shame people into submission by being a bully in the pulpit as they harp on law law law and barely give grace a mention. How different doctrines drive a pastors words & actions.

    I could substitute the word *love* with many names of folks who comment here. It goes without saving that Julie Anne speaks with love and has given those of us who have had their hearts broken, their faith shattered, a place to come to be heard, understood and listened too.

    I pray that you never have to experience the agony of spiritual abuse, it messes with your whole being in a way that I wont take the time to name.

    I understand that a lot gets lost in translation on the internet, I cannot look into your face and see the compassion in your eyes, or hear your tone of voice. I don’t know you. With that said, the way you are coming across is a little scary-cold to me, or harsh. Correct me if I am wrong, I will hear you out. This blog is for those of us who have been deeply wounded by legalistic, controlling, cruel leaders.

    Please be gentle with me, I am recovering from wounds that you cannot see.
    I carry them down deep in my soul, & only by love will I become whole.
    If my walls ever seem too high, use your calm but firm words, to ask me why.
    For I will not grow if I hide from pain, by risking mutual vulnerability we both will have much to gain.

    Like

  23. Gail, You are certainly not the same “Scared” that I remember months ago. Praise God who has revealed His love to you and is restoring your soul. What an encouragement you are to me. ~ja

    Like

  24. Born4Battle,

    You state, “The Gospel is a proclamation, a statement of what Christ has done on behalf of sinners.” You word it as though the gospel were in the proclamation itself, as opposed to the actual fact of what Jesus has done. The full glory and magnitude of the Gospel is as succinctly stated in 1 Cor. 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:22. (All scripture is from ESV.)

    Regardless, Paul himself makes it clear that mere proclamation is an insufficient means of conveying the truth of what our Jesus has accomplished for us and in us; to wit: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Cor. 1:17. “[A]nd my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 1 Cor. 2:4. “. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. 1 Thess. 1:5a.

    Ed has already done a superlative job of putting the lie to any assertion that proclamation alone is of value. I second everything he says, adding only this: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:1. (O.K., I see Gail is ahead of me in referring to 1 Cor. 13, but it is well worth referring to it this second time.)

    Mere speech, both human and angelic, without love, is a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. You may possess and communicate all knowledge, yet if it is without love, you are nothing. You may speak and speak, but if you impart no more than knowledge, if you fail to impart love, you will have accomplished nothing lasting. If anybody should succeed in imparting love—even without knowledge—her work will last forever.

    A loveless gospel is no gospel at all. There are people here, most of them in fact, who are living, breathing, walking epistles of God’s love, and their testimony is infinitely more meaningful than any gospel, however propositionally true, conveyed with mere words.

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  25. Ed,
    Genuine faith always results in works. If there are no works, the faith was a ‘dead’ faith and not a saving faith. Anyone can do good works, but end up in hell for never having believed in Christ. Anyone who has truly believed in Christ will demonstrate works. Sounds like you are adding works to faith for salvation, Ed. You don’t have to answer. I’m a bit tired of folks telling me I said what I didn’t say and not actually answering good questions.

    .

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  26. @ Gail~

    “Please be gentle with me, I am recovering from wounds that you cannot see.
    I carry them down deep in my soul, & only by love will I become whole.
    If my walls ever seem too high, use your calm but firm words, to ask me why.
    For I will not grow if I hide from pain, by risking mutual vulnerability we both will have much to gain.”

    That was a beautiful poem! 🙂
    We all have wounds no one can see. It ties us all together. Although they’re different kinds of wounds, the aftermath yields similar burdens to carry–insecurity, loathing, shame, guilt. But wounds experienced are opportunities to help each other. All of us have something to contribute to the Body of Christ! Even if we haven’t been abused, we can lend an ear and a shoulder. It’s wonderful that we are all different and God has some working with this problem, and some with that kind of abuse. When one part of the body hurts, the rest feels it too. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

    @ Julie Anne~

    I think you help many people and I would not even begin to think to tell you how you should walk your Christian walk. No one should. That is between you and God. I personally think it’s wonderful what you do here. I like to think God is smiling down at you at how you bear other’s burdens so compassionately.

    Like

  27. @ Ric:

    “All, the issues being brought up regarding homschoolers under sundry names alleging abuse, seems very disingenuous and without much critical thinking. The problems raised are problems that could, and do, happen in many homes of kids that do not homeschool. So what’s the point? We have imperfect homes?”

    True, imperfect homes are no surprise, and there are plenty of public school parents who are abusive too. But as a homeschool graduate I can tell you that homeschooling is often presented as immune to this kind of thing. Those who suggest that not every parent can/should homeschool, or that there are problems in the community, are usually met with great hostility and accused of “hating” all homeschoolers.

    In other words, a lot of people don’t believe that things like the abuse described by HA contributors can happen in homeschooling families because…well, they’re homeschooling families. Homeschooling families are good and would never do anything like that. The only people who think homeschoolers might be abusing their children are snoopy busybodies like public school teachers and social workers! (Not really an exaggeration, BTW.)

    So basically…homeschooling portrays itself as having no problems. Thus homeschooling has set its own bar higher (no public school could ever get away with saying it has no problems!). Unfortunately the fall from perfection is a long one. The community should have dealt with these issues years ago, but they tried to save face instead.

    Like

  28. @ Hester, I can see what you mean, but its probably really dependent on where you are living in the country, your experience, and what that particular homeschool group is like, itself. Homeschooling is not a person, so can’t “portray itself” in any fashion, so I think you mean the homeschool groups in the area where you lived?

    The reason I’m asking this way is to draw out maybe some other responsible party, such as a homeschool association, or line of books (publisher), or something that would package this line of thought or reasoning to a group (church, or other group, maybe a coven, etc (pagans and atheists homeschool too). I would potentially agree with some hard references and would want to know more about it.

    We know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and some parents should definitely *not* homeschool. we have friends that blend homeschooling and public school, depending on what each individual kid’s needs.

    If you have any references to your comments, I would be interested in them. I understand there are some extreme parts of the movement, but those don’t paint a general “homeschooling” mentality accepted by anyone we’ve met in our area (big city area too). thanks

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  29. B4B,
    We already covered that, that there is no such thing as saving faith. And, there is no such thing as working for your salvation. You mix up James with Romans 4, and you believe in saving faith. No such thing.

    As I already said, there can be works without faith, but not faith without works.

    You are expected to DO, and not sit on your butt doing nothing, except to PROCLAIM the gospel from the roof tops. Get out in the trenches with the down trodden and help them…Get dirty with them.

    Dude, I quoted you word for word, so you cannot tell me that I told you that you said what you didn’t say.

    Like

  30. Kagi, Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down. I did not find it long. Actually, I found your account of your growing up rather interesting. I am glad that you felt safe to share about it in a detailed way. You have shown where things were less than ideal when you were growing up. You have expressed how you are aware of those lacks and how you have grown in spite of them as an adult. Not sure from your name if you are a guy or a gal. I am so glad that you found a community, maybe more than one, on the internet to connect with. I hope that you will feel free to share here again.

    Like

  31. @ Ric:

    I suppose by “homeschooling” I mean not only my local community, but also major voices in the broader community (HSLDA, Vision Forum, etc.) which often claim (esp. HSLDA) to speak for that community. Taken as a whole over a span of many years (and I’ve been listening basically my entire life), they never address or even mention the issues, but paint homeschooling (subtly or not) as a godly method which always produces good outcomes. They only mention failures when they’re forced to by a nasty public incident (like Andrea Yates drowning her children) and then they (understandably) go to great lengths to distance themselves from it. Per my local experience, in our support group alone we had kids lose their faith, flunk out of college, end up in prison, go into major rebellion, get pregnant out of wedlock, etc.

    Interestingly the voices in the movement which are now labeled “extreme” (such as HSLDA) are in many cases the founding voices of the movement. They used to be all you could get and they presented themselves as speaking for the homeschool movement. Non-Christian homeschoolers were a rarity. From where I sit, it’s really only in recent years that there’s been any major pushback or alternative community apart from those “extreme” voices. Also, in my experience, even more “liberal” homeschoolers who know that an organization like Vision Forum is extreme will still buy their products in many cases, so these organizations don’t only make their $$$ from militant patriarchists and the like.

    I’ve heard all of the following, in varying degrees of subtlety, at conventions, on tapes, etc. Homeschooling will produce a godly generation to save America. Homeschooling will keep your kids off welfare and make them responsible. Homeschooling will eliminate sibling rivalry/infighting. Homeschooling will prevent bullying, child molestation, and teenage rebellion. Homeschooling will ensure that your children stay Christian and remain unspotted from all the worldliness in public school. They didn’t always say it this directly. But the parents got the message loud and clear.

    Take a look at this article and the first two commenters for a look at the attitude I’m referring to.

    BTW, in case you were wondering, I’m in New England so I’m hardly living in the last bastion of “Bible-thumpers.” 🙂

    Per hard sources, the only thing I can think of this late at night is to get your hands on some issues (back or otherwise) of HSLDA’s Home School Court Report magazine and look at pretty much any of NHERI/Brian Ray’s (badly constructed) research. I’m sure Doug Phillips and Vision Forum’s website/blog will be a goldmine too.

    Like

  32. Addendum @ Ric:

    BTW, Doug Phillips used to work for HSLDA and was instrumental in one of their major legal victories. HSLDA, to my knowledge, has never officially distanced themselves from him despite the fact that he thinks giving women the right to vote was a bad idea, and that women with ectopic pregnancies should not end the pregnancy. So the connection between the two seems valid to me.

    Like

  33. @Barb Orlowski — Thanks, Barb…actually Kagi is short for Kagemihari, I also go by Soracia; though if that doesn’t help lol, I am female. 🙂 I generally do feel safe sharing things on survivor blogs such as this, at least now, because I’ve found over the last few months that the more I share the more connections I make and more I can start to heal — I find this space in general to be pretty safe, but this particular post no longer is for me, so I’ll be going now; some of the comments are getting rather toxic for an LGBT Christian like me. :/

    I’m at peace with myself and God, finally — it’s been a long hard struggle getting back to faith at all for me, but he never gave up on me, and I’ve gotten to a place where I know that I know what I know and believe it for myself, it’s solid and sure and he’s there for me. And as far as I’ve been led through my own personal years of painful, desperate, honest soulsearching, reading and praying and searching out the meaning of the context, I believe I’m not out of line with scripture, but I simply don’t have the spoons to stay and argue the point today. :’)

    I rarely do, really, because my energy is so limited to begin with (see my latest post on my blog), and dealing with the level of hostility that tends to come up toward people like me around this issue takes a lot out of you, even at the best of times. No worries though, I will be back some other time. Julie Anne’s is one of my top five blogs I read.

    Thank you again for your kind words.

    Like

  34. Hester said:

    So basically…homeschooling portrays itself as having no problems. Thus homeschooling has set its own bar higher (no public school could ever get away with saying it has no problems!). Unfortunately the fall from perfection is a long one. The community should have dealt with these issues years ago, but they tried to save face instead.

    Hmm, where have we seen that pattern before?

    Like

  35. Ric said:

    The reason I’m asking this way is to draw out maybe some other responsible party, such as a homeschool association, or line of books (publisher), or something that would package this line of thought or reasoning to a group (church, or other group, maybe a coven, etc (pagans and atheists homeschool too). I would potentially agree with some hard references and would want to know more about it.

    Ric – Go to my sidebar under categories and look up “homeschool movement” and “Reconstructionist/Dominion Movement.” You will find articles that show the roots of the Homeschool Movement. A key pioneer is John Rushdoony who was a Reconstructionist. He sold many on the idea of homeschooling, having large families, and father as patriarch of the family. His ideas were spread to the pillars in the Homeschool Movement. These pillars all espouse similar ideology and it was written in homeschool curricula, spoken about at Christian homeschool conventions. By the way, the state-run Christian homeschooling conferences are a huge place where these ideologies are taught. The leaders hand-select keynote speakers (Michael Farris, Doug Phillips are proponents of Patriarchy, Full Quiver, etc.) There are many people and resources involved that promote this subculture I find to be dangerous.

    By the way, Ric – I found your other comment. I didn’t quite know what to answer since some has since been covered. If there is something that you still would like addressed, would you mind asking the specific questions you would like answered? Thank you 🙂

    ~ja

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  36. @ Diane June 13, 2013 @ 6:26 PM

    Good Morning Diane,

    Appreciated your thoughts on wounds, thanks for the compliment on poem. Wouldn’t it be a healthier body if we all would lay our weapons down and come along beside one another, serving one another out of our broken places. It is a shame that we are not known as Christians by our love in the world.

    Kagi- Hope you come back soon!

    Like

  37. Julie Anne

    Great thought – Great word – “anti-evangelizing.”

    You write @ JUNE 13, 2013 @ 9:43 AM…

    …many of these HKs are abandoning the faith of their parents.
    Perhaps the sinful bowels of the church are “anti-evangelizing.”

    So what do we do about that? Abandon those lost sheep?

    I don’t take kindly to people who want to abandon victims.

    ———–

    Yes – Seems those, so intent on correct doctrine, proclaiming the correct gospel…
    And have NOT LOVE – Are “Anti-Evangelizing.”

    ———–

    Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
    and have NOT LOVE, – – – I am “anti-evangelizing.” And…
    I am like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
    And though I have the gift of prophecy,
    and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
    and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
    and have NOT LOVE, I am nothing. – – – But an “anti-evangelist.”

    Like

  38. Hey Kagi:

    I appreciate you being bold enough to tell me that you don’t feel safe right now. Although I was saddened to read that you didn’t feel safe last night, I thought it was a very bold statement to make. You were saying, “YO, I’m a person in here with feelings.” That was powerful and we all read it. It’s good to get a reality check that our words can hurt or can heal. So thank you for giving us/me the opportunity to discuss that.

    I’m not sure if a good night of sleep changed things for you – that sure works for me sometimes. Don’t worry about your comment whatsoever if you do happen to come back. We all understand that sometimes things get a little heavy and we need to take a step back.

    I love your presence here and what you share. Feel free to jump back in whenever you feel safe 🙂

    Like

  39. Gail

    Enjoyed your poem @ JUNE 13, 2013 @ 5:20 PM…

    Please be gentle with me,
    I am recovering from wounds that you cannot see.

    I carry them down deep in my soul,
    And only by love will I become whole.

    If my walls ever seem too high,
    use your calm but firm words, to ask me why.

    For I will not grow if I hide from pain,
    by risking mutual vulnerability we both will have much to gain.

    Like

  40. Julie Anne

    Yes – “It’s good to get a reality check that our words can hurt or can heal.”

    I often forget – when talking to folks who say things to me that hurt…

    That they learned to say hurtful things – By folks who said hurtful things to them.
    We often learn to hurt – by being hurt.

    And, when they get to close to hurting my broken heart again…
    I often do, or say things, that will hurt them, trying to protect my broken heart…

    Here is a “Truth” for me – to remember

    Hurt People – Hurt People

    Healed People – Heal People

    Like

  41. .
    That our Lord Jesus…

    Would fill us with His Love, His Mercy, His Grace…

    That our Lord Jesus…

    Would heal our broken hearts – And bind up our wounds…

    That we would be healers – sent to a broken and hurting world…

    Like

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