Elephants and SGA’s Everywhere! Coming to Terms with Homeschooling’s Pitfalls

The need of parents to both deal with the pitfalls and understand their Second Generation Adults of homeschooling (those who suffered in a high demand Christian homeschooling culture).

 

Elephant_Walking_animated

Photo credit: Elephant Walk  E Muggeridge

 

A post by Cindy Kunsman of UnderMuchGrace.com

In the Spiritual Sounding Board series about the Second Generation Adult who grows up in high demand religion (SGA), I mentioned my favorite example of bounded choice: that of the baby elephant who is tethered to a stake in the ground. Long after he has grown strong enough to break that tether, because he’s never known otherwise, he doesn’t even dream of walking away from it. A reader here at SSB, “BeenThereDoneThat” posted a video of the process with the message that we can break free from our limitations, just like the elephant. I’d almost forgotten that I’d included this analogy in this last part of the series on bounded choice. Though all people who get caught up in high demand religion find themselves bound by a tether of sorts, the SGA faces some additional struggles in addition to bounded choice that make the process even more difficult.

 

Elephants and an SGA’s Perspective

The advance of the concept of the SGA within the homeschooling movement generated some interesting blog discussions this week, notably, that the perspective of those who were homeschooled can differ sharply from the parents who pioneered homeschooling.  Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) and Homeschoolers Anonymous offer a platform for the SGA to talk about the issues and problems within the Christian homeschooling subculture – and some see their efforts as a threat to homeschooling freedom.

Ryan Stollar, co-founder of and the Community Coordinator at Homeschoolers Anonymous, responded to some of this discussion on his personal blog this week. I found his example of an elephant delightful and amusing, and I read with interest. I don’t know if his critics picked up on the meaning, but I certainly did. I won’t give too many spoilers, save that I found it to be an excellent medium for communicating how a budding adult feels when trying to figure out where they fit in as they embark upon the world and how easily the can be disregarded if not discarded. It highlights the problem created by the expectations of parents and the communication problems that they often face when young adults fail to live up to all that their parents envisioned for them.

Now, my only caution here is that of language for which I almost feel hypocritical, as I often indulge in crude speech myself when I am very angry. Note that Ryan uses some expletives that some will find troublesome, but I believe that the great value in is narrative is well worth reading. Ryan My great hope is that parents who feel threatened or who are suspicious of the disenfranchised SGA will step back to consider whether they are elephant or mouse. Could they possibly learn from the tale? As a commenter following the post notes, an old African proverb says, “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” Consider whether there is a way to avoid any and all suffering when you read it.

I invite you to read Ryan’s

Elephant and Mouse: A Fairy Tale.

 

Enter Elephant Number Three!

Last evening, I happened over a video of an elephant calf that had fallen in a fresh water well, a hole dug manually in the earth in Africa to collect rainwater for wildlife (and for people) to drink when the rains visit the dry plains. With the issues of clean water in Africa, it actually serves as a very healthy source of water, but it is not without its own problems. The water level in the well was low enough for the calf to have fallen in, becoming trapped. Workers help to rescue the calf from the well, then they help guide the very large little one back to its mother. I found the scene where the calf and the mother run to greet one another inspiring, and I could not help but think of the SGA.

Let me note that this isn’t a perfect analogy. A child of homeschooling who is now a very capable adult is most definitely not still a young child in need of the care of their parent in the same manner as the calf in the video vignette.

Having used the term “pitfall” so often recently in the discussion of the homeschooling movement and patriarchy that is so often associated with it, I don’t know that we could ask for a better word picture. The watering hole “wells” in Africa serve to supply many with life-saving water, but they are not without their hazards. Watching this young, helpless calf try to free itself from the pit seemed so relevant. The mother was helpless and frantic, and my heart ached to hear her cry to her calf. She had no means of freeing her little one.

How apropos for the relationship between parent and child in the aftermath of high demand religion which so often requires high demand parenting. Something that was meant for good became a trap for one who was immature and lacked the ability to keep from falling into the pit. Having recently written about the need for parents to work at being “safe persons” for their SGA at Under Much Grace, I found the image of the calf and mother running to meet one another hopeful and inspiring.

May parents consider that they can foster their relationships with their adult children, even if they don’t understand them and even if they don’t approve. Let us begin to explore the challenges before us, from one generation to another. When some SGAs get free from the proverbial pits that they grew up in, there are too many that don’t run with joy to their parents. Many parents shun their children because they fail to meet a standard of piety as if they were still just young children who still live under their roof. May we live in such a way that the love that we have for family can be fully expressed, despite the differences in perspectives because of the faith and love that sustains us.

* * *  

I would even add this bit of humor here. I shared this picture on a social network, as you know how these types of things get passed around. Westboro My dear friend Shirley Taylor wrote in response, “I am trying to live and teach in such a way that Westboro will have to stand at the end of the line to get to picket at my funeral.” I don’t know about you, but I find this to be quite good advice.

What do you think would help encourage better communication between First Generation homeschoolers and their and Second Generation Adults?  Who will picket your funeral?

May the discussion about the elephants in the homeschooling room commence!

92 comments on “Elephants and SGA’s Everywhere! Coming to Terms with Homeschooling’s Pitfalls

  1. As is the case with many things there are pros and cons to something including homeschooling and courtship. I would always be weary of someone who doesn’t see and admit the disavantages of an alternative. Just like some people with courtship there are some that think homeschooling is superior and won’t admit the problems it has caused.

    Admitting problems something has caused is usually a good way toward solving them. When you ignore “elephants in the room” and say they are no problems with something you close your mind to finding solutions to these problems.

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  2. Did I write yet another conversation killer? There have been some folks “beating up” on some of the SGAs unfairly (IMO), and I wanted to encourage some fruitful discussion. Hmmm.

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  3. Cindy,

    I would not interpret the silence as a “conversation killer.” I know very well from the amount of hits on the blog that people are reading. In posts like this, it causes people to think and sometimes I think that silence is important as people reflect.

    The subjects you are broaching are difficult ones. You are dealing with the elephant that so many were ignoring. It’s awkward for some. It’s uncomfortable. For some, to address it means they have to acknowledge that the elephant has been there all along. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

    I have to recall my own experience as I became aware of what pill I had swallowed (or what KoolAid I drank), how difficult it was. I became overwhelmed with shame, guilt, sorrow, and anger. I had thought I was making the right choices for my children/family and to find out that my choices hurt my family was very shocking. This is very, very difficult.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. The elephant illustration is very helpful.

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  4. Hi I never homeschooled through SGA. However I have homeschooled through the public and private realms, as well as sending my children, now grown, to public school and using private school. I think there are pitfalls with homeschooling that need to be addressed though I have been very happy with the results of homeschooling my children. There are also pitfalls to the other forms of education as we all know.

    Some of the negatives I’ve seen within home education are support groups and private home education satellite programs that expect everone to do things the way of the collective. I personally have seen others, and have also been, pressured by Christian homeschool moms to do things the way the group expects and in some respects this kind of cliquishness has damaged my children and been very unsupportive. We were expected to join the co-ops we could not afford, etc. Frankly, I think it was all just a big money making scam of the co-op matriarch.

    There has been an assumption everyone is rich beyond belief and if you can’t come to every stinking event and become an over achiever homeschool mom that your family is somehow a substandard homeschool family.

    When my daughter was graduating, rather than us all just having a normal ceremony, people turned it into some ordeal where we had to pay for activity after activity.

    We ended up leaving the Christian groups and joining with non sectarian unschoolers just to get some support in our endeavor. We found doing our own thing was more healthy and less intrusive.

    And let me tell you some of those supposedly Christian homeschool moms were anything but welcoming or nice. My son was accused of bullying other kids when he was protecting the kids from the bullies. Our family was slandered in other ways but I won’t get into the details.

    And there’s a gestapo with the unschoolers and secular homeschoolers as well.

    I think many strides have been taken in the homeschooling movement to make things more supportive and non-isolating. But there still is much work to be done.

    But I can’t speak from a homeschooling student’s perspective because I was the teacher.

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  5. I haven’t got anything to contribute to the conversation on homeschooling issues, but I will say I love that church’s sign.

    And I am all about elephants. 🙂

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  6. I also think a lot of the parents are too busy trying to live up to the collective to actually homeschool their kids. They place their priorities on all these unnecessary expectations and extracurricular activities and then their kids aren’t even learning at home. Then when they’re in high school the moms dump their kids in community college. Don’t get me wrong, it can be good to do depending on the student and situation and the studen’s goals. But frankly, I think a lot of mothers just want to find any opportunity to dump their kids in outside activities so they don’t have to be bothered with actually home educating them. JMO But that has been my experience in the Christian realm.

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  7. Another thing that bugged me was the fact that the moms would join their kids in soooo many activities that they ended up quitting half of them. That’s because they put too much pressure on their kids to be some sort of status symbol for their egos.

    I had my kids in a couple things over the years, Boy Scouts, a choir group and a girls group called Keepers of the Faith. The kids would just never show up and ended up quitting. We were down to about 3 kids in the choir by the end of the year and 4 in Keepers.

    So they’re teaching their kids to quit and not fulfill their committments. Very irresponsible.

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  8. One Christian ISP we joined when we first started homeschooling, the parents did the end of the year timelines and displays for the kids at the last assembly or end of the year celebration/graduation. Ours were the only kids who mostly did it themselves though I assisted them with it. So naturally the looked all perfect like an adult did them. Imagine how that made my kids feel. And then I felt like a substandard homeschooling mom because it was our first year and I had to work as a news reporter while teaching.

    I equate it to the public school science fair where parents do the science experiment displays for their kids to stroke their own egos.

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  9. I have no experience with the homeschooling movement but I do think there are many parallels to high demand groups. I think the homeschooling environment with a high demand religious component makes it worse, though. What is a kid to do when they reach maturity and find they cannot accept that world anymore?

    I see no way out except for them to continue in agreement or to leave. I can imagine the parents find it hard to accept they failed or perhaps approached it all in a very wrong way.

    I think what some are doing by building community with the survivors is the first step in building better communications with first generation. People need to hear experiences from another perspective. I am hoping the first generation is not thinking reading their website is a sin.

    Another way is to have a bridge person. Often this is an uncle or aunt or someone like that who was not involved in the high demand group but has relationship with all parties. But this is not something to manufacture. Often it just happens.

    The other thing is time. Sometimes that is the great healer. But not always as some of us know quite well.

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  10. “Another thing that bugged me was the fact that the moms would join their kids in soooo many activities that they ended up quitting half of them. That’s because they put too much pressure on their kids to be some sort of status symbol for their egos.”

    Oh boy I saw this all the time in private Christian school. it was ridiculous. Not only that but they made the whole process of learning how to be on a team, listen to your coach, etc, an impossible lesson for their own kid. As if the kid failed it would reflect on them. I felt like telling them to get a job. They had too much time on their hands.

    I have never attended any of my kids “practices” no matter what even if I had the time. That is what coaches and teachers are for. And when I attend the “games” I keep my mouth shut while all the other parents are chewing out the ref, yelling at other teams etc. And that is “Christian” school, mind you.

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  11. I suppose I was slightly off topic because we’re not members of the SGAs, but I thank you for providing this sounding board because I never had a place to really vent these things outside of my own home. But perhaps some day I’ll write a book to help newer homeschoolers not to get caught up in all of that keeping up with the Jones’ nonsense.

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  12. Lydia said, “Oh boy I saw this all the time in private Christian school. it was ridiculous. Not only that but they made the whole process of learning how to be on a team, listen to your coach, etc, an impossible lesson for their own kid. As if the kid failed it would reflect on them. I felt like telling them to get a job. They had too much time on their hands.”

    We did too, I used to call the private school moms involved in the PTF (PTA type group) “Spaghetti dinner Nazis”.

    In the private school our kids went to we earned the school boat loads of money every year by starting and completely running a recycling program. I also did the Box Tops for Schools program. But the spaghetti dinner Nazis got mad at me because I could not attend many of the PTF meetings because I had a deadline at the Newspaper I had to make on the same day and my son had to go to AWANA around that time as well. So the spaghetti dinner Nazis sent out a memo to the parents with a list of all the fundraisers in the school and intentionally left ours off the list as though they never existed. When we ended up leaving to homeschool they made a rule that all the parents of the school were mandated to “volunteer” and they put our fundraisers on the list of mandated “volunteer work.”

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  13. The bigger umbrella of homeschooling is so very diverse from unschoolers, non-religious, Classical education, traditional schooling, co-ops, etc. The high-controlling environment we generally refer to here is the the Doug Phillips/Mike Farris/Gregg Harris-type with state-run Christian homeschooling conventions which promoted ideologies such as: Patriarchy, courtship, modesty/purity, quiver full, etc. This brand of homeschooling can be very dangerous and produce the same types of results as being in a cult.

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  14. @ Cathryn:

    Homeschool grad here. I’ve personally witnessed most of what you said. I esp. like your statement about a “gestapo” in secular groups. Many people seem to think that if they just get out of a Christian homeschool group, they will be safe and find a welcoming community. Nope – the group conformity markers will just change. You’ll have to conform to XYZ educational theory or ABC organic diet, instead of XYZ theology or ABC legalistic dress code. I don’t think there’s currently any escape from this kind of thinking in most homeschooling.

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  15. The private Christian school also tried to steal the public school’s Grad Nite Live’s grandfatherd fundraising firework booth that was registered with the city. I warned them not to do it and attempted to warn people involved with Grad Nite Live but the school would not listen and continued on their merry way. Thankfully they ended up not getting away with it.

    But the homeschool spaghetti dinner Nazis were like them on steroids, I mean much more into stroking their egos. I agree that some of them would be better off getting jobs rather than finding their egos in their kids lives.

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  16. Re: what Julie Anne said, “The high-controlling environment we generally refer to here is the the Doug Phillips/Mike Farris/Gregg Harris-type with state-run Christian homeschooling conventions which promoted ideologies such as: Patriarchy, courtship, modesty/purity, quiver full, etc. This brand of homeschooling can be very dangerous and produce the same types of results as being in a cult.”

    The conventions are another big problem Parents are told they must attend to be considered a worthy home educator. And there is wisdom in teacher training as we know schools send their teachers to such conventions.

    But I find it is yet another high pressure sales gimmick. Much centers around the guilt of not being a “perfect” home school under the guise of support for the mom.

    But let’s look at the facts. If one attends a convention out of town for three days (as most mothers do as an excuse to get away from their kids) there is the high cost of the transpo, lodging, and meals out.

    Everyone must have thought me crazy but I would simply just buy some good used books and tapes for my training and spend the money and time on my kids instead.

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  17. I know this quiverful and patriachal homeschool movement you speak of. We accidentally bought a Vision Forum tape thinking it would help me know how to better gear my daughter’s time toward her career goals, etc but instead it was about all of that patriarchal keeping your daughter out of the world etc. We were stunned. I had no idea this Vision Forum existed before that. Then later I read in WND about Lourdes complaint.

    In all fairness I don’t really know any home educators who subscribe to this type of theory.

    How many families do you think there are, or what percent of home educators do you think there were sucked into this gimmick?

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  18. How many families do you think there are, or what percent of home educators do you think there were sucked into this gimmick?

    I have no idea, but my blog hits skyrocketed when I posted about Phillips stepping down. I’ve been told that my blog was the first to get it out into social media and so many referred to the link in their articles which kept the hits coming. Since then, Phillips continues to be one of the primary blog search top. That tells me a lot of people were very influenced by him.

    It’s important to keep in mind, Phillips is only one person in this movement. Because of Phillips and Gothard, Patriarchy is a now labeled as a bad word in the ranks where it was once touted as the right or only way. Those who are still promoting patriarchy have now changed the word or don’t use the P word. But don’t be fooled. It’s the same stuff.

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  19. “Because of Phillips and Gothard, Patriarchy is a now labeled as a bad word.”

    I’ll say. Did you see how sharply HSLDA disavowed Phillips in the WND article?

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  20. Have you seen any new groups with a similar philosophy coming up since then?

    Philips reminds me of Bob Coy and these other fallen pastors. The betrayal – I mean.

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  21. Julie Anne, Your blog would have rocked eventually anyway. Last January I was at a business conference in Vegas and one of the speakers focused on social media. Half way through the presentation he referred to ” this idiot pastor that tried suing over google reviews”. A few minutes later I looked over at the person sitting next to me and they were reading a news report about your case. I thought yep I bet that pastor wishes he could climb into a time machine and do a few things differently.

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  22. Scott,

    I think the blog took off because sadly there are a lot of people who can connect with a very bad church experience. The foolishness of my pastor certainly played a part in bringing people to the blog, but I guarantee you that he has relished every bit of attention he has received from the lawsuit…..just like a narcissist. Good or bad attention, it doesn’t matter to him as long as he’s the center of it.

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  23. Wow, if he is happy with the press he has gotten and the utter distain he has brought to Christianity than he is a complete wackadoo and the people of that church need to drop kick him.

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  24. Yeah, I get the impression that CON feels that he’s been right all along, but the world was out to get him. His “persecution” is righteous, and he’d go back in a time machine to make sure he stomped on people better the first time so that they could get what he thinks that they have coming to them. That’s just my guess.

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  25. “Wow, if he is happy with the press he has gotten and the utter distain he has brought to Christianity than he is a complete wackadoo and the people of that church need to drop kick him.”

    Scott, the ONLY difference between CON and most of the mega church pastors I have dealt with is that CON is not clever. He outed his narcissism/sociopathy in public. Most of the mega church pastors are much to clever for that. They are masters of “image”, “deflection”, etc. They spent years building up their influence, image and garnering followers. And, most importantly, they “have people” who handle the dirty work because at some point they are expendable. We have seen this very thing play out with Mark Driscoll over the last 5 years or so.

    I am constantly amazed at how corrupt evangelicalism/fundamentalism really is. And you have to see it up close and personal behind the stage to figure it out. But if one is a true believer in the guru, they will never see it. They will simply say, we are all sinners, you know.

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  26. What I did not mention in this post was the issue that popped up on the blogosphere recently concerning the “homeschool apostate,” the title of an article written by Kathryn Joyce that was published in December ’13. If you plug the term in the search engine here, several articles will pop up which explore the problems in greater detail, noting the communication gaps between homeschooling parents and their homeschool graduates. This is not pandemic, but it is a problem within the subculture.

    Mike Farris definitely did discuss this recently, and he’s now scapegoated the “poor results” of homeschooling (including atheism and sexual preference) on to patriarchy (and Doug Phillips). It’s completely bizarre to me, because Farris himself is responsible for selling his own patriarchal agenda along with all sorts of other affiliated problems. People who know both men and who have known them over time will tell you of a day when Farris was far more patriarchal than Phillips. And I don’t believe that we would have heard of problems with poorly handled and reported sex abuse of young women at Patrick Henry College if Farris were not patriarchal. But now, patriarchy is the enemy.

    Farris is not the only one who has made similar claims recently. In the process, HARO, Homeschoolers Anonymous, and Ryan Stollar personally have been identified as sinister and dangerous to homeschooling itself. HARO is the “greatest threat.” This just is not the case, IMO.

    It was my attempt at discretion, as I didn’t want to solicit pushback from some angry parents who seem more interested in the convenience of their freedoms to homeschool without any oversight than they are about the state of affairs of their own community of homeschoolers. That includes the issues with child abuse and child training from ATI’s affection for “blanket training” to the deaths of little ones like Sean, Lydia, and Hana.

    There are many other problems perpetuated within this culture, but the one that also concerns me involves educational neglect. Even in states where a portfolio must be submitted, there is a problem with educational neglect. Apparently, even that much oversight is seen as too intrusive. For some of these parents, if they are required to turn in a portfolio or a lesson plan for the year, it automatically means that evil social workers will have license to come into your home to force you to teach that sin is not sin and that God is not God.

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  27. Hi Cindy and Julie Anne, thanks for another GREAT article Cindy! You know what an integral part you played in helping my family and I out of the mess that is conservative Christian homeschooling. You are greatly appreciated by my family and I.

    I have been quiet on this blog lately because I am feeling the need to “ride off into the sunset” if you will. My family and I started the process of “coming out” of this mindset in 2008 it has been a long hard road but the road has to end somewhere. Today we have nothing at all in common with those in the Christian homeschooling movement. My oldest has just completed her first year at a secular university where she managed to fit in quite well having acclimated herself to popular culture in the latter part of her high school years. We have done a lot of work as a family, and individually, to heal from the years we spent homeschooling and life looks a lot different.

    We have turned our back on many of our former beliefs and practices, and changed the way we think. We now have peace and happiness, we embrace life and each other without the restrictions that were so much a part of our previous life. In fact, the only clues that we were ever in patriarchy are a few Sonlight books that we love, and will never part with, my presence on blogs, and my tendency to keep up with major news concerning the homeschool guru’s. The question I ask myself is when is it time to move on and leave the past in the past? Am I holding myself back, keeping one foot in patriarchy, with the time I spend online talking/reading about issues pertaining to it? For years it has been healing to interact with others who have had similar experiences and I still enjoy it but I wonder if my time would be better spent engaging in all of the wonderful things I have become involved in since leaving the movement.

    I say all that to say, when I am silent this is usually why. I am making a concerted effort to move on. When things like the Vision Forum/Gothard scandals happen I get sucked back in. Like this week when a fb friend posted a status about a “homeschool guru” I have long had concerns about, I immediately felt the need to contribute to the dialogue letting others know my experiences so they can make informed decisions for themselves. I try to chime in only when I feel I have information that may prevent others from making the choices I did.

    I don’t know whether what I am doing is healthy or not but that’s what is going on in my head. Anyone else ever get to this point after walking away from a group? How do you manage your need to move on, and leave all of this in the past, with your desire to help others either avoid movements like patriarchy, or leave if they are already in?

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  28. You know, Tawnya, I think that is something that you have to check for yourself and decide if it’s drawing you down the negative hole or not.

    From my perspective – at least right now while there is so much fallout from Phillips and Gothard, people are looking for answers – more than I have ever seen. I think your voice has been very helpful.

    There are so many who are trying to shed certain aspects of the Homeschool Movement, but as you and I saw last week on a particular thread, they are still there to some degree.

    I definitely see a distancing from the name “Patriarchy,” but some of that is appearances only. The core is still there.

    I always appreciate your voice here 🙂

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  29. “I don’t know whether what I am doing is healthy or not but that’s what is going on in my head. Anyone else ever get to this point after walking away from a group? How do you manage your need to move on, and leave all of this in the past, with your desire to help others either avoid movements like patriarchy, or leave if they are already in?”

    Oh Taunya, I love this question!

    I think the answer lies totally within ourselves as free thinking humans. So many want to say, move on and pretend it never happened. Stop talking about it or you won’t heal. (we know the opposite is true)

    I don’t think it is anyone’s business how we decide to deal with it.

    There are others who see it as a calling. And I see those types often pilloried as revengeful or disgruntled by many still stuck in those systems. Still they carry on analyzing, discussing and comforting others. And they often realize that what they do is for the folks coming out of it or the folks on the fence not sure what to think. The cure is THINKING for ourselves. Not as easy as it sounds.

    Just look at the last few years with the explosion of social media. When my spiritual abuse sitaution happened it was only blogs. Twitter had barely started. There is a whole new crop of people waking up whether it is patriarchy, Driscoll, sgm, SBC, IFB, Gothard, etc, etc.

    But I am tracking with you about that world. I literally get the creeps reading some stuff because it is so familiar. And I get very frustrated with some people who are constantly writing that they are praying for their guru charlatan to repent. It seems they really do not understand what they were dealing with at all. But then, I always view them as people who need a human leader. They cannot move past that.

    Isn’t the freedom to decide for yourself just fabulous?

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  30. @Cathryn

    You have loads of great observations from your experience with homeschooling, Christian school and all that goes with them. But a couple of lines confused me a bit.

    “I never homeschooled through SGA.” and “I suppose I was slightly off topic because we’re not members of the SGAs…”

    These made me think you understood “SGA” to be a homeschooling group of some kind when “SGA” in this context means “Second Generation Adult”–a group your children may be part of once they reach adulthood. You’re definitely not off-topic! I just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page as far as “SGA” was concerned.

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  31. “I always appreciate your voice here.”

    Thank you JA! I have always felt safe and welcome here from the very first time I posted. Thanks for creating such a great space on the web!

    “I think that is something that you have to check for yourself and decide if it’s drawing you down the negative hole or not.”

    This has been key for me JA. I think sometimes I have a tendency to feel overwhelmed by it all and need to step away for a bit and remember how wonderful life is. Other times interacting with people who truly understand the struggle is really beneficial. Checking myself, being in touch with my feelings is key.

    “There are others who see it as a calling. And I see those types often pilloried as revengeful or disgruntled by many still stuck in those systems. Still they carry on analyzing, discussing and comforting others. And they often realize that what they do is for the folks coming out of it or the folks on the fence not sure what to think. The cure is THINKING for ourselves. Not as easy as it sounds.”

    Lydia this is so true!! I thank God for women like JA and Cindy who are willing to stick their necks out to help us all. There are so few willing and able to do what they do. I will remember to pray for them both, I know it’s not easy!

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  32. Taunya,

    All I’m doing is repeating what others have told to me on my way out of this stuff. I had the luxury of doing all of that in private first. You and Julie Anne both have had to do that with your families in tow, and to some extent, have had to do it in public online. That makes it much rougher. Add to that the personal contact you had with manipulators like Voddie Baucham. He wields his education and talent around and threatens people with it. “No one is as smart and insightful as he is.” At least that’s what people tend to think.

    Then, there’s the experience of thinking that you got out and joined a safe group only to realize that they’re mixed up, too. Hopefully, you picked up enough info on your way out of the first group to find you way out. People are deceptive, and sometimes you can’t tell what you’re getting involved in until you’re in, but you can recognize the signs of manipulation and realize that you can get out.

    My exit counselor told me that it’s not uncommon to feel “non-commital” for about two years after you leave a high demand group. It takes awhile to process everything that you were “supposed” to believe. You have to deal with belief on your own terms, perhaps for the first time. If God is who He says, He can wait for you to figure things out and think through them.

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  33. “My exit counselor told me that it’s not uncommon to feel “non-commital” for about two years after you leave a high demand group. It takes awhile to process everything that you were “supposed” to believe. You have to deal with belief on your own terms, perhaps for the first time. If God is who He says, He can wait for you to figure things out and think through them.”

    Cindy and JA you both have moved me to tears this Sunday morning as I sit in my living room with no plans to get near any church. Cindy we are in the noncommittal phase now. It has been two years since we were members of a church and about six months since we stopped attending church and stopped looking for a church we felt comfortable with. We now happily stay home on Sunday, but there is always that guilt. Your words Cindy:

    “If God is who He says, He can wait for you to figure things out and think through them.”

    And JA your agreement with them were just the encouragement I needed this morning!

    THANK YOU!!!

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  34. Taunya said,”a group your children may be part of once they reach adulthood. You’re definitely not off-topic! I just wanted to make sure,”

    Forgive me, I did not realize what SGA meant. I could not open any of the videos posted with dial up and am rather unfamiliar with this site.

    I think that comment wasn’t very kind and was rather presumptuous and rather insulting.

    I told you my kids attended various types of schools over the years as well as homeschooling. Including public school where teachers are barely background checked and a new sex abuse case comes out of the wordwork in the news on a dauly basis (I know because I have my own website where I list links to the news articles and I used to be a reporter and talked to the police all the time.) My adult age children are are four very well adjusted adults and living in the real world and we never used any patriarchal style home education group as is seemingly assumed, when I told you we were not and I knew no other home educators who have.

    My oldest daughter graduated from UCSB with high honors and sought out her own scholarships like a healthy adult who does not rely on men. She is a teacher now.

    My oldest son (my step son) served in the US Navy and now has an excellent job and is living out on his own and has a great relationship with his parents.

    Our middle daughter works for a large grocery chain as a manager in the book keeping department and went to college as well. She is very responsible and her company says they can’t get along without her. Oh, and she calls me all the time though she lives an hour away so she can’t always come over.

    Our middle son (also my step son) served the US Army and came back from Afghanistan months ago and does not seem to have any PTSS or mental problems. He is returning to school to persue training in the advertising realm.

    My youngest daughter is a prolific writer who hates to cook and our youngest son is an artist and loves to cook (no gender profiling there.) Both are on their way to promising careers.

    Our youngest daughter heard Doug Philips tape one day when I bought it not knowing he was into the patriarchal nonsense and she thought it was rediculous as we all did.

    Definitely not a very nice thing to say or assume.

    I will not be back on this thread again.

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  35. Ack. Cathryn, I’m at praise and worship practice and have to play now, but I suspect there is a misunderstanding going on. I didn’t take Taunya’s comment the same as you. Let’s see if we can get clarification. Taunya, can you help?

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  36. Taunya speaks of “this Sunday morning as I sit in my living room with no plans to get near any church.” May I suggest that true church, as opposed to institutional church, is happening right now, on this blog, as we interact with one another. Surely we are gathered in His name so that He must be present.

    I also sit at home with no plans to get near any (organized) church. I will admit that I miss those I still claim as friends, but FWIW, I am free of guilt in the matter. I am free to attend organized church if I so choose, but I do not think listening to a lecture while viewing the backsides of people’s heads counts as Christian fellowship. Surely we are also free to fellowship in real life, face to face (or screen to screen), and surely that is the true fellowship of the called out body of Christ in which we are privileged to participate.

    According to the authority of Scripture, and as a member of the all-inclusive priesthood of believers, I hereby loose the bonds of false guilt you describe yourself as experiencing. (Surely I can do this, can I not?)

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  37. Cathryn, I am also unfamiliar with the term. I kept reading it the same way you did. It is often helpful when it is used first thing in an article to give the exact words and in parentheses use the letters so readers know what it means thereafter.

    I can relate to your experience with schools, too. However, I have no experience with homeschooling at all. I hope you stick around.

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  38. Gary, In some instances, according to my experience, attending certain churches can actually be sinning!

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  39. “May I suggest that true church, as opposed to institutional church, is happening right now, on this blog, as we interact with one another. Surely we are gathered in His name so that He must be present.”

    I agree Gary W., and it’s a beautiful thing!!

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  40. JA,
    Please send Cathryn an email advising her of the misunderstanding and that most of us here value her presence.

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  41. And please ask Cathryn to re-read the comments as she has wrongly attributed that quote to me when in fact I did not address her, Tiquatue made that statement. Thanks!! I don’t want her to think I am ignoring her!

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  42. Cathryn:
    I think many folks on this site have been part of highly controlling cult-like groups. Some unfortunately respond by lumping all those who homeschool together. They cannot see beyond their own experience. It is just a variation on black and white thinking. Once homeschooling/patriarchy/courtship (insert “movement” of “-ism” here) was good, now it is bad. This is especially the case if you homeschool for religious reasons. Some in the anti-homeschooling crowd are as narrow-minded as their opponents.

    As regards the article my Mr. Stollar, I understand his concept. It is however marred by the use of an obscenity repeatedly. This is the kind of language expected from teens and drunken soldiers, and adds nothing to the parable. Slouch on America!

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  43. FYI Regarding contacting Cathryn via e-mail: I have a policy that I try very hard to uphold and that is to never contact someone privately using the e-mail they use to post. The reason is because this is a blog which deals with all kinds of abuse. I don’t know if the e-mail is a shared account or what. So out of respect for people and their privacy and personal boundaries, I will not make an attempt to e-mail Cathryn. I would, however, contact someone if they had previously contacted me via e-mail.

    One idea is to leave a note on another thread that Cathryn has posted on and ask her there.

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  44. Keith,

    That word in Ryan’s post is actually used far more commonly in Britain. We Yanks have even more of a problem with it than they do and use it less.

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  45. Oh — I’m not advocating for the use of vulgar terms. I have a penchant for one of German origin and some Irish variations on it, along with a couple of Pennsylvania Dutch ones. I’m far from proud of it, but I think that I’d rather be guilty of them than of “Oh my God” which seems cast into my culture.

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  46. ‘As regards the article my Mr. Stollar, I understand his concept. It is however marred by the use of an obscenity repeatedly. This is the kind of language expected from teens and drunken soldiers, and adds nothing to the parable. Slouch on America!’

    And the irony is that now he has freedom to use such language BECAUSE he was in a high controlling religious group. Sadly, that is how these things tend to work. Fundies become lefties, and so on. The high controlling religious group ends up spawning what they fear the most.

    I would suggest focusing on content considering the backstory. Seems the least we can do.

    Have you ever ministered in the inner city? I will quote Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey: Don’t be such a big girls blouse about it. :o)

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  47. Cindy K: I have just grown tired of this type of language. The English love it, and Americans can’t seem to get enough of it. I don’t say “Oh my G’ or the “F” word, so I am not one of the cool kids.

    Both are really slouchy practices, in my opinion. In Mr. Stollar’s parable, the words really don’t make any sense, and don’t add anything to the point he is trying to make.

    A few weeks back we were listening to some jail calls. The defendant’s vocabulary was so stunted that his all-purpose adjective was something like “fu(insert a slight grunt) en” which is apparently the “F” word in decline.

    But who am i kidding, we all know it is great stuff, especially for kids, and our society is enriched by such usages. Plus, one might become one of the cool kids, by uttering enough obscenities.

    I will occasionally utter a vulgarity. The moral status of these is unclear. One word is simply a germanic word for feces. The latter sounds worse to my ear than the former.

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  48. Lydia: I don’t watch Downton Abbey, and I don’t wear blouses. Thus I really don’t understand what you are saying. I have also known plenty of people from inner-cities who don’t have to use the language of the barely-pubescent and the intoxicated to make a point.

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  49. Lydia: I am struck by your observation that people who leave these groups become what they “fear”. It seems to me that this illustrates the point I made above. Do they lack self-control so much that they cannot decide for themselves to perhaps get out the thesaurus and look up a few adjectives? Are they doomed, because of prior experiences, to become foul-mouthed, promiscuous, irreligious, or trendy?

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  50. ‘Lydia: I don’t watch Downton Abbey, and I don’t wear blouses. Thus I really don’t understand what you are saying. I have also known plenty of people from inner-cities who don’t have to use the language of the barely-pubescent and the intoxicated to make a point.’

    You are missing a great show. They only speak the Queen’s English…even when they tease and or insult.

    Have you spent no time in a public High School or on a college campus? The language is horrible. And because it is so prevalent it is not even disciplined in public schools anymore. It is ignored. One is assaulted by it minute by minute.

    My question is what can be done about it? I have come to the conclusion one can only engage content using proper language trying to elevate the discourse. Other than that, perhaps one can simply avoid all people who use vulgar language. Good luck with that one.

    I will bet the farm that Ryan grew up in a home where that sort of language was not only verboten but would have brought some serious discipline. Now he is free to use it because perhaps to him (I know of others who think this), other abuses were even worse. But, those “other” worse abuses were seen as “godly” by their group. Such is the state of Christendom. We will freak out over bad language ignoring other abuses that are far worse to a person over their lifetime. Straining at gnats while Rome is on fire.

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  51. “Lydia: I am struck by your observation that people who leave these groups become what they “fear”. It seems to me that this illustrates the point I made above. Do they lack self-control so much that they cannot decide for themselves to perhaps get out the thesaurus and look up a few adjectives? Are they doomed, because of prior experiences, to become foul-mouthed, promiscuous, irreligious, or trendy?”

    You might want to get up to speed on the stages people go through when they leave cults or high demand groups. As to it being a lack of self control, I would say it is more like they had their thinking done for them for most of their growing up years. They were told what to believe, what to think, etc. They did not really go through the process of the gawky teen years of trying out things in a safe loving environment (prodigal son type). It was verboten. So when they leave why be shocked they do what was verboten?

    God help them if the first church they decide to attend after years of exile from the high demand group, is yours. I hope it is mine. I will ignore their f word and listen to their story and subsequent journey out.
    .

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  52. Keith,

    I was never, ever, in any sense, a cool kid. My parents grew up in very moral but not in expressly Christian or evangelical homes, and only a few of the more tame words flew around from time to time – usually in quoting someone else. I heard “Oh my God” all the time and once argued with a pastor as a teen that it was not improper. We kids were permitted by my grandmother to get away with the Irish versions of bum and feces now and then. (Not often — usually only for quoting someone.) What was not ever tolerated under any circumstances was any kind of expression of anger on my part.

    When I got out of my cult when I was over thirty, I was overwhelmed with the anger I was never permitted to feel. Some of those adult expletives made their way into my expressions of anger for the same reasons I think that many SGAs use them. I’ve only begun to make peace with anger instead of turning it inward, and I have definitely not become proficient at it. I used to rationalize it by turning it inward in condemnation, and cursing is a quick and unpleasant way of getting rid of it.

    I’m a WYSIWYG kind of girl, and that doesn’t really help me in anger’s expression. I’ve had to study as an adult how to be angry, how to tolerate ambiguity, how to tolerate discomfort, and how to self-soothe as a function of all of these. I had little peace and security modeled for me, even as a mother models this for her infant as she feeds and cares peacefully for her children. I’ve grown in the ability to self-soothe, but anger is a beast. And I had a lot to get rid of and have great difficulty when certain things trigger it. That’s part of being an SGA.

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  53. Lydia: What do you know about my church? Are we abusers for disliking the “F” word? Has it really come that far? Is your church “obscenity-friendly” or something?
    What can be done about it? If it is around my children or my wife, I tell them to stop spewing foul language. So far, they usually stop.

    I don’t think being a public schooler, former homeschooler or public university student gives one the right to utter obscenities at will. It certainly does not excuse the refusal by a literate person to look up a few adjectives. Plus, it has never been scientifically proven that either mice or elephants utter obscenities.

    Cindy K: You were right to argue against that particular expression. I am as sick of it as I am the “F” word.

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  54. Keith,

    I was arguing for it at the time. It was vernacular in my home (which was not Evangelical), and I said it more often than anyone else. My mom was saved when I was about four or five, and my dad didn’t become a believer until I was almost done with high school. Mom and I downplayed any outward expressions of religious stuff for the most part so that my dad wouldn’t get upset. We didn’t even say grace.

    My high school teacher, a mentor to me, first pointed it out to me, for not only did I not see it as improper — I didn’t even know that I used it as often as I did.

    Though I strive to be holy out of love for my Savior, I am terrible at pretense and don’t wish to pawn myself off as anything other than what I am — a marvelous mess who aspires to be more and more holy. By God’s grace, that is possible, and I strive to figure out how that happens. It is not for my outward piety but comes through the work that the Spirit and the Word do in me. (I can make that easy, and some days, I make it harder by clinging to my own will.) Some days, I tell the Lord that I am so glad that His mercies are new every morning because I think that I wear them all out early in the day.

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  55. Finally got back to read the comments following mine.

    Cathryn, I apologize. I did not intend to come across as either presumptuous or insulting. My only goal was to correct a misapprehension. You have a lot of great observations, as I said. It’s great that your kids are and will not be those Second Generation Adults.

    I would point out to everyone that Cindy defined the term SGA in the very first line of this post–which is why I was so confused over Cathryn’s use of it. (In fact, Cindy has defined the term in both parts Three and Four of her series. However, there’s no assuming that everyone has read those sections.)

    Again, Cathryn. I apologize. I will now respectfully bow out of this particular discussion.

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  56. Okay, no hard feelings. No worries.

    Parents get kind of defensive when we’re told we’re somehow abusive for attempting to do the best we can, particulary if we’re making an extra effort.

    I won’t claim to be perfect. But no one can criticize my “perfect kids.” Moms have bragging rights IMO.

    And by the way, my 26 year old daughter recently told me she wished I had homeschooled her all the way through school rather than just for part of her schooling. So I doubt she’ll be coming here any time soon. We’re good. Sorry for the oversite Taunya and for my over reaction.

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  57. I hope that nobody feels like they need to bow out because of a disagreement or conflict. It’s ok to have spirited discussions with differing opinions here.

    Thanks for your willingness (all) to iron this out and not sweep it under the rug. Very cool.

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  58. tiquatue, I probably did not read things above carefully enough because I often speed read. And I also was so excited to share on this topic I wasn’t paying close enough attention. No hard feelings.

    I’m sure there are many students who experienced bad things homeschooling and I do not want to ignore that or minimize it.

    But being a mother I felt defensive about the idea anyone would criticize how my kids turned out. Sorry for the over reaction.

    And thanks everyone for caring whether I was upset.

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  59. Actually I think might have gotten the impression about SGA being a cult like homeschooling group because of Sovereign Grace Ministries. SGM. Perhaps I have eaten too much sugar lately. That’s just silly.

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  60. Cathryn,

    Your comment encourages to make sure to clearly define things like SGA. Sometimes we get lazy and assume people know what we’re talking about.

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  61. Cathryn,

    Actually, it is really hard as a parent to process some of this stuff, even if you have nothing to do with homeschooling. I had a friend who has daughters read the book Quivering Daughters, and she has nothing to do with this end of homsechooling. She found it difficult, just because she parents daughters. As a parent, you know that you don’t do a perfect job, and you learn from mistakes. And who wants to make any mistakes with someone that you love so much?

    I think that this highlights how hard it is for parents who have slipped into this cultic stuff to think about any of these things and why it becomes easy to scapegoat kids or even patriarchy. It’s safer and less painful.

    And the discussion is very painful.

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  62. Yes, perhaps some of the kids coming out of a controlling situation might find their parents are impossible to talk to because many parents won’t take criticism. But this is not only true of cults or unhealthy groups. I used to counsel families and many parents (regardless of their schooling types or religious affiliation or beliefs) were unapproachable for their teens. Some parents were druggies, others cops, others drunks that were mad at their kids for drinking even though they did too.

    I also know some home educators whose kids won’t talk to them any longer. There had to be something really wrong in the relationship on either or both ends.

    Our kids ought to know about various lifestyles and the larger world around them rather than being overly sheltered. They should learn about world religions, cultures, lifestyles Christians disapprove of (in a loving way) evolution, sex ed, etc because ultimately there will come a day they must choose their faith for themselves.

    It’s like the old song, “But God bless the child that’s got his own (faith rather than his parents’)”

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  63. Re what Julie Anne said, “Your comment encourages to make sure to clearly define things like SGA. Sometimes we get lazy and assume people know what we’re talking about.”

    Actually I looked at your article info above and what you did was absolutely right. Even reporters with AP do it as you did. FIrst they use the entire phrase and then the initials in parenthesis (SGA) as you did. No the fault was completely mine. A silly oversite on my part.

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  64. “Sorry for the oversite Taunya and for my over reaction.”

    No problem at all Cathryn it could happen to anyone. I just did not want to continue commenting without addressing it for fear you would think I was ignoring you. This stuff can bring out a myriad of emotions, it is easy to feel defensive when discussing the way we have chosen to raise our kids. It’s still hard for me, homeschooling was a wonderful thing in so many ways, my oldest who had been homeschooled since she was 5 just finished her first year at a secular university with a 3.9 GPA. Her classmates are always asking her for help and I even had one tell me she wished she were homeschooled because she feels like my daughter was better prepared for college than she. Things like that make me happy I homeschooled, my oldest says if she had it to do all over again she would still choose to be homeschooled but she would avoid all religious groups.

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  65. “Lydia: What do you know about my church?

    I know nothing about your church. I was responding to your words here and what you chose to focus on concerning Ryan.

    “Are we abusers for disliking the “F” word?”

    That would make me an abuser. I loathe that word and it would take a gun to my head to make me say it.

    ” Has it really come that far? Is your church “obscenity-friendly” or something?”

    I know of many churches where people have to pass a sort of appearance test to even visit or they are marginalized right up front.

    “What can be done about it? If it is around my children or my wife, I tell them to stop spewing foul language. So far, they usually stop. ”

    I hope you are able to protect them from hearing the f word for the rest of their lives. Good luck with that. Perhaps it would be wiser to teach them to rise above it when it appears and focus on content/person. Otherwise they will need to live in a bubble where you can protect their ears.

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  66. Lydia: I cannot protect them from it forever, however I can try to stop another from spewing a barrage of unsolicited obscenities and profanities when my family are present. If more people stood up to this swill it would not be so prevalent.

    “Wiser”? the obscenity is in fact what is coming out of the person, to paraphrase St. Matthew. Perhaps obscenity/profanity community feels a need to “let it all hang out”. Pretty selfish.

    No appearance test at my church.

    My point about the parable is that he inserted the word repeatedly, thus detracting from the point he was trying to make.

    As regards the substance of the parable, I am not completely convinced. The elephant, although quite intelligent, is not a human being.

    A bubble? Foul language has become acceptable in public places only in recent years. Its triumph is not inevitable.

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  67. “Lydia: I cannot protect them from it forever, however I can try to stop another from spewing a barrage of unsolicited obscenities and profanities when my family are present. If more people stood up to this swill it would not be so prevalent.”

    I think they are better ways to deal with it than how you have approached it on this blog thread concerning a parable written by one coming out of a high demand religious group. .

    I would have much rather have interacted with you on the content of the parable. Who/what the elephant represents and who/what the mouse represents. I got it. But then I have seen quite a few big important celebrity Christians step all over other people then tell those they stepped on that they are actually the problem.

    “The elephant, although quite intelligent, is not a human being.”

    Scripture uses animal metaphors all the time. Lions, Lambs, eagle, etc. However, I see your ponit because some Christian leaders see sheep as dumb and take that metaphor way to far only mapping themselves to the shepherd function.

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  68. “…better ways to deal with it…” Do you mean the parable, or someone uttering obscenities and profanities in front of my wife and children?

    If you mean the former, all I have said is that the use of the obscenity detracts from his point. Why read it uncritically? Is his writing not subject to critique because of his former membership in a particular religious group?

    If the latter, i have found that confronting the obscenity/profanity community works quite well. Perhaps I should be more affirming and empowering towards them but just cannot see any value in their obscenity/profanity.

    Of course there is always the option of giving in to the obscenity/profanity community. Perhaps I will adopt the “F” word as my mantra for today.

    The elephant and mouse are actually great illustrations. Their comparative size serves as a good analogy to the disparate power of leaders and followers in a cult.
    But the mouse has a good way out. He can run from the elephant. He is quicker and more agile than the elephant. Does the analogy extend that far?

    Are the leaders like the elephant, powerful but cumbersome?

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  69. Keith,

    Cindy posted a warning about the language in the article. You had a choice to read it or not read it. You chose the former. I’m okay with airing your opinion about the language, but for how long? And hijacking the thread for the purpose of airing your opinion on something you didn’t have to read and were warned about?

    Ryan is my friend and I love him like a son (he’s around Hannah’s age). I don’t particularly care for F bomb used casually. Sometimes I see how it could be an appropriate word to say when nothing else seems to match the level of anger I feel about a certain situation. But I do not have the right to impose my tastes on someone else, especially someone who lived in a legalistic black/white environment and is essentially detoxing from their upbringing. Detoxing is not something that happens overnight, but takes years.

    The #1 complaint I read from Second Generation Adults, specifically adults who were in the Homeschool Movement, is that so many parents don’t want to really listen to them and their stories. I think you proved their point. Instead of trying to connect with the heart of Ryan’s message, you’ve complained about the language and now the choice of metaphor. What a shame.

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  70. I
    Did you read the last part of my comment where I draw the analogy further? Or does that not go to the substance of the parable? It certainly connects with the the heart of the analogy.

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  71. In addition, i compliment your friend on his choice of characters to use as analogies to the ‘leader” and “follower”.

    I have proved the point that parents don’t really listen? Then why am I talking about what he has written? If my sin is in not being fine with obscenity, mea culpa, but you simply cannot say I have proven your point regarding homeschool parents not listening. i listen to my children, and I am trying to listen to and perhaps even extend his analogy. Numerous posts above are much further off topic than my last two.

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  72. Julie Anne: I did not complain about the choice of the metaphor, rather I said it was a good one.

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  73. I was reading over some comments above regarding church or Christian fellowship and taking time away from that to heal after an unhealthy experience. This can be a great idea with regard to both churches and homeschool groups, taking a break from any group after a high demand situation. We’ve taken breaks from organized church and a homeschool group.

    I think, it is good and healthy to do and did not allow anyone to guilt me otherwise, though there were believers I knew who tried. It is difficult because we know the Bible says not to forsake the fellowship of the brethren. But one does not really have to do that in order to take a break from organized Sunday fellowship. As someone stated this is a place of fellowship as is our home and family (assuming family members are believers.)

    We started doing worship at home on Sundays and going through the Bible together as a family after our church (my Bible college) closed down because we can’t find a healthy church here in so. cal. But we were doing this all along during the week anyhow. But we added more group worship and communion on Sundays. This is because we can’t see joining a church that’s “doing life” with books in a dialectic manner for the collective group think, rather than a gifted pastor or teacher using the the Bible and rather than going to a rock and roll concert that blasts our ears out when our son has hearing problems. We feel the organized church seems to be falling into a state of apostacy (hope I’m not offending anyone by my description.

    Anyhow, I’m off to teach my children for the day, so I’ll probably check back later.

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  74. Keith,

    But the mouse has a good way out. He can run from the elephant. He is quicker and more agile than the elephant. Does the analogy extend that far?

    I would argue that the mouse is often constrained by bounded choice, developmental deficits, love (however dysfunctional), etc. associated with being an SGA. I was married for a decade and a half before I was strong enough to start walking away from my elephant (my parents).

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  75. I also had in mind that because of the “you’re still stepping on my toes” comment on behalf of the mouse that the elephant had that mouse partially pinned down. Stepping connoted standing on because the pain was ongoing. Perhaps I read that into things because of how I felt about my family of origin. The mouse was constrained from fleeing. That is a big issue in parental alienation. Despite the adult child’s desire to be free, they do wish to be connected to that parent, though that may not be apparent.

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  76. Julie Anne: I did not complain about the choice of the metaphor, rather I said it was a good one.

    Sorry, I should have quoted what I was referring to. This:

    As regards the substance of the parable, I am not completely convinced. The elephant, although quite intelligent, is not a human being.

    The point of putting a disclaimer is in case it offends someone, they don’t have to read it. She was saying – “the message is much more important than the “colorful language” you may have difficulty with, but be forewarned.” You obviously have issues with profanity, yet you chose to read it and then complained.

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  77. That was not a complaint. It was thinking out loud, hoping to get some thoughtful discussion on the parable. How many times do i have to say that I liked the metaphor. I liked it. I said that.

    Thanks for telling what my problem is. “Offended”, no I am not offended. i hear this kind of profanity everyday, from the criminals I prosecute, to the slouches on the street. It was actually meant as a constructive criticism.

    My point was not to complain, but to point out that the parable is more effective without obscenity.

    It was not a matter of offense, but thanks for characterizing it as such. You seem a lot more authoritarian than the last time I interacted with you. I don’t understand it.

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  78. “Thanks for telling what my problem is. “Offended”, no I am not offended. i hear this kind of profanity everyday, from the criminals I prosecute, to the slouches on the street. It was actually meant as a constructive criticism.”

    Keith I have many fb friends and family who are attorneys I also have less educated/successful fb friends. Most of my fb friends do not use profanity, at least not on fb, but I have one who ALWAYS does, and the f-word appears to be her favorite. This woman is educated, smart and successful, she has an awesome marriage to her middle school sweetheart and three well behaved children. Your comment above seems to insinuate that it is the criminals and deadbeats in our society that mainly use this language, and nothing could be further from the truth. I am sure you have heard this language among professionals you have come into contact with as well, at least on occasion, why not mention them?

    Personally I don’t use it, it’s just never been a part of me but I don’t judge others who do and I don’t like it when people claim that language like this is more prevalent among liberals, or criminals or any other segment of society they consider to be troubled or “on the wrong path”.

    Perhaps that is not what you are saying here but your comment regarding language seems to have a condescending nature that is not helpful, especially on a spiritual abuse blog, it triggers what many of us heard from “religious professionals” who cared more about outward appearances than what was going on in the heart. It would be nice if we could learn to leave judgment out of simple things like language. Who cares what words Ryan chose to use, we should all be more interested in the meaning/message behind his words.

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  79. Keith,
    From your initial comment about Ryan’s choice of words, I think I counted 7 additional comments on the same topic.

    Cindy was aware that the word choice could be a distraction and so she addressed it so the focus could be on the content. You hijacked the thread to discuss profanity and now have criticized me for being authoritarian when I’m doing my job as a moderator to make sure topics stay on topic. I wonder how many comments this new diversion will add to the thread?

    Please stay on topic. The subject of this article is not the choice of words an author used in a linked article.

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  80. Julie Anne: I merely responded to people who took two lines in my response to Cathryn and made it the issue. My response to her, which was meant to be supportive, contained a larger paragraph of 6 or 7 lines. Then one poster prejudged my church. You told me I am not listening, which is wrong factually and unfair to me because I am doing precisely that. I am highjacking the thread when my last posts were solely about the parable and its meaning? Or I am not to respond when posters have a go at me?

    Meanwhile, I am trying to discuss the parable/analogy substantively. Cindy K gave an interesting response regarding the mouse, i.e. that the elephant has him pinned down. This draws out the meaning of the Stollar parable, relating it to the concept of parental alienation. All of this is squarely on topic. It is certainly making some things clearer to me about what this man is driving at. Her comment resonated with me because of an individual I know who has been in an abusive family relationship with near-cultic overtones. Is that aspect of the discussion no-topic or off-topic?

    Taunya: The slouches I am referring to are from all walks of life. Many of the criminals have had no real guidance in life. Many of the worst have no real excuse,

    Julie Ann: Just ban me. Thanks!

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  81. Keith,

    If what I’m reading is right, I think people are concerned about trying to offer more compassion to those who have been wounded by homeschooling. Given the habits of their generation, the baggage they carry, and their frustration, “expletives” comes along with that package quite often.

    I know that I hoped to engender more understanding and acceptance of the group of people who have been homeschooled but are characterized as “homeschool apostates.” I don’t think that they’re done working out all of that and probably won’t be for awhile. Some people have turned things into a personal issue, and some have targeted Ryan in particular. As much as Cathryn jumped in to defend the honor of her kids under the “Perfect Kid Syndrome” idea, Julie Anne (and I) are a bit sensitive about some of this harsh criticism of those we understand as survivors of the aftermath of some of this religious ideology mingled with what often becomes dysfunctional parenting.

    For me on the issue of language, I can hardly talk about it without being like the Pharisee who looked down on the poor sinner to feel better about himself. And I do strongly identify with the SGAs who have come through homeschooling with less than favorable opinions about the culture and its pitfalls.

    Can we reframe the issue as one of how we can figure out — as good Christians or just good moralists — to reconnect and show Christian love and compassion to this group, despite those things that seem to broaden the gap of disconnect? Choice language seems to be one of those factors. There are many others including advocating for standards in homeschooling (government or otherwise — and I think that the “otherwise” option is far preferable). What can we do to balance holiness against mercy? Some parents seem laser focused on maintaining purity at the expense of offering appropriate parental love to their children. That makes this stuff a trigger topic for many.

    Perhaps another question to ask involves whether a family is called to have nothing to do with an “unrepentant sinner” like Paul instructs a local body of believers. Does that apply to parents as their adult children move away from their inherited vicarious faith into their own true faith? How do we encourage them in righteousness and faith in Jesus without coercing them or provoking them?

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  82. Keith,

    Consider that if you are a parent that has alienated your child from family or from religion or from a relationship with God in some way because of the demands of a spiritually abusive religious culture, it’s hard to watch someone take a hard line on the SGA who is still trying to figure out what the heck happened to them. I’m not a parent but would have been if God had so planned it that way, and I would have been right in on this subculture from the parent’s perspective.

    That puts me in a weird position wherein I identify with both SGA and parent. Yet at the same time, I’m held at arm’s length as an outsider, though I feel regret for supporting my peers in much of this. With kids, I imagine that I would be in much the same boat as Julie Anne. I weep over both the injustice these adults have suffered, and I weep knowing that I was a part of some of that and would have been no different than many of those parents who pushed their kids.

    But I am also hopeful that by looking at the issue from the perspective of manipulation, we can hopefully find tools to meet in the middle.

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  83. Cindy K: I think I should respond to your comments, although I will not be commenting on this site after today.

    I don’t really see a Biblical basis for the idea of shunning a child. It is wholly different from church discipline. The account of the prodigal son comes to mind. Children will not always make the same choices their parents make, even when they are still below the age of majority. I have five children, and cannot think of anything they could do to cause me to shun them. I make a distinction in the case of a child who presents a real danger of significant physical harm to parents and siblings. In that case, i would not cut off contact with them, but would maintain physical distance for safety’s sake God loves us, though we sin all the time. It seems we should try our best to love our children as God loves us.

    As regards the SGA/parent situation, without knowing what you mean when you say you were a part of the injustice done, I think it is possible you are being a little hard on yourself. In these groups it appears there is fair amount of deception practiced. It is hard to think critically when information given to you is not only imperfect, or even falsified. Further, the decisions other parents made regarding child-rearing are not your responsibility, so you should not burden yourself with them. We are not perfect in our ability to discern. As far as alienating a person from God, this too strikes me as being beyond the responsibility of the parent or friend of the family. Some people are not naturally critical of “leaders’ and “experts”, my own temperament is just the opposite, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

    it is also significant that within the general term “Christian Homeschooling” there are a variety of philosophies and practices. By supporting homeschooling generally, you have not thereby endorsed mind-control, or cultish behaviour. Again, I don’t know the details of how you might feel partially responsible, but to me you are putting too much of a burden on yourself.

    As far as encouraging the SGA in righteousness and faith, the best approach would be by example. These people should be loved. This must be difficult because these groups have put such a burden on their members to conform to practices and ideas that are not scripturally mandated. The parent who still thinks like Gothard, for example is probably going to have a hard time maintaining a relationship with a child who believes differently. This is a loss to both the parent and the child, but I would blame the parent for letting a system of belief stand in the way.

    Balancing holiness and mercy i think requires one to always err on the side of mercy. If an adult child engages in conduct which the parent strongly objects to, then the parent should walk away. It is not my view that the parent may not advise the adult son or daughter that the conduct is unwise, or sinful. But as a practical matter, the child has to get his or her own footing in life at some point.

    I cannot address your remarks specifically regarding the language issue, as IIunderstand it has been determined to be off-topic.

    Please forgive any typos in this comment. I have mislaid my reading glasses, and can’t get a goos focus on the screen.

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  84. Reading Ryan’s short parable, I kept expecting Elephant to make some snobbish comment about Mouse’s supposed class origins, because of the repeated use of the F bomb.

    While understanding the Biblical arguments made against Christians using profanity, I have believed for many years that taking the name of God in vain (breaking the 3rd commandment) is actually worse than using four letter cuss words based on various bodily functions. Yet, it’s interesting how our culture sees the latter as worse than the former.

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  85. I just came across this: AnnaLynne McCord (whom I’ve never heard of until today — I’m so out of touch over here) is speaking on being brought up in a strict, religious household, though I don’t know whether homeschooling was involved. Regular beatings were involved, however, and in this interview she discusses some of the fallout from that, and how she’s tried to work things out in her life.

    http://www.accesshollywood.com/annalynne-mccord-discusses-past-sexual-assault-exclusive_video_2198037

    (JA: Please let me know if this is too far off-topic.)
    JA note: No, it’s fine and it also is pertinent. thanks!

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