Pitfalls of Homeschooling

Looking back over my life I am some what of an anomaly. I was homeschooled and public schooled, I was a PK, not a PK, involved in sports through the public school, in choir through the school then went to a private Christian liberal arts college where I studied Biblical Literature and helped out at a church nearby. I like to say since I entered youth group in 7th grade, I haven’t left! One thing I’ve been reflecting on recently is the homeschool movement. I just read a great article recommended by Joshua Harris (who’s family have been big proponents of the homeschool movement) entitled ‘Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling: Exposing the 7 major blindspots of homeschoolers’ by Reb Bradley. It honestly took the words right out of my mouth in my experience with both being homeschooled and looking at other homeschoolers. My best friends to this day are the homeschool friends I had in high school, and we’ve all turned out ‘normal’ for the most part (we can at least blend in to a crowd 🙂 ) I’m really grateful for the way our parents raised us and took an interest in all of our lives. I knew when I’d go over to my friends’ houses that their parents would take time to talk to us and see how we (and I) were doing. When I go home today I’ll stop by their houses to talk to the parents and catch up. The weaknesses Reb identifies are:

1. Having Self-Centered Dreams

2. Raising Family as an Idol

3. Emphasizing Outward Form

4. Tending to Judge

5. Dependence on Formulas

6. Over-Dependence on Authority and Control

7. Over-Reliance Upon Sheltering

8. Not Passing On a Pure Faith

9. Not Cultivating a Loving Relationship With Our Children

He goes on to expound upon each of these points in great detail and it’s definitely worth the read. I’m not trying to say that homeschooling is all bad either! Public school isn’t always the best option either. I learned nothing new in academics through public school, but learned a lot about guys bodies and new words and how to make fun of the “uncool” people. So what is the answer? There isn’t one, which is hard to hear and think about. As Mark Driscoll says, it depends on age, stage and location. Ultimately parents are given the responsibility to guide and lead the learning of their children but this can be done through homeschool, private, or public school. The main thing to remember is that faith is caught, not taught. If the Christian faith is all about doing the right thing, dressing the right way and saying the right things then the children are going to look for every opportunity to get away from it. Being a parent takes so much work of investing and caring for your children and taking the time to live out a true Christian life as a model for them. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking the time to do that for me!

(Joshua Harris’ condensed version of the article can be found here.)

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John Carter

I did what I used to do in college last night and went to the midnight showing of John Carter. I read the books this movie was based on my Junior year and had been hoping this movie would be made sometime in the near future. The movie takes you on quite the ride!

As typically happens with book adaptations, there were many parts of the movie that were different, and I don’t think all the changes were great. This book essentially tried to piece together all the parts from the first 3 books of the series which often felt rushed and incoherent. The story itself is a great idea: a man is magically transported to Mars from Earth where he has super human strength because of the difference in gravitational pull and finds himself immersed in a war between the different nations and falls in love with the princess…of Mars. Graphically the movie was incredible (I’d expect nothing less from Andrew Stanton, director of Wall-E). I saw it in 3-D and felt completely immersed in the world of Mars. However, the story felt too rushed like they tried to fit too many pieces into this one movie. For those who haven’t read the book I could see it being very frustrating because there isn’t a lot of help about what is going on in the story.

A theme through the movie is the changing of heart/redemption of John Carter. At the beginning of the movie we see that he is selfish and unwilling to help anyone but himself. Through the course of the movie we learn why, and get to see his change of heart to one who is willing to lay down his life for others (sound familiar?).

This movie is rated PG-13 and does have some violent scenes as well as a couple bad words. I’d suggest seeing it with those that are 14 and up. It definitely is a fun movie to watch, despite some of the plot holes and rushed pace.

Demons vs Angels

In preparing for my Bible study last week, I was told to get ready for the question, “Why do demons possess people but angels don’t?” Wow! I was not expecting to be dealing with a question like that! How do you answer that? There’s nothing in Scripture that says, “This is why demons possess people but angels don’t.” Ultimately, we know that demons are fallen angels (Revelation 12:3-4) so angels should be able to do the same thing demons do.

I poured over Scripture for the week leading up to the study trying to find something that would help answer the question to no success. I then started theorizing and doing some biblical theology and logic, as well as bouncing my ideas off the other pastors on the staff at church. I think at the very core of the issue is the aim of angels and demons. Angels whole aim and purpose is to please and glorify God. God created humans with a free will in order to chose him or chose yourself, worshiping yourself and making yourself a “god” instead of worshiping the one true God. Because angels want to please and glorify God they will respect and honor his creation, they do not want to impose their will on us because that is ungodly.

The picture above is a good picture of this. Jesus stands at the door and knocks, but the door handle is only on the other side. Jesus won’t impose himself upon you because he wants you to freely worship and praise him! (There are some exceptions, think of Paul in Acts 9) The angels follow Christ in this, not imposing their wills on His creation. Fallen angels, or demons, attempt to destroy God’s creation and invert the way God intended creation to be made.

Christians are also to be in dwelt by the Holy Spirit. As the songs says, “There’s a God shaped hole in all of us” that we attempt to fill with our own little gods. Demons try to fill this hole as well but can never satisfy us like God can.

It’s also interesting to note that Christians who try to manipulate others to get them to do their will are acting in a demonic fashion. Are there some things that you need to let go of in order to stop hindering God’s work in someone’s life?

(HT: Dr. Heth)

Matthew 9

I had the privilege of teaching a Bible study at my church this past Wednesday and taught from Matthew 9. A couple of verses from that chapter have really grabbed a hold of my mind this week, the two parables he tells in verses 16-17. I hadn’t ever taken the time before to slow down and think through what Jesus is saying with these stories. Jesus is telling us he’s starting completely over! He isn’t trying to take what’s been done before and repackage it for a new day (as the Pharisee’s were doing) but he’s starting everything new! Just as Aslan did in Narnia when he returned, bringing Spring back to the world and restoring everything to it’s natural order, Jesus has restored everything to himself (Colossians 1:20). This is also exactly what Jesus did for us at the moment of conversion. Instead of repackaging or patching up our old life, he gives us a completely new life in him. We are dead to sin because of Christ’s work on the cross. This is just like Paul said in Romans 7:6 “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” The ESV Study Bible says, “Christians are free from the Mosaic law and now enjoy new life in the Spirit.” Praise God for that new life!

Tim Keller at Oxford

Tim Keller recently attended Oxford and answered some very tough questions ranging from homosexuality, evolution, God being love and the reason God created man. His responses can be found here.