Monthly Archives: May 2008
Several weeks ago I mentioned the apron swap project. Well, here is my finished apron that I am putting in the mail today. I am hoping my far-away-apron-recipient will like it and I anxiously await the arrival of my own apron any day now!
A long time ago, before toddlers, I used to love to sew and really was a fairly accomplished seamstress. And then my 6th child was born. Joe was absolutely fascinated with the sewing machine and just couldn’t leave it alone. Then when he was older and loved doing all sorts of projects himself, he would always pull out the craft box to work alongside of me. As lovely as that sounds (at least it should sound lovely to a homeschooling mom) it was actually quite annoying. So I put my machine away for a long time.
When Mollie became engaged, she really wanted me to make her wedding dress, so Clay bought me a new Bernina, a wonderful gift that was less than the cost of a wedding gown! We managed to make not only her dress but several other items for the wedding. The whole process makes for a lovely memory but I still haven’t sewn much in the past 7 years since then, mostly because I sort of burned out on sewing. This apron project will, hopefully, insight me into further fabric feats!
Now I hope to finish a rag doll and a dress for Penelope for her birthday.
“Biographies are the great antidote to cultural myopia and chronological snobbery.” John Piper
This is my new favorite salad and I love to serve it with grilled or roasted garlic-lemon chicken and baked potatoes.
8 cups fresh baby arugula or combination baby leaf lettuce
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl, whisking until sugar and salt are dissolved and adding olive oil a little at a time. In another bowl, mix the lettuce, red onion, almonds and craisins. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing. (To toast the almonds, place in single layer on cookie sheet in 375 degree oven for about 6 -8 minutes.)
As Clay and I have processed these recent podcasts, our discussions keep coming back to the various ways that spiritual abuse specifically effects the lives of homeschooling families. including how we relate to each other as husbands and wives and how we raise our precious children.
This morning we realized that several aspects of this most important topic haven’t been addressed and so we decided to record one more podcast outlining some of these issues as well as to offer some suggestions for addressing them. We will be airing it, Lord-willing, on May 30th.
For those of you who have requested CD’s of this series, we will include this broadcast with them. Anyone else who is interested in getting a copy of them, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer them at our cost which is $4.00 postage paid for the set of 7 podcasts.
This week concludes my series of interviews with Dr. Cindy Kunsman on the topic of spiritual abuse as she shares her own recent personal experience.
When we began homeschooling, it wasn’t uncommon for the question “is that even legal?” to be whispered to us by well-meaning family members or inquisitive clerks at the local Hy-Vee. And along with that query, we were quizzed about subjects we taught, my having a teaching certificate, the fact that I have one seeming to naively make everything better to most people, or the ever-popular “what about socialization?” One of our homeschooling dad friends had the best response ever for that last one…. “Oh, my, yes, we were highly concerned about socialization, what with all the drugs and premarital sex in the local high school. That is why we decided to homeschool.”
But, by far, the best question I was ever asked, and it came only once and from our sweet old neighbor lady: “Does the government pay you to do this?” I had to laugh at even the suggestion of such a thing. And then I gave her my sincere, heart-felt response, “No, Mrs. Wilson, there is not enough money in the world that would make me do this. I homeschool my own children by conviction. Clay and I believe that God has called us to teach our children at home.” It opened the proper door for me to talk about our faith in Christ, the importance of discipleship, and the great desire we had to spend a lot of time with our own children.
So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I went to link to R. C. Sproul Jr’s website and found an article informing me that I do not homeschool by conviction, as he and his Prairie Muffin friends do, but rather because I can excel by helping my children excel, being driven by more practical matters rather than by knowing God is calling us to do this. Boy, talk about slapping this Capri-pants-and-t-shirt-wearing homeschooling mom right in the face.
In the course of his admonishing those of us who have observed the similarities between the lifestyle of the FLDS cult in Texas and those within the patriocentric movement, he identified what he believes are three types of homeschoolers. There are the “nutty” ones, as he calls them, like those in a cult who homeschool as part of the rest of their aberrant lifestyle. (Wish he would inform Stacy McDonald that, indeed, these guys are “perverts” as he claimed in that article. The nonsense on her blog about this cult gets weirder by the day and is nothing short of fear-mongering.) And then he describes the other two groups, both within the Christian homeschooling community:
“There is, in evangelical homeschooling circles, a growing divide. On the one side there are those of us who might be called movement homeschoolers. We homeschool because we believe it to be the Biblical choice, not because we merely prefer it. We tend to adopt many of the secondary lifestyle issues related to homeschooling, lots of children, modest dress, husbands as the heads of their homes, courtship, denim jumpers. On the other side are a different bunch of folks. These typically are homes where moms see homeschooling as a choice, an arena wherein they can excel by helping their children excel. The former are driven by issues of conviction, the latter by more practical matters.”
I have two problems with this.
The first is that R.C. has chosen to draw his line where none should be. I personally know hundreds of parents who homeschool their children because of their convictions about teaching their children spiritual truth as it relates to all areas of life and, in the process, build lasting relationships within their homes. Indeed, I can confidently say that that is by far THE reason that the majority of Christian homeschoolers teach their own children.
But, at the same time, they have rejected the extra-biblical “convictions” of those within R.C.’s sphere of influence and have chosen to subscribe to Biblical orthodoxy that allows freedom in the areas of educating daughters, women working outside the home, a woman’s participation in the life of the church, clothing choices, family size, agrarian living, secondary issues of theology, etc. In fact, many of us live lifestyles quite similar to his, but believe that those who do not share the same convictions still can be directed by the Lord to do otherwise without being labeled as “pragmatic.”
Secondly, what R.C. fails to state is the real reason that there is a divide within evangelical homeschooling. The issue of gender is central to many of these divisive issues and those who hold to what is now being called a “hard” complimentarian view, ie patriocentricity, are attempting to pull the entire evangelical homeschooling community further and further down the continuum toward their view of women that is not Biblical and, in some instances, is leading to out and out heresy. (Teaching that women have no callings of their own from the Lord or that Christ is eternally subordinate to God are both examples of this and are being tossed about within these circles. We won’t even address, today, the implication for racism that these teachings bring about.)
Rut rather than using the Scriptures as the standard for all life and practice, these secondary issues have become central and demand a misuse of Scripture in order to be propped up. (Phillips’ and McDonalds’ use of Numbers 30 to “prove” that unmarried daughters should never leave home until marriage is a prime example of this.) What many of us do not see in Scripture has now become the “grand sweep of revelation” and many of us have and will continue to challenge this nonsense. If there is any line in the sand, any divide, it is between those who chose to add to God’s word, in many cases for their own financial gain, and those who will continue to put forward the admonition to be Bereans, holding all teachings up to God’s Word.
Oh, and I have one more problem regarding this article. It also appeared on James McDonald’s blog yesterday, which means that he believes these things as well. How unfortunate that he has chosen to be a source of discouragement to the homeschooling moms I know, many of them personally, who will not be labeled in this manner. To tell a woman that, because she doesn’t share his convictions about certain side issues she is homeschooling her children in a self-serving manner is outrageous. The moms in central Illinois and everywhere else deserve better.
While we all know that spiritual abuse has been a plague in the church as long as the Church has existed, it is no less disconcerting when we see it in action. It is even more so when we see that those who should know better continue to harbor and even revere spiritual abusers. At one time this was known as the palliation of sin and is condemned in Romans 1. No longer is that the case and the unmerciful are welcomed with open arms and even given a place of honor in the church.
Sadly, this is what happened in my neck of the woods over the weekend.
R. C. Sproul Jr., the unrepentant and defrocked pastor from Bristol, Tennessee, was the guest preacher at the annual presbytery meeting for the CPC being held in Peoria, Illinois. Sproul was found guilty of spiritual abuse by the RPCGA and was defrocked and stripped of his credentials before the other serious charges of illegally using another church’s tax ID number and serving alcohol to children could be addressed. Welcoming Sproul to his pulpit was James McDonald, himself a former member of the RPCGA who was deposed from the same denomination. Sadly, both of these men are leaders and conference speakers in the homeschooling community where training our children in honesty, integrity, self-control, and godly living is a priority.
Traditionally, the marks of a true church have been considered to be the preaching of the Word, the administering of the sacraments, and church discipline, a view, I am certain is upheld by both Sproul and McDonald, at least in word if not in deed. But Jesus named the real mark of the true church: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 17:21) It brings to mind this poem I read years ago and speaks to the very real fruits of spiritual abuse.
Weep, weep for those
Who do the work of the Lord
with a high look
and a proud heart.
Their voice is lifted up
In the streets, and their cry is heard.
The bruised reed they break
By their great strength, and the smoking flax
Weep not for the quenched
(For their God will hear their cry
And the Lord will come to save them)
But weep, weep for the quenchers.
For when the Day of the Lord
Is come, and the vales sing
And the hills clap their hands
And the light shines
Then their eyes shall be opened
On a waste place,
The smoke of the flax bitter
In their nostrils,
Their feet pierced
By broken reed-stems…
Wood, hay, and stubble,
And no grass springing,
And all the birds flown.
Weep, weep for those
Who have made a desert
In the name of the Lord.
The past week found me outside more than at the computer or the kitchen sink! The weather has been perfect, cool, breezy, highs in the mid-70’s, sunny, and inviting. A few years ago my husband built the most amazing outdoor paradise for us…a large, two-level deck that has a beautiful wild cherry tree growing up through the middle of it. My gardening is done in pots, which I must say allows for perfect weed control, and so I have been busy hanging baskets and filling pots with ferns, petunias, verbena, daisies, marigolds, and some tiny, beautiful white wisps with an exotic name I don’t recall. The boys gave me a Frank Lloyd Wright-esque fountain that now sits on the upper deck and at night I like to light candles and relax to the trickling of the water. Who needs an expensive vacation?
Clay has been working about 30 extra hours a week this month and the schedule will last into June as the power plant maintenance continues. I have been using the extra time to sew a rag doll for my granddaughter who will turn 4 soon and to bake special goodies for Clay’s lunch box. I am missing a family reunion with my three older children and all the grandchildren so I must be content to nurture a husband, teenage boys, and green things, I suppose!
I came across several good articles I wanted to be sure to share, each of them having some implication for the topic of spiritual abuse and homeschooling moms. Sandy discusses the fact that we are all part of a royal priesthood. Lin has a series of thought-provoking posts on the servant hood of elders. (Be sure to read the intro and all four parts!) And Cindy has been reading about Jewish tradition in courtship and marriage and showing the contrast between genuine Hebrew tradition and what is passed off as such among the patriocentrists. All interesting and enlightening!
Finally, I thought you all might enjoy a couple of the recipes I baked and froze last week to send with my husband. These are both from Paula Deen so you know they are delicious.
White Chocolate Caramel Cashew Oatmeal Bars
1 package caramel bits or candies
½ cup evaporated milk
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 ½ white chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped salted cashews
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13 X 9 pan with foil and lightly grease. Combine milk and caramels in bowl and microwave until melted, stirring well. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and soda. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press half of oat mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle white chocolate morsels and cashews evenly over crust, drizzle with caramel, and sprinkle remaining crust over top. Bake 20 more minutes. Allow to cool completely and cut into squares.
Mississippi Mud Bars
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup water
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 ½ cups toasted pecans
Mississippi Mud frosting (see below)
Prepare frosting and keep warm. Toast pecans by placing in single layer on a cookie sheet and putting in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine next four ingredients, whisking until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. In bowl, combine sugar, flour and soda. Stir in cocoa mixture and pour into greased 15 X 11 jelly roll pan or small cookie sheet that has edges. Bake for 20 minutes. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and pecans evenly over hot cake. Pour frosting over all and allow to cool.
Mississippi Mud Frosting
½ cup butter
½ cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4½ cup powdered sugar
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in milk, cocoa, and vanilla. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.