I was reading a thread in a Secular homeschool group on facebook that was discussing how difficult it can be to find active, live, groups to participate in that are secular depending on where you live. I can relate to that. I’ve been homeschooling for just over 3 years now and I only found the secular group we are now a part of about 9 months ago --- when it was started. Prior to that we were a part of an ‘Inclusive’ group that fell apart and then another group that was to be inclusive that I actually helped organize, that fell apart. I secretly believe that ‘inclusive’ , where I live, doesn’t meant what I think it means! The majority of the participants where Christian and those that weren't never felt comfortable. But that’s a different blog post.
On this thread that I was reading, a fellow secular homeschooler was sharing her story about how after a year….A YEAR…of participating in a home school group where religion had never come up, she received a ‘get the hell out’ letter right before Christmas. She had been ‘found out’, I suppose.
Now, I do not know all the details, nor did I ask. Maybe she had to sign a statement of faith upon joining and did so, just to get in, and was then found to be a ‘liar’. Maybe she had a change of heart about her personal, religious beliefs during the course of the year and made mention of it and was then kicked out. Maybe the group was not militant in making the particulars of its beliefs known because they never imagined someone joining who wasn’t a Christian and when they discovered that was the case they freaked the hell out. Who knows. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t the first type of story like this that I’ve read or been told or better yet, experienced myself. But this sort of non-Christian behavior by supposed Christians always ticks me off and it suddenly dawned on me, I have a blog! I can use that to get my message out, granted to all of probably 5 of you who read it...
Here is my open letter to all Christian Homeschool Groups:
I just don’t understand why you make the choices you do. I certainly don’t understand your treatment of non-believers. I’m appalled at your treatment of fellow homeschoolers who don’t meet your criterion.
If you are a Christian group, with a clear ‘Statement of Beliefs’ and someone wants to join who is not of the same beliefs there are only TWO reasons why they would want to join.
1) They are trying to subvert your children and lead them to the devil.
2) They are homeschoolers who need a nice, welcoming, friendly group of women and children with whom to socialize and to discuss homeschooling.
Why is it assumed that reason #1 is factual with every person who isn’t a believer? Why does your statement of faith have to be every members’ statement of faith? Why isn’t it enough for a member to acknowledge that those are the beliefs of that group (or co-op) and no other beliefs expressed (or taught) are welcome? And do you know why I wonder all this? Because anyone who wishes to join your group, even though they don’t hold the same beliefs as you, has to be so desperate for homeschooling contacts and support that they are willing to shut their own mouths and keep their beliefs to themselves just to make those contacts and hopefully find that support!!!
If, by some chance, you have some horror story you’d like to share with me about how some evil woman, who was an atheist, I’m sure, tried to join your Christian group in order to turn all the children into godless lovers of gays – spare me. *IF* someone joined a group for that kind of reason, it wouldn’t take long to figure it out and kick them out. If you or your children are so shaky in what you believe and why, that one person can crumble your world with opposing views ----- or even evil rhetoric ----- you’ve got bigger problems than you realize.
At the end of the day we are all homeschoolers, be we religious or secular, traditional schooling or unschooling, we are in the category of ‘out of the box’ for our choice in how we are educating our children. Can that and that alone not be enough to ban us together and support one another? I say it should be enough……but alas, I must be in the minority. Perhaps it is because I’m not a participant in the religious movement known as Christianity that I simply cannot understand why a CHRISTian group would kick out someone who had caused no problems for them, and right before the CHRISTmas holiday, no less.
Ah, but wait. I was once a believer. I was (am – according to those who believe in the ‘once saved, always saved’ doctrine) a ‘born-again, baptized by water and with the Holy Spirit’ card carrying, church attending, bible studying Christian. Guess what? The Jesus I met, whom I met the same way all Christian do, – through the ‘Word of God’ – didn’t teach us to hate the unbeliever, shun the unbeliever, or kick the unbeliever out. He instructed us to love one another as He loves us. He didn’t just instruct us, he commanded us! All his lessons point to acts of charity – love. He wanted our lights to shine from inside us and light the path for the world.
So for the love of your God, act like the man you claim to follow. And if you MUST be an exclusive group that allows or welcomes no one but Christians, make sure you are upfront about that- don’t’ hide behind rhetoric or the mumble jumble of a statement of beliefs. Be honest. Just say it, flat out – if you aren’t a Christian you are NOT welcome. But, if you are the only homeschooling group in your community, how about thinking about doing the Christian thing and opening yourself up to ‘outsiders’. Consider it mission work. The church has no problem dangling food, water, clothes, shelter, etc…..in front of third world communities in exchange for them listening to the word of God – if a non-believer would like to make friends and get homeschooling support from your group, why not let them in? Be a decent human being, and a loving follower of Christ. Love them where THEY are, not where YOU are; after all isn’t that what Jesus does for us? If he only loved us from where he is….we’d all be doomed, right? Besides, trust me, most, if not all secular homeschoolers would rather bowl alone than join a Christian homeschool group and do you know why? The majority of Christian groups don’t seem to understand the concepts of acceptance, brotherly love, and kindness. How sad is that? It’s a good thing that the Apostles didn’t have that sort of attitude, or the Word would have never spread and your religion wouldn’t exist today.
The Inappropriate Homeschooler
Did that seem hostile? Did I sound pissed? Do I sound disgusted? Well, I am. I am sick and tired of Christians getting away with making people cry, treating people like shit, or even worse because THEY are Christians who are in the ‘right’ belief. I have Catholic friends and Mormon friends who are just as uncomfortable inside these ‘Christian’ homeschooling groups because they aren’t the ‘right’ type of Christian or not consider to really be a Christian. Sheesh! The judging that goes on………stones cast all over the place!
I’ve forgotten more than a lot of Christians will ever have studied for themselves, of that I’m sure. I rejected the man-made doctrines attached to the religious Christian movement. I was kicked out of Christian groups for no longer being a Trinitarian and later, was not welcomed because my idea of what it meant to follow Jesus was not the ‘main-stream’ movement’s idea. Hence, a secular homeschooler was born!
I don’t blog about that in order to get a flood of emails or comments from Christians who want to get into religious debates with me. I blog about this because it is something that still lights a fire under my ass. Christians being jerks to each other, people of different beliefs, or unbelievers. It just isn’t Christ like and for the love of everything Holy, they should live up to the name they have claimed for themselves.
Did these folks in these groups ever stop and think about how it is the sinners that should be most welcomed? That it is the unbelievers that they should want to shine their inner light upon? That the only Jesus some people ever see is the one that is supposedly living inside them?? Did these folks ever stop and think about what kind of ‘testimony’ their actions and words give to the ‘unbeliever’?
Those types of actions speak to
1) a lack of true, deep faith in their own expressed beliefs;
2) an unwilling spirit toward being used in another person’s life for God’s purpose, and
3) an arrogance that THEY can bring (or not) someone to God, rather than having faith that God takes care of his Creation and all they need to be worried about doing is……
What was it again?
Oh right, loving one another – including the ‘supposed’ enemy. Jesus was concerned for the spiritual condition of the unbeliever. He had a compassionate purpose toward tending to their well being. He demonstrated this by meeting them where they lived, feeding them, teaching them, healing them. He never once turned his back on them because they didn’t believe. So shame on the Christian religious movement for thinking they know better, or are better, than Jesus – the man they say is their King and Savior.
Time and again I’m brought back to Ghandi’s quote: “I like your Christ, I don’t care very much for your Christians.”
So often, I agree.