(the following does not, repeat, *not*, express the author's sentiments
toward her loving family, who she cherishes and respects, nor to all
individuals within the specified groupings. This is a critique from an
insider and former christian homeschooler towards chrisitan
conservative homeschooler parents, and as such, should be read for
its sarcasim, bitterness and insight).
:::Christopher Columbus and the Indians Part One:::
What was wanted? Nothing seemed to suffice, and testament were the perpetual critiques which had not stopped when she had conceded to play the role or rebelled against the mask they asked her to assume. They begged for honesty with phrases appealing to their love as guardians, they claimed their faith could withstand the tumults of truth which had so often wrecked ships along its jagged coastline.
Nothing would have provocated her Sunday School placidity. Nothing except the unanswered questions and the nagging sense of loss which pervaded whenever she opened her Bible. And then she had played the part of loving Christian and suppliant child-daughter and still, still they had treated her miserably-------
Let us be blunt. Allow me, the narrator, the god-like voice of this story yet unfolding, react to the reality which surrounds us, both author and reader alike.
Should I tell you of the subtle horrors of Church and sitting in a congregation, Sunday after Sunday, sermons cutting deep into the marrow of the thing called “soul”? “Thou art nothing, less than nothing!”, “Man is viler than worms,” “we are not worthy,” “thou, o man!” Might I enlighten you to the pains of the children of the missionaries sent to god-forsaken places in the name of glory? Of the negligence on a parent's part to attend to the emotional needs spurned by alienation? Perhaps of the countless youths, silent in their pews, nodding to the sermon, purposelessly turning pages of prayer books, incapable of confessing their drug habits, sexual desires, swear words, loneliness?
You look for the poster-child of your faith, you look for that one prodigy which will herald all your agendas, doctrines, righteousness in a milieued perfection of manners and actions. You groom these off-springs of your faith Sunday after Bible-study, making sure they don't dirty themselves with the next door children, or fraternize with the less-than-educated public school elementary.
You protect them from all evil relativists, prevent them from reading the philosophers and make sure their history books are from Christian publications. Oh no! They would be so confused if they thought that the Greeks practiced homosexuality, if creation was made in more than six days, if the bible wasn't understood literally.
Your Holy-Spirit guide, the sovereign motherhood sense, had beatific visions about the Will of the Lord. With God on your side, no situation was too difficult to interpret, no gray left unanswered. Out of conviction you've told them what to do, how to act, who to be. God forbid they lived and made a mistake! If they walked out of the house in a spaghetti strap, what perversion will ensue? If they picked up the Koran, what political vice would they promote?
You began by grooming their image, like a president's speech advisor giving comments on the little quibbles said, the nuances implied. And what to wear? Head coverings, jumpers, dress pants? They couldn't look too modern, they had to look like something out of the 18th century. This constituted piety. More importantly, it gave you control. If you can manage the image, you harvest the soul, for as we all know, clothes maketh the man.
Next were the friends. By homeschooling your child in the name of “safety,” you successfully eliminated half the war. Scaling down the battle-field you picked out the intimate potentials based upon their parentage. If Mrs. Jackson's husband left, surely her son must also have the same blood in their veins, and really, she must have been a bad wife, therefore a poor example for her girls. And Mr. Parson never attends evening service . Your God-sent children, your talents of stewardship cannot spend a night with the Hudsons who are admittedly snug with a television set and hippie friends.
Oh woman, I can only wonder what kind of acidic bowel movements will plague your digestive system when your God-sends leave for college...Assuming you haven't guilted your sons into the role of provider and parceled your daughters off into marriage. Assuming the haven't run away into the messy-ness of the world, or what we people call “life.”
At least God loves them more than you do. After all that's what you always told them every time you removed their panties to beat their buns into submission. I mean Jesus only hung out with thieves, vagrants, prostitutes and IRS agents. He could certainly deal with a kid who pops heathen music into his headphones. Maybe He could deal with the hickey on your daughter's neck...I don't know. Maybe. His blood might not cover all sins. Maybe your John Mcaurther Study Bible has fine print somewhere. I'm sure that the Elizabeth Elliot NIV Standard doesn't accept girls who've lost their first kiss, but then you would know better than me.
And don't think I excuse the ones who, having read all this, sit back on their haunches and think “ I praise the Lord that I didn't rear my kids that way”. You were probably the parents who looked on as this neurotic portrait-of-a-mother “raised” her children. You tried to lovingly and subtly coax this Hecbate into reason, but when reason and Faith conflicted you sat back on the sidelines and quotes that verse about the weaker brother and meat and justified her convictions through the ambiguity of your favorite word, “faith.”
Then, turning to your own brood, you applied a lesser dose of the toxin, telling yourself that you granted far for liberty and trust among them. As long as they obeyed and played within the rules, you were happy. Catechized by thirteen, baptized (or sprinkled) by eighteen and an active participant in one of the following; Awanas, WorldVision Camp, Christian Debate or the ubiquitous church ministry. Dating or courting papa's pick, refraining from giving a “piece of their heart away like cake” and smiling sweetly about Jesus were signs of a well-rounded human.
Things flow smoothly until one day your eldest -that headstrong one who never quite got the Christian thing- announces that she really doesn't see the difference between Jesus and Buddha. Or your son, who courts the pastor's daughter, is caught with porn and has the audacity to ask; “why it is wrong?” And your youngest just has too many questions about evolution, six-day creation and since her earliest years has said “Mommy, I can't see God. Why do you pray to something you can't see?”
Things flow smoothly until you can't answer their questions.
So you squeeze them out by packing your headstrong off to a camp where she'll “get it.” Then you proceed to threated your son by telling him he needs pastoral counseling, which will jeopardize his relationship. (He recants, burns the porn magazines, fasts for thirty days and his held accountable by your husband who has the same problem, but can hide it better because his porn-stash is back at the office where the bombshell-of-a-receptionist operates more buttons than just “speed-dial.”) And your youngest, well, you just ignore her by buttering your toast and saying, “Jesus loves you, that's why.”
So yes, you are equally culpable as your neurotic Christian sister, Mrs. Amish-Cloak-and-Cape. You are equally responsible for brainwashing your children with facts facts facts and no sensible answers. For bullying them into intellectual numbness by repeatedly ignore them or backhandedly belittling their intelligence by punishing them for their inquisitive natures.
You never did this out of love for your children. You merely wanted salvation to be easy, for God to look down upon your efforts and build piles of spiritual treasure for you in heaven. Or perhaps it was just to one-up that goody-two shoes Cloak-n-Cape Christian who always acted like she had an “in” with Jesus.
I was told that Christian parents aren't perfect, that the blood of Jesus saves and by the grace of God, we all have sinned. To which I replied, “it is not their humanity which disturbs me.” No, please do not think my complaint is so obvious, that I would rail against human nature, pervasive among us all. Who would I be, to point a finger while a forest glazes my eye? I do admit that many of these youths, though overlooked, live, by comparison, safe and unabused, fostered with education, warm meals and clothes.
Surely, their lives as pampered middle-class American evangelicals has more temporal joy than those dinner-table “starving Chinese” or the nameless cute but malnourished Swazilli baby. Sure, by comparison these Christianized younglings are better off with food, clothes and physical safety. When they grow old they will start their own families in the tranquility of suburbia and live the same complacent lives their parents so lovingly and comfortably afforded them.
My complaint, towards all humanity is the squelching of opposition and the burning of thinkers and the ridicule of philosophers. My platform against your typical Christian mothers is her belittling of questions and passivity towards truth while claiming to give her child a “spiritually sound rearing.” It is this irony which perturbs me, more than Compassion posters of parasite-bloated stomachs and
missing limbs; that the centrifugal element of our humanity, the thing which separates us from sea monkies, is crushed, passed by and glazed over without sober treatment. That questions are little heard and quickly pacified by the people who have heralded the tradition of “protest.” That the questions are caricatured as stupid, insignificant or crazy by Christians, the very followers of the man who said, “Let the children come to me, do not stop them, because the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”
This is my complaint, that those who claim to pursue Truth are willing to stay in a comatose blindness if asking, just mere asking, chances to sift them as wheat.