Friday, June 24, 2016

This Man Keeps a List

Today, I read this blog by Jeff Straub and I have to take issue with a few things he said. (Click here to read the blog for yourself.)

I have never met Jeff Straub and don't know who he is other than what he has revealed about himself in this blog post - and he has revealed that he is a pharisee.

This man took an unproven and unqualified "statistic" and used it to brandish every single pastor whom God redirected as unfaithful. He summarized his condemnation of these men with four words: "I keep a list." Of this list, he said he periodically looks at it and "sadly sometimes" adds another name.

What? He keeps a list?

1 Corinthians 13:5 says of love, "does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil..."

"Thinks no evil," in the Greek, literally means "does not keep a mental record of" and "to keep a mental record of events for the sake of some future action." Clearly, Jeff Straub is not practicing love toward these men he refers to as "such men" because he's keeping a written record, not even just a mental one.  He has dumped every single person who has left full-time ministry into a dumpster of "disqualified from ministry," while exalting himself and other men he worships as "godly" and living holy lives.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I know men and women who have been forcefully removed from full-time ministry for the exact same reason the Apostle Paul was thrown into prison....for faithfully preaching the gospel. If Jeff Straub considered this at all, he should have qualified his statement more carefully. What "man of God" does not fully qualify their statements when talking about brothers or sisters in Christ?

We have to give Jeff Straub a little credit for not being a hypocrite. He did not attempt to hide his pharisee-like teaching at all, but, instead, praised himself as on the road to "finishing well."

Being in and remaining in what some people consider "ministry" is not a Biblical measuring stick for success. Jeff Straub is wrong to judge these men, wrong to exalt himself, wrong to keep a list.

What God-seeking person keeps such a list?
He said he periodically looks at his list "often just to remind" himself "of the cost of unholy living." Just like the pharisee in Luke 18:11 who thanked God that he was "not like other people." Oh, my, This modern-day pharisee even used the exact same language.

Where are the servants who, like Isaiah, say, "Woe is me! I am undone!"?
Where are the servants who lift up our Holy God instead of themselves?
Where are the servants who, instead of keeping track of what they consider the failure of others, (or keep track of others on any level) throw themselves on the mercy of Christ and beg Him to take down their prideful hearts?

Along with being on the pharisee level of spirituality, this is also spiritual abuse. Anyone who calls himself or herself holy or godly is simply not holy or godly and is abusing their position in the lives of others. Instead of living in humility, Jeff Straub is self-promoting, lifting himself above those he keeps on his "list" and judging others by an unholy, ungodly standard.

Of all the godly men and women I know, not one of them.....not one of them....has said this of themselves. Not one of them has called themselves godly, holy or even insinuated that they think they are. Godly people don't announce that they are godly people. Godly people don't want to announce that they are godly people.

Godly people don't think they are godly! They think they are sinners who have miraculously been saved from their sin and live to tell others because they can't keep it to themselves. They don't keep lists because they know they would be at the top of that list.

Is he telling his students how holy he is instead of pointing them to the God of Salvation? Is he holding himself up in the classroom as the ultimate holy example instead of falling on the Gospel of God to which he owes his very life? He has certainly made himself judge and prosecutor in this blog post. After all, he keeps a list.

If he acts in the classroom as he acted in this blog post, he is practicing spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is rarely practiced alone; other abuses generally follow and quickly. What abuses is he practicing on his students? On his family? Is he angered and defensive at the idea or quick to pull back and make sure his actions and teachings are not abusive?

Be warned.
Be aware.
Abusers are everywhere, even in a seminary classroom.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Our Home School is Closing after 29 Years

Well, I did it. We did it. By the generous grace of God, alone, we did it. Just this week, my youngest child finished high school here at home.  Home schooling wasn't always easy, but when I look back on it, I have to search my memory for the rough times. The good times, the joy, the fun and the excitement of learning are what I remember the most.

I love being with my kids. Even when they were little and making messes and screaming and crying, I didn't want to send them off to spend all their days with someone else. I wanted to see them learn. I wanted to be the one to see that
"light bulb moment" in their lives when they "got it" as we learned together. That was my #1 reason for home schooling.

When I started home schooling back in 1987, it was not a very popular thing to do. We only had 4 kids at the time, but were already receiving criticism from Christians for having "so many" kids. Clearly they had no effect on us since we went on to have 4 more. Some said I had "real nerve" home schooling "all those kids." Their arguments against home schooling ranged from me never getting a break to fearing my kids were going to be isolated.

Isolation was the furthest thing from my mind. I could not wrap my mind around why they would think that. My kids were out in the neighborhood playing with other kids, riding their bikes all over, involved at church, involved at an assisted living home and involved in an active home school support group that I started. They played sports, performed in plays, participated in science fairs, sang in concerts and spent time together.

They learned to bake from scratch, cook dinner for 10, set a table right, freeze vegetables, plant and keep a garden and a host of other life skills that serve them well today.

My #2 reason for home schooling might be summed up in one word: laziness. I saw friends whose kids were in school and they were frazzled by getting up early, getting things together to make it on time, signing this paper or that paper and writing check after check for constant things that came up. I didn't want that chaos in our home. I didn't want the rush to make the bus or hop into the car on time to be somewhere early in the morning every single day. That's not to say our lives were never chaotic. One summer, we had 3 different kids on 3 different sports teams, so our evenings were made up of packing sandwiches and the potty chair (for the little ones) and being in different places to see our kids play and practice. Other summers were similar.  I could go on....with 8 kids, you can just imagine.

Part of our parenting style was minimizing chaos so that our kids didn't have to feel constant pressure. We spent most evenings at home where the kids would perform dance or gymnastic routines, magic trick shows and piano concerts for us. Some evenings were spent viewing everything they could find under the microscope and the time flew. Some evenings were spent outside looking through the telescope to see Jupiter's moons or a lunar eclipse up close. We wanted our kids to have time to build big Lego bridges and villages, to throw a Frisbee in the back yard till the lightening bugs came out and lie on the grass watching the clouds. Home schooling allowed us to keep chaos at a minimum even with a family our size.

One of my goals from the start of our home school was to make sure learning wasn't in a school box, but was, instead, part of life all year long. This goal was accomplished.

And now these kids....oh, my word, these kids. They have gone to college. They are starting businesses. One is home schooling. Another reached a career milestone much younger than most could. Two of them served in the USMC and another is thinking about it. But, mostly, these kids are kind. They are generous. They are sensitive. They are polite. They are mine. I am blessed beyond comprehension.

Home schooling was one of the best decisions I ever made.
If you're a young mom or dad and on the fence about home schooling, I say go for it.
You will not regret home schooling.

Now, I have to go find something else to do.
I have a few ideas!