First let me define my terms:
Safe (no quotes)
adjective, saf·er, saf·est, noun
1. Secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk: a safe place.
2. Free from hurt, injury, danger, or risk: to arrive safe and sound.
3. Involving little or no risk of mishap, error, etc.: a safe estimate.
“Safe” (with quotes)
A place that agrees with 99% of conservative homeschooling parents’ principles, i.e. no bad words (including “in-between” words), everyone’s very conservatively dressed, no drinking or smoking, no “edgy” music, like (heaven forbid) rock or rap, only discuss “appropriate” movies, and standards are very strict.
Keep those definitions in mind.
Last Sunday night, my sister and I went to a party hosted by a guy in our church’s young adults’ Bible study that was safe, but not “safe”. What do I mean by that? Well, there was rock/rap music playing, one or two people were having a beer (no drunkenness), and there were a few girls that weren’t as conservatively dressed as a typical homeschooler. And you know what? I’m proud to call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our group consists of young adults from broken homes, ex-cons, people with not-so-moral backgrounds, people from different countries, as well as those that came from Christian families (like us). A huge spectrum. It is so incredible to see God working in their hearts and minds and changing them (as well as us, for that matter 😀 ).
I can totally see if some homeschooling family (like ours) may not want their kids (er, make that young adults) in there. You know what? I think they’re dead wrong, and here’s why:
It is very easy to love people like us. It isn’t so easy for us to love people that aren’t. We have just as many weaknesses as they – a lot of times, I think we’re guilty of worse sins. Dressing semi-inappropriately is nothing compared to hypocrisy. They may drink a beer every now and then, which we might shudder at, while we go around with plastic smiles on our faces and say that we’re fine. Tell me, who’s in worse sin?
…but, because we don’t want to “dirty” ourselves with such “worldly Christians” *cough* pride *cough*, we isolate ourselves and only hang out around people who agree with us. We go to churches where the majority believe as we do – if they appear to be heading in the “wrong” direction, we go someplace where it is “safe” and we don’t have to worry about actually doing what Christ commanded us to do. I belong to a group known as Homeschool Alumni, and I absolutely have a blast hanging out around them – everyone is really nice. Comma however, I’ve been finding out that one-on-one, people act differently than in the group – there is a certain expectation in a group setting, unconscious though it may be (I’m not necessarily saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s there) of how homeschoolers should act. That’s all fine and good, as we need high standards to adhere to – we just need to make sure that we don’t engage in hypocrisy – putting on an image in front of people, and then acting totally different when they’re not around.
Anyway, back to isolation… while I like hanging around my wonderful (and I mean genuinely wonderful) HSA friends, there is something with our young adults’ group – a transparency, a non-judgmental atmosphere that makes it an incredible environment for healing and restoration to take place. I am proud to be in a group that has come from completely different backgrounds, and yet we all are brothers and sisters in Christ. They have lessons they can teach me – even if they do drink a beer or two on occasion. 😛 We all have faults, and why should I think that I have less faults than they? We are all part of a family, and if I can only get along with people who agree with me, what does that say about my character? I can’t think of a better group to be accountable to.
I’ll end on this: I’m very appreciative of my parents – they trust us. They “let” us go to the young adults group without without either of our parents going along, they “let” us go to this party even though there were no “chaperones” (which is stupid for a group of people that are 21+ – how old does one have to be to be unsupervised by parents? See my previous posts on Patriarchal Dysfunctional Families for my opinion on the subject. 😛 ). I realize they might have some difficulty with letting us go into some place that is not “safe”, but they realize that we’re old enough to make decisions on our own. I only hope that if in the rare possibility I’m a parent, I’ll be able to do the same. 🙂
Note: I’m not an advocate of antinomianism, not at all! Grace *and* truth have to be present – what’s the use of transparency if no growth results from it? In this particular post, I’m pointing out the legalism/isolation side – perhaps in a future post I’ll point out the other extreme (free-wheeling/anything goes mentality). Please don’t take this as me swinging to the opposite side, because I’m not.