Is Isolation from “Worldly Christians” Good?

First let me define my terms:

Safe  (no quotes)

adjective, saf·er, saf·est, noun

–adjective

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.

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Patriarchal Dysfunctional Families, Part 2

This is part 2 of a series on cloistered homeschoolers I posted in the Homeschool Alumni forums.  Thanks, Darcy, for posting the second half.  It is so true.

Here is the article:  Below are a few quotes I found excellent:

 I am convinced that this “Patriarchal” evil disguised as righteousness will be disposed of by simply dragging it into the light. The facts are too embarrassing and shameful for this pretense to continue. Many have continued to be faithful to their patriarchal precepts in spite of the many indications of failure, convincing themselves that their poor family experience is the exception. They plod on in blind faith trying to do better, but they blame their failure on their children, accusing them of worldliness and rebellion. When things don’t work out like the model they have been presented, they shut the door tighter against the world outside, not realizing that their failure is visible to the whole world, and is actually a universal side effect of a very bad idea.
    There has been a sacred hush over the exalted doctrine of the patriarchal family. None dare question a system that stands for a recovery of Biblical values and promises to restore the family to a Christian culture. The headline is respectable and is innocent-sounding enough—Patriarchal Family. After all, doesn’t the Bible tell us that the husband is the head of the woman and of his house and that children are to obey their parents?
    I understand the motivation of the Patriarchal authors and purveyors. The crumbling of the Christian culture calls for radical solutions. The church is in desperate need to be reconstructed in accordance with the Word and the Spirit. The world seeps into our children like cold air into a log cabin in a Montana blizzard. Righteous parents are desperate for a solution. They looked for a scriptural means of correcting the problem, but believed a “Hath God said” partial truth—now clearly proven to be a lie.
    The Patriarchal/Extended Family movement has been around long enough to demonstrate its bankruptcy. It is time to lay it aside and go back to the old-fashioned Holy Spirit-filled family—a family “in the world” ministering, but not “of the world.” These true families are overcomers, not barricaded babies. They are militant godly witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not fearful, isolated survivors of an evil and intimidating culture.

Another excellent quote:

    Jesus gives us a clear example of what it means to honor your parents. He was speaking to grown men in positions of spiritual leadership who found a loophole in the Jewish law which permitted them to abdicate their responsibility to care for their aging parents. They took their savings and, as it were, put it in an account labeled: “Dedicated to God.” Having done that, they couldn’t access it to spend on their needy parents. No doubt after the parents were dead, the money would be transferred to a retirement account for themselves.

Not honoring is:
•    Cursing parents (Matthew 15:4).
•    Withholding financial support (Matthew 15:5).
•    Not doing for them when they are in need (Mark 7:12).
There is no mention of descendants obeying their parents—never.

Honor is:
•    Being kindly affectionate (Romans 12:10).
•    Seeking the good of the other (Romans 12:10—“preferring one another”).
•    Respecting the office or position of a person (Romans 13:7).
•    Bestowing more honor than their level of gifts suggest (1 Corinthians 12:23).

Bottom Line.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, [Those being brought up—Ephesians 6:4] obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour [Obedience and honor are separate issues.] thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. [Children, the ones who are to obey their parents, are being brought up—not yet adults.]
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters [Parents are not masters; they are mentors, and children are not servants.] according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

Obedience and honor are separate issues.
We know this to be true because:
•    The words are spelled differently.
•    They are never used interchangeably.
•    The context in which they are used demonstrates a clear distinction.
•    A distinction is made the only time the two words appear in close proximity.
 (Ephesians 6:1–5). Children who are being brought up are to obey their parents (6:1). All are to honor their fathers and mothers (6:2). And servants are to be obedient to their masters (6:5). Different words, different meanings, different applications. It is all in the Word of God, but kept carefully separated and distinct from each other.
1 Peter 2:13–14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
    The language used here when commanding us to submit to government is conspicuously absent in those passages addressing the honoring of one’s parents.

Another trend I find disturbing is matriarchy – the situation where the wife controls virtually everything – from the finances, to the schedule, to the education choices, to where to go to church, to what events to attend – everything.  There’s something wrong with that picture – it needs to be a team effort.  The husband shouldn’t be a domineering person, intent on micromanaging every little thing, and neither should the wife be manipulating and scheming to get her husband to do her every little bidding – there needs to be a balance.