The Dangers of Retreat

I came across a blog post today from Jonathan Keck, which he wrote a year ago, on the site Theology 21 on his experience as an “isolated homeschooled churchie.” This post is a worthy read. As a homeschooling parent, I am very interested in what he has to say and the ways in which his experience has affected him negatively. I think he hits the nail on the head regarding the poor, unscriptural motivations that many parents, including many pastors(!), have regarding homeschool education. I think homeschooling is a subject that needs greater and deeper theological and missiological reflection. Here is a salient quote from his post:

But the oddity was, while we were told and taught to be different in every possible way physically, the church had not been different morally or spiritually. Just as many divorces occurred in the church. Just as many adulteress affairs. Just as many crooks and swindlers. The Christians I saw around me fashioned images of righteousness and holiness but all the while were wretched and self-righteous. They were pharisees. And they damned anyone who didn’t homeschool their kids. All those who spiked their hair, wore studded belts, or were a bit rough around the edges. And all these Pharisees wanted to do was hangout with each other, build high walls and not be corrupted by the world.

Please read his entire post and let me know what you think.

  • Do you have similar motivations? Are you in need of repentance?
  • Do you think his criticisms are fair?
  • Are there ways to homeschool your children and avoid isolationism?
  • How can homeschoolers be more missional and engage culture with the gospel in every sphere?


Add yours →

  1. Harlan Carpenter October 14, 2011 — 22:21

    Is Jonathan Keck “home-schooled”…? No wonder he can’t spell, his grammar stinks, and he is a hypocrite windbag who attacks Mormons and anybody else he doesn’t agree with…! Is that what it takes to be a “christian”…? Well, that isn’t what I was taught…!

    • Harlan,

      It sounds like you need to address these concerns directly to Mr. Keck. I’m sorry you’ve had such an experience with him. I assure you that my post is no personal endorsement of him or his ideas, en totale. I’ve never met him. My purpose in linking to his post is to identify a testimonial of someone who claims that being homeschooled was a negative experience. As someone who currently homeschools his children, I’m ever cognizant of homeschool dangers of false motives in this task.

      It seems from your comment that you have some negative feelings toward homeschool education. Do you care to elucidate?

  2. Harlan Carpenter October 17, 2011 — 10:15

    I tried to address my complaints directly to Keck–pointing out his fallacious rationale–in on-line discussion. When faced with someone who could shine the spotlight on his own hypocrisy and his rabid anti-LDS bent and purpose with solid argument, he banned me from making comments on his site. I don’t necessarily take issue with home schooling. I do object to someone trying to elevate himself to the level of expert on almost everything–then demonstrating that his education is middle-school proficiency at best. But to top it off, he presents himself as expert on LDS theology, then resorts to fallacy, half-truth and innuendo to “prove” his assertion. Unfortunately, Mr. Keck is not alone in that self-appointed endeavor…

  3. Harlan Carpenter December 13, 2011 — 11:50

    If you want to find out what a cowardly, unhinged lunatic Jonathan Keck really is, look up his alleged article, “Jesus Was a Pimp: Polygamy, Mormonism, and the Old Testament” on Facebook. It is a good thing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints doesn’t seek redress for slander in open court. Keck would have to flee the country…! If you really want some insight into the subject upon which Keck is trying expound, read the fourth chapter of Isaiah. It isn’t long–only six verses… The catch is you have to read it from an authoritative source, the Authorized King James Version–celebrating its fourth century this year…! All those handy-dandy new English translations won’t do–because they are not really translations. They really interpretations–invented by tampering evangelists using the excuse that English of the Shakespearan age is “too hard to understand”….! Maybe that is true–with the proviso that the person attempting to read it is a congentital idiot–like Jonathan Keck. (Isn’t home-schooling wonderful…!)

    • Harlan,

      It seems you have really been hurt by Mr. Keck. I’m sorry for that. I don’t in any way want to defend him or his actions. Honestly, with the title of the article you mentioned, I’m not too interested in reading it. Plus, I am not his friend on facebook.

      Again, I only linked to this article on homeschooling as a point of emphasis that retreating from the world and sheltering one’s children from others who may be different is a dangerous thing to do. Perhaps his reactions to you are a result of that sheltering, but I don’t know. I suggest for your own piece of mind that you forgive him and forget about it. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It stands to reason that we would sin against one another. Does he deserve forgiveness, I can’t say, but Paul tells us in Romans, that “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” May Jesus grant you peace.

      Isaiah 4 is one of my favorite chapters, foretelling the abiding presence of God (reminding us of Mt. Sinai) with his chosen remnant through the coming Messiah (branch). This is a great Messianic prophecy.

  4. Harlan Carpenter January 16, 2012 — 20:53

    I honestly doubt that you were even familiar with Isaiah chapter four–before I called it to your attention. (No offense, but your dismissal of the chapter’s contents is a little too casual for credibility…!) My father was a part-time self-appointed evangelist (when he wasn’t herding cattle), who railed against me for years about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint’s 19 century practice of polygamy. He called it “whoredoms”. When I called Isaiah chapter four to his attention, he looked like he had been kicked in the stomach by one of our packhorses. His only comment was, “I’ll pray about this, and when I receive an answer, I’ll let you know…!” That was 55 years ago, and he died in 2005, never having offered the promised answer. I served two years as an LDS missionary in New Zealand–which wasn’t one of his favorite of my accomplishments. Of course, you probably refer to one of those newfangled English super-dooper-pooper-scooper re-translations of the Bible. I read the Authorized King James Version–completed 401 years ago–and never tampered with by scheming evangelists since…! Cheers…!

    • Harlan,

      I’m surprised by your accusation. Have I done something to offend you? If so, I apologize.

      Looking at both the King James version and the version I usually use, I don’t see any major differences with the translations of Isaiah Chapter 4.

      But let me ask you, how do you personally read scripture? How do you relate chapter 4 to chapter 3? 4 clearly is connected, it starts with the word ‘and.’ Then how do you relate it to chapters 1-11, which are a literary unit? How about to the message of the whole book? I love the book of Isaiah, one I’ve read through on several occasions, even studied in Hebrew. It has been called the fifth gospel by many theologians. I feel though many people don’t know how to read the prophetic books properly and that is why they struggle to understand. These books have a unified message communicated artistically through repetition of themes and counter-themes. Isaiah talks alot about the destruction of Israel because she violated the covenant. God promised this destruction at the end of Deuteronomy and repeated briefly from Isaiah ch 2 to 5, with promises of restoration interspersed throughout. HereGod promises to spare a believing remnant who will look to the future when God will send his Branch, the stump of Jesse, the root of David, the Suffering Servant, who will atone for the sins of his people, even the sins of all the nations. It’s a beautiful book.

      But we must read it as a whole unit, a complete story. It takes hard work, but God grants wisdom to those who like the Psalmist meditate on his word day and night.

      Have you read through the whole book of Isaiah, from beginning to end? If you set aside a couple of hours, you can get through all 66 chapters in one sitting. When you do, ask God to reveal the truth to you. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit reveals the deep things of God, he can show you the truth.

      The Bible is such a powerful book, but we often miss that power because we read it wrongly. It’s not a magic book, nor a book of precious promises, nor is it something we can just pick and choose what verses we like and ignore the rest. Rather, the Bible is one complete and unified story that teaches us about God, the world He created, about humanity and our sinfulness caused by our rebellion against him, and the salvation he offers to those who will place their faith in the messiah, Jesus, and his death which he died to appease God’s just wrath against sinners, and his powerful resurrection. It teaches us the end for which he created, that we would enjoy His presence and glory forever and be made holy as he is holy.

      I wish that all could see this majestic truth. May it begin for you as you read the Bible as a story-the true story of the real world.

  5. Harlan Carpenter January 17, 2012 — 03:07

    You’re better at denying what is right in front of your eyes than was my father…! You can read six verses and get all that schlock out ot it–BUT NOT SEE WHAT IS ACTUALLY WRITTEN THERE…! God help us all…! No wonder my church doubles in population every 15 years while your withers…!

    • Harlan,

      First I think if you are going to be confrontational you need to be respectful and then you need to provide evidence for a contrary position. You haven’t made a reasonable or verifiable statement of truth yet. I will only continue this conversation if you are willing to abide by the rules of public discourse.

  6. Harlan Carpenter January 18, 2012 — 15:36

    So disagreeing with your ignorance and blindness is confrontational…? I suppose Jesus Christ was not confrontational when he drove the money-changers from the temple…! By the way, my faith is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints–organized and named by the Savior himself…! There are now 14,000,000 of us. By the way, what do you call your splintered, fragmented sect…? That should obviate further need for discussion…!

    • Harlan,

      May God Bless you, in the name of Jesus, the Holy One, the righteous judge, and the King of the nations.

      May He fill you with the Holy Spirit and joy unspeakable.

  7. Harlan Carpenter January 23, 2012 — 15:14

    Can’t answer that one, huh…? I am doing just as well as you are–probably much better by the looks of things. Judging by our relative spiritual relationships, vis-a-vis, I’d say I am all of eternity ahead of you…! So I’d say your benediction isn’t much use to me–kind of like Pilate’s washing of his hands to symbolize his denial of guilt for Jesus Christ’s fate…!

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