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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Preaching To The Choir

Convention season is starting soon! I normally LOVE homeschool conventions and can't wait to go. This year though I find myself second guessing whether or not I'll go. Usually it's a no brainer...I GO! This year the one closest to me has one of my very favorite speakers. At first I was SO excited and was sure I'd go. I have yet to mail in my payment and registration form though. Why? Well...

I totally agree with most everything this speaker regularly speaks on and have a great deal of respect for him. He is one of the few speakers I get totally excited over and feel like shouting AMEN to several of his famous one liners. I have noticed the great majority of the audience does the same and we all get fired up. I've also noticed though that several squirm in their seats. I have seen talk of him on several popular homeschool message boards and have come to understand the discomfort many have with him and others like him.

It would be easy to say that they are feeling convicted in their sin and that is what is making them uncomfortable. That may be true for some, but I am not too sure. While I do believe most of what he and others like him speak is the truth, what good is the truth when you are only preaching to the choir so to speak? Those of us in agreement with him get all excited and riled up and more convinced than ever that we are on the right path, but we already believed that BEFORE we walked in to the conference. What about those who may NEED to hear what he says, but whose ears are going to be closed because of the delivery of the message?

Those who need to hear the truth in a loving way are going to be turned off to it because of the delivery. It's one thing to be convicted on something, but sometimes there is a fine line between expressing that conviction and arrogance. I have to repent here myself and say that I am afraid there have been times I have allowed my own personal convictions to turn to arrogance. A feeling of superiority that I am doing things the "right" way and therefore those who aren't doing things just like me have it all wrong and are wretched, horrible sinners. Okay, slight exaggeration, but shamefully I have suffered from feelings of superiority and pride in areas of my life.

Sadly many considering homeschooling may never begin because they go expecting to learn something about this still somewhat unfamiliar to many alternative in education and end up in a room full of people all excited and raving how this particular way is the ONLY way to do it and any other way is wrong and perhaps even sinful.

I don't know, see, I'd rather be speaking and reaching to those that are searching, than those that already agree 100% with me. First, I think we who homeschool for religious reasons need to remember that not everyone interested in homeschooling is doing so for religious reasons. I wasn't when I started. I wasn't even a practicing Christian when I started. It was homeschooling that helped lead me back on that path. I think if I had been hit over the head with what I see and hear from many prominent so called homeschool "leaders" I may have run FAR the other way and not even considered homeschooling and as a result may not be a Christian today.

It's like that in many areas of Christian life, whether it be the preaching in churches to those already saved rather than hitting the streets or jungles to those who have never heard the Word. Christian films that have great messages that even unbelievers could appreciate, UNTIL the sappy preachieness becomes so overwhelming and obvious that those who aren't already part of the choir shouting "AMEN" get up and leave.

Don't get me wrong, there is a definite place for Christian films, good preaching and powerful homeschool messages. I happen to be a fan of all of the above, but I recently am starting to wonder if in too many of these areas those in leadership should be trying to reach out to those who really need the message rather than continue to the back patting, ego stroking choir.

I know I rush out and buy or download most of the big conference speakers talks as they become available, and all the latest Christian films, and I LOVE them, but I am not so sure many of my family or friends would feel the same. I do believe we should boldly speak the truth, but that bold truth must also be spoken in love or it's only going to be spoken to deaf ears or of course those who already agree with you.

One thing that really got me thinking about all of this and it's relation to homeschooling is the movie "Waiting for Superman" which I will share about a little later. Great film, but I think I got something a little different out of it than most.


Lisa said...

I really appreciated this post. I have felt those same misgivings before, but was not able to put them into words like you did. Thank you!

The Rambo Family said...

I didn't go through this with homeschooling (we don't homeschool) but have recently gone through this with a church we were attending. I am still on the fence about certain things with my faith, and with a lot of Christians it all or nothing. I don't agree with that and with some of the people at that church , than you don't belong...