My Struggle with Homeschool and Religion

burrowing owl 1 - WM2

Judgy much???

When we switched our children to a non-traditional schooling approach a few months ago, I understood fully that faith would be incorporated into some of their new classes. Prayer is no stranger in our home, and I am comfortable with my spiritual life. Given that I wanted our children to have greater familiarity with the Bible and its historical context, I actually looked forward to the addition of this into their regular curriculum. However I was worried, too. I wanted my concerns to be inconsequential, but that hasn’t felt true so far.

My issue is akin to this – If Jesus was to have a party, I feel certain that everyone in attendance range would get an invite. Being Jesus, He would already know that several of those peeps would decline, some would RSVP with bogus forgotten alternate plan excuses, and others would just straight up ghost the whole gig. But the door would have been open to them all anyway. Whether or not they ultimately decided to take it, He would have offered them a seat at the table. But that’s not necessarily how it works here.

In order to participate in the bulk of the homeschool co-ops that I have found or even to be a part of the social or educational clubs and groups for homeschoolers in our area, you are typically required to certify in writing that you are a Christian and that you follow the specific beliefs of that group. If you can’t or won’t do this, your family cannot participate or be a part of the community. The real irony of my issue is that we are Christians. My children have been baptized and all are up to date on their sacraments (If you aren’t familiar with those, just think of them as the big beefy spiritual shot requirements of the Catholic world). My faith isn’t in question when it comes to these assertions. However I do have a significant questions with regard to the exclusion of non-Christian families from the classrooms and events. Is this a Christian approach? Is this what Jesus would have done?

I completely understand the desire to filter out the insane crapfest of nonsense happening  around us all. It’s crazy out there. On a good day, social media is a total shit-show. On most of the others, it’s a frickin’ nightmare. People behave horrifically, and they prove time and time again why one should take time away from those wine glasses before tapping on one’s keyboard. In public school, the behavior that is permitted is atrocious and the administrators and teachers can’t do a single thing about it. The overt sexuality displayed by countless tweenagers is shocking, and the pervasiveness of drugs and alcohol is terrifying. Parenting is a scary stuff man, and the idea of being a child in today’s world chills me to my core.

I get it. Seriously. I do.

But does that justify shutting the doors on everyone else who happens to have a different set of beliefs in that moment? Does prohibiting a Jewish or Hindu child from sharing a seat at the table align with the way Jesus interacted with others throughout His life?

My very favorite part of the epic 1984 movie ‘Ghostbusters’ is when Winston says, “Hey, Ray, do you believe in God?” Ray responds, “Never met him.” And then Winston follows with these beautifully profound words, “Well, I do, and I love Jesus’s style.”

The whole movie is a damn funny classic, but this little piece of their conversation has always stuck with me on a completely different level. Even if someone didn’t follow Christianity, could they really argue with Jesus’s style or His approach toward humanity? Could anyone dismiss the Truth of His teachings of kindness, hope, forgiveness, and acceptance? And seeing the beauty and wisdom of those lessons, could we in good conscience turn someone away without even offering them a seat at the table if it was available?

Maybe someone doesn’t believe in Jesus in that moment. But what if allowing that same person to have an opportunity to hear those words and see that faith in action becomes the moment that reveals the Truth of it all? If we simply refuse to open the door, the opportunity to share and grow is lost.

This dynamic genuinely saddens me. As parents, my husband and I have spent years teaching our children the importance of being accepting toward others. I can’t fathom deliberately telling them to avoid or exclude others if their faith or sexual orientation is not in alignment with their own. It contradicts everything I was raised to believe and all that we have conveyed to our kids. But I feel like this is what we are being asked to assert.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care if you are Christian, Jewish, Burning Man attendee, or anything else, you can hit the road if you are a serious jerk with serious jerk tendencies. But if you are Christian, Jewish, Burning Man attendee or anything else and you also happen to be a good person with non-jerk kids, your family will always be welcomed to our table when we have chairs to share. Expect it to be a raggedy scene with lots of noisy debate going on, but we’re comfortable with conversation and love learning different perspectives even when we disagree. It may not be the party you want to attend, but you’ll always get the invite anyway.

What do you think? Is exclusion for the sake of protecting your child a valid tact to take? I would genuinely appreciate your perspective and feedback on this. Please note that I will delete your comments without response or apology if you get ugly or cray-cray. I see enough of that on Facebook and have no interest in watching that unfold here, too.  😉

Best wishes to all.  Jo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: