The Unfundamental Conversion
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About Lana

Hi, I’m Lana.  I grew up a fundamentalist, a Calvinist, and a part of the Christian homeschool movement. Then I moved to Asia to live overseas, and I questioned it all.

I blog about many issues, most especially life after fundamentalism, life overseas, and Christian apologetics.

One unique feature of my blog is the philosophy posts. Most philosophy bloggers are either conservative, evangelicals or atheists. I am blog about Christian philosophy from the Christian perspective, but I try to do so with the rigor that most evangelical scholarship lacks.

My Background

I was a homeschool kid, and learned to accept my fate of homegrown food, white sandals, dresses, and an existence never leaving our own little woods. My childhood was gendered, I was shoved through ATI conferences and gatherings, and I was undereducated in some subjects.

I escaped to college, but I remained closed minded throughout the experience. I had no idea how to handle myself socially, and the material I was taught terrified me. After college, I had a meltdown, and it was a long winter of self-reflection and depression.

Then one summer, I packed my bags and headed to SE Asia. My soul was touched in a powerful way that summer, and I came back home and left the states indefinitely.

And then, through three hard but wonderful years living among missionaries, caring for teenagers as broken as me, and wandering through slums and villages, my whole world deconstructed. First it was my belief in Calvinism that crumbled, then protestant hell, then the protestant view of the Bible, and slowly everything else.

I have a M.A. in philosophy and study philosophy in the university. My blog here is an attempt to apply what I learn in more practical and concrete ways that are meaningful to our moral and spiritual journeys.

This blog is a journey

As you read in this blog, keep in mind that it is a journey. I do not agree with everything I wrote here, because I am a work in progress. In this blog, you will find my more universalist phase, and very orthodox posts. You will also find different perspectives on philosophy. Read my blog like a spiritual journey, not a treatise for what I believe and don’t believe.

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Some Popular Posts 

No, Who’s Jesus? He doesn’t live Around?” – I Dialogue that shook my belief in Calvinism.

We Failed Her. We Didn’t Tell her About Jesus.” – My journey in Cambodia that shook my belief in hell.

Traveling and Dispelling Political Fear – How travel dispelled my political fears.

My Writing

I started this blog in 2012 while still living in Asia. At that time, I had no idea that popular homeschool alumni blogs like Love Joy Feminism existed. I just knew that I need to blog my story. Since then, I have received hundreds of emails, including hate mail from those who no longer accept me and positive messages from others who use to know me. Through the homeschool alumni networks, I have connected with homeschool alumni and recovering fundamentalists from all over the world. I am grateful.

I partner with Homeschoolers Anonymous and No Longer Quivering. You will find a lot of my articles on these blogs.

A Life Overseas published one of my articles.

My story was featured on the American Conservative and the Dish.

You can also find my bucket list here.

Follow?

If you’d like to follow along, you can subscribe by email below, or follow me on twitter @wideopenground. If you want to chat or share your story on my blog, email me at wideopenground[at]yahoo[dot]com.

I try to offer a safe place for people of all religions or beliefs. I grew up where religion divides people, and I am not interested in walking that road again.

I hope you leave a bit encouraged. Thank you for taking the time to visit me here at Wide Open Ground.

Please join the conversations.

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Names of people on the blog are generally changed for privacy. I also do not use my full name here.

  • Hi Lana,

    I followed your blog through my WordPress dashboard several weeks ago, but I’m not getting updates in my reader. Do you know if I need to adjust any settings or anything? I’m bookmarking it just in case it’s some glitch on WordPress’ end.

    I’m really enjoying your writings. Keep up the good work!

    • Lore, I’m not sure about your settings. I checked my settings to be sure.

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Please check out my blog http://lakenormanprep.wordpress.com/ about the award. It is a fun way to learn about new blogs and to promote new bloggers. I hope you are able to accept (it does take some time). 🙂

  • Sherri Phengchard

    Wow! I’m excited to stay up-to-date with your blog. Sounds like we share the same heart! I love how travel has really renewed my mind about Jesus and how He loves us.

    • Yay for travel. w00t w00t

    • Lana

      Is that a picture of Luxembourg?!!!

  • cazar

    My name is cazar. I have a full respect for you. You Lana have been amazing to the world and me. I wish we had more people like you.

    • Thanks, Cazar. *smile*

  • Eliot Parulidae

    Thank you for your amazing blog. I didn’t grow up in a fundamentalist household, but I DID grow up in fear of fundamentalists – the neighbor who harassed my mother to tears because her daughter had seen an episode of ‘Scooby Doo’ at my house, the kids who beat me up in middle school because I was Catholic and claimed to dislike George W. Bush, the homeschooling people (I was non-fundamentalist homeschooled for awhile), my evangelical high school classmates who bullied me for being gay and used their religion as a Get out of Detention Free card, and the mentally ill right-wing ideologue who shot my best friend’s foster father in a Unitarian Church. Fundamentalism is a cultural force that harms people from outside as well as inside. I’m sorry for all you had to go through.

    I hope to someday reopen my heart to Christ’s message and become a true and generous progressive Christian. As of now, this is something I can only work toward.

    • Eliot, thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be bullied, and then when people justify behavior in the name of religion is just, ugh, wrong on so many levels. I am not surprised about scooby doo. We didn’t get to watch that either. I used to be a childcare worker at a church, and one mother complained that we turned on Finding Nemo. She said Nemo disobeyed and was a bad role model. I’m tired. I can’t tip toe around people for the rest of my life.

  • Hey I just started following your blog and just wanted to say that I really appreciate your openness and honesty. It’s rare to find in Christian circles, especially in the missions world. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment. Honesty is hard in a world that expects perfection. I’ll read through your posts tomorrow.

  • Hi Lana,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You have a very interesting perspective of the world here. I too appreciate the honesty you have shown. And the humour as well. Glad to have (virtually) met you here.

    Keep writing!

    Warmest regards from the Philippines,
    Mary

    • I’m glad you could see my sense of humor, lol

  • BeenThereDoneThat

    Lana,
    I followed you here from Wartburg Watch. I look forward to reading more of your story. I am recently departed from a fundamental/homeschooling/home birthing church. I was raised in “the world” and married a man who was raised in this church. It’s an interesting combination. At least we are in agreement to leave all of that behind and discover what faith really is. Like you said, it goes from black and white to color. I also grew up living in different countries. We would all be more compassionate, I think, if we had the opportunity to experience different cultures. God be with you on your faith journey.

    • Interesting story. I am indeed on a journey, and we are all on this together.

  • Continued success in your quest for peace and gifting of yourself.
    While continental, our family volunteers for our community. About 70-80% of all of the United States Firefighters are volunteers.

    Cheers and thank you for your visit.

  • Thanks for your comment on my blog, Lana! I appreciate your experiences. I look forward to checking out your blog further : )

  • very good post, i definitely love this website, carry on it.

  • Yes!!! This is great! Can’t wait to read more

  • Hey Lana. Thanking you for your authenticity and looking forward to reading more about your journey. Be encouraged!

    • Lana Hope

      Well thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  • Love this site. Amazing

  • Randomness: I wanted to acknowledge your response to a post of mine (several months ago: eep!).

    I was cleaning out my ‘please approve/unapprove’ box just now and noticed you weren’t a spambot.

    Sorry for the delay, and I’m glad you stopped by!

    • Lana Hope

      Oh thanks for telling me. No problem.

  • Hi Lana,
    I’ve only poked around your blog a little bit, but it sounds like we are on a similar journey. Traveling overseas and experiencing different cultures was one of the things that first helped me start questioning and leaving the fundamentalist bubble. I look forward to reading more of your blog!
    -kate

    • Lana Hope

      Hey, Kate, Thank you so much for the comment. It’s so encouraging for me! Blessings to you too!

  • I love this about page. I share alot in common. But never traveled alot. Wish i could if chance available. I respect this page alot. God bless is page. It brings open eyes to our souls and wide mouths with happyness with ground of faith strong deliverence. Keep testifying. Love this.

  • I nominated your blog! Check it out:
    LIEBSTER AWARD NOMINEE | Realology
    https://mandimonblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/liebster-award-nominee/

  • Hi Lana,
    I stopped by to check out what you are up to after you followed my blog – thanks for that by the way. You have lived a fascinating journey so far, and your bucket list shows it will continue to be amazing into the future. You write with such style and grace, and I love how considered you are in tackling some of the really big questions of religion. Your blog is really unique, inspiring, and thought-provoking, and I’m glad I have had the chance to (cyber-)meet you.
    Jo

    • Lana Hope

      Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be following your journey – to see where travel leads you next!

  • Hey – saw your post on Steve Crosby’s facebook page. Looks like you have been on an interesting journey. I can totally relate to you having left Religion and learning to walk the journey in relationship with God. We are in the middle of homeschooling our children and we plan to practice courtship, however we have found a balance in deciding what works best for our family – not because we “have” to. Over the last few years, we also have been learning to question the status-quo. I am sorry to hear about how you lacked relationship with your parents, being raised in a homeschooled family, you’d think it would be more relational. It seems to me that many are called to homeschool their children, but many are not called to homeschool. It all boils down to whether we are doing it because that is what the church group we belong to does, or whether we have really heard from God about doing it. The main reason we homeschool is because we have heard from God to do so, and to not do so would be going against what he has shown us. We desire to invest individually in the lives of our children and to protect them from the immorality and propoganda that runs through the public school system. We have also left behind the patriarchal/top-down approach to marriage/parenting, and now embrace a more open, free mindset about religion/relationships/God. Bless you in your journey!!

    • Lana Hope

      Thanks for the comment, Chad. The reason I’ like to homeschool my kids is because I get bored in school myself. and I think tests and grades are mean. I’m in graduate school, and it still drives me insane, and it’s at least way more interesting. I understand the God says part. I’d rather people say God told the, then say the Bible says everyone must homeschool. There’s a difference.

      • Yes, there is a difference – the Bible does NOT say everyone must homeschool. I remember the verses people would pull out to try to prove this or that, and it is insane. God speaks through the Bible, but he also speaks in many other ways. I like your practical ideas for homeschooling – I love that it allows us to help each of our kids take learning at the pace they are ready for… Yes, testing is mean when that’s all the states care about are the results of the tests so they can keep their federal funding. I know there are a lot of wonderful teachers out there in the public school system, but the system itself is very flawed. Blessings to you

  • Scout Finch

    Your journey is incredible and profound for me to read. I also grew up home schooled, in a fundamental Christian home, first overseas with missionary parents, and then in the southern US. Travel can be very perspective changing. A year in southern Mexico taught me that I was so over waiting around for a husband and learning how to be a perfect model of womanliness. A subsequent 6 months in Scotland started me on a journey to embracing my orientation as a lesbian. Moving out of the south, to the northwest, gave me space to process it all and redefine my faith.

    Keep writing. You are inspiring and thought provoking, always, but for those of us with a similar journey, it’s also just nice to read posts from someone who “gets it.”

    • Lana Hope

      I read your blog from an HA tweet. But did not know you grew up in another country. And high five. The north west is SO much better than the South. I appreciate the community mindness in my hometown, but I don’t miss it, LOL.

  • Hi Lana. I appreciate your journey and your website—which I just found—agreeing with much that you have to say.

    I was not a homeschool kid. In fact, to be honest, I think homeschooling is just plain weird and really dangerous, especially when one considers how much the heretical Christian Reconstructionist movement has taken it over lock, stock, and barrel. However, I have no objection to a person who wants to do homeschooling—as long as they are not doing it for silly religious or social reasons—like—to keep their white children away from black children or so they will never learn about evolution. I think good public schools are great places, and the ones in my town are some of the best in the nation.

    What’s a Christian Reconstructionist? Go look it up, especially the part about cleaning up the world by killing off as many sinners as possible so Jesus will look down from on high, see that “special men” have made the world clean for him, and then Jesus will descend with a shout in full assurance that he will not soil his white clothing. The part about re-enslaving all black people because God created them to be slaves is fun too.

    Christian Reconstructionist-dominated organizations (which keep that fact very quiet and away from the public) develop, manufacture, and distribute a very large amount of the Christian homeschool textbooks, workbooks, and learning materials that parents use with their children at home. Christian Reconstructionism is a stealth movement by intentional design. I know this sounds like some looney conspiracy theory, but it is not. The diabolical plans and beliefs of the Christian Reconstructionists are set forth in detail in the writings of their leaders, and their deep involvement in the Christian homeschool movement is well documented by the journalists who have been astute enough to look into it. As Wolf Blitzer at CNN remarked, “I had never heard of them before. I did some research on these people and was absolutely shocked at what I discovered.”

    How many of you homeschool folks have heard about this movement, and how many of you did not know that your Christian homeschool materials are intentionally and stealthily indoctrinating you and your children with certain aspects of their philosophy—not the whole thing but just little pieces here and there—so a light will go on in your child’s mind 35 years from now—and your child will recall these pieces from homeschool and say, “Yeah!!! That sounds right. I will become a member of your movement and follow you.

  • We homeschool and have never heard of this movement. We use Sonlight curriculum, and I personally read through almost all of the books our children read. They use almost all widely accepted classic books and textbooks. I have never even seen a hint of what you are talking about.

    However, that being said, there are a lot of weird homeschoolers out there, and then there are a lot of completely sane homeschoolers out there who really love their children and care a lot about the kind of education they are getting. Be careful not to paint with a broad brush. Blessings to you

    • Lana Hope

      I just looked at your blog. You have been homeschooling your kids for 12 years and have never heard of Bill Gothard, Doug Philips, stay at home daughters, girls in dresses only, large families are obeying God but birth control people aren’t, CPS is evil, feminism is evil, public school is evil, and any of this extremism in homeschooling? BTW, I never used Sonlight, but I like it from what I understand. But I would think you are aware that some people use the more extreme curriculum, and sometimes even believe what they say.

  • Thanks for taking the time to check out our blog.

    I am familiar with all the people you mentioned, and went to a church that embraced Doug Philips teachings for a while. I know most of what they teach, but I would never say any of them teach that we should go back to slavery, or that we should keep our children away from African-americans. I do agree that they embrace many other strange ideas like you listed. I just wasn’t aware of some of the gory details or ideas in the “christian reconstructionist” movement. I am shocked if what the gentleman posted earlier is 100% true. I am only commenting to say that homeschooling in general is not weird, and not all homeschoolers are weird or “dangerous”. However, there are definitely some who are.

  • Chad and others. You might find this blog article to be interesting:

    http://fanaticforjesus.blogspot.com/2011/11/christian-reconstructionism-and-history.html

    and also this article on Rousas Rushdoony, the founder of the Christian Homeschool Movement in the United States:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/05/r-j-rushdoony-reconstructionist-and-racist-bigot/

    Jesus saves—but not like this!!!

  • Hi Lana, I made the switch to a self hosting site recently but transferring followers doesn’t come with the package. Would you consider taking a look and following me again at my new spot…same name different address? I still get your posts. Having been on the field and dealt with some folks’ issues and having older adult kids, I read your blog to keep me on my toes. We are home based now Thanks. Linda

    • Lana Hope

      Hi, Linda, I went through that too when I made the switch. You can email wordpress and tell them to transfer your followers. The “like” button will no longer show on your followers wordpress reader, but wordpress can fix it so the posts still come through their wordpress reader.

      Your set up looks great! Good luck with the “home” transition. It was hard on me. For those who might see this comment, Linda’s blog address: http://bushelandapickle.com

  • I want to thank you for following “A Way With Words.” My joy in writing is made more complete when people read what I’ve written (and even more as they respond).

    While I write primarily about faith and mental illness, I am known to dabble in other subjects and stories and even the occasional poem. If you have any requests, please contact me.

    You have quite a story to tell. While I do not share some of your faith perspectives, I applaud you for having the courage of your convictions. I pray you are blessed as you bless others.

    Gratefully,
    Tony Roberts

    • Lana Hope

      Thanks for your comment, and for your blog. I’ll let you know if I do. Blessings.

  • Lana! Love stumbling upon your blog and seeing how a life overseas has helped you heal—after college (a miracle that I had experienced enough freedom from my upbringing to actually go to college!) I moved to China for 5 years and experienced so much healing from my oppressive upbringing. I am wild with curiosity as to whether you may have been part of what I call “the magazine girls” back in the day?!? I was too— just wondering if we connected in our “other/Fundy life”?!?

    • Lana Hope

      Hmmm..no. I was on TPS for a while, and ATI. I love that you went to China. Are you still overseas? My dad was pro-colelge; that’s how I got to go. I had to fight to get to live on campus though.

  • I’m the volunteer editor of HomeschoolBase.com. I couldn’t find a contact form, so I figured I would leave a comment.

    We just published an article written by a survivor of homeschool abuse that I think you might be interested in. One reason I am reaching out to you is because this article has not been popular among our current audience and unlikely to be seen/shared. If you would be interested, you are welcome to quote or republish aspects of the article: https://homeschoolbase.com/5-scary-facts/

    Our goal is to publish several more informational articles from survivors of abuse in hopes of raising as much awareness as possible. Furthermore, we are working on another project, called ‘In Their Words,’ that will shine light on the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of homeschooling.

    Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out!

    • The best way to reach me is twitter. I shared the post there. I like it.

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