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Problem With The Biblical Mandate

January 12th, 2013 | Posted by Lana Hope in Homeschool | Patriarchy
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SnaPsi Сталкер / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I hear it said, a lot, not just on my blog but others as well, that the problem with homeschool patriarchy movement isn’t the system, but families, dysfunctional families. But I don’t agree. There’s a lot of unhealthy components of the patriarchy lifestyle, and there’s a lot of people taking the ideas to the extreme, but  its the word “mandate” or “God says you must do this” that penetrates an unhealthy lifestyle.

Healthy reason to homeschool: this is best for my child, and for me.

Unhealthy: we have to do this, push come to shove because God said so.

And yet, Christian Patriarchy is built on a mandate. First, I’ll give you a list of some of the  the characteristics of the Christian Patriarchy movement, and then I’ll walk through them and give links to where Christian Patriarchal leaders present these as a Biblical mandate.

Homeschooling mandate; Headship and submission; Gender roles; Large families / no birth control ;. Corporal punishment ; Courtship and Emotional Purity ; Cooking from scratch, everything, and sewing ; Modesty and sometimes out of date clothing ; Evangelical teachings and curriculum only ; Godly music or classical only ; Grown daughters stay home ; Discourage college education ; support the Religious Right

Here we go!

Homeschool Mandate. This can be seen in the Exodus Mandate. This article ends by telling parents they will face judgment day for their educational choice. Doug Philip’s talks about the future of homeschooling, and how it is the Biblical mandate here (and apparently, some of our homeschool parents are homeschooling the unbiblical way)

Gendered Childhood. Here’s Vision Forum’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy. I quote.

The man is also the image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man. (Gen. 1:27-28; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; Eph. 5:28; 1 Pet. 3:7)

Vision forum honestly believes this.  They have a catalog of girl’s toys and boy’s toys. They don’t cross. Life is about learning gender roles — God’s way. Its not “I want to be a mom,” or “I want to be an engineer.” Its God says to do it this way, or your selfish. For quotes from Debi Pearl’s teaching on roles, read Libby Anne’s series on Debi’s book Created to be His Helpmeet.

No Birth ControlHere is Doug Philips making large families a Biblical mandate. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with large families; I am talking about the mandate

Corporal chastisement. Michael Pearl’s words. Again, this is presented as the Biblical way to discipline. Read the Pearl’s No Greater Joy website.

Courtship and emotional purity. This word “approve” is seen in many places, including videos such as the popular Christian film Courageous. If someone grew up with emotional purity and was not damaged in anyway, its despite what he or she heard. There’s simply no way to make the doctrine that says a father “approves” who a daughter marries a healthy approach.

Cooking from scratch and sewing. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sewing and cooking, and it’s not a second class job. It can be the thing you do to survive on a low budget, and it can also be the point of burn out for some moms. Hilliary, a first born daughter who grew up with 11 siblings in a rural area, in her book Quivering Daughters, says it this way.

Until you have knelt for hours in a field like my mommy, scrubbing thousands of cloth diapers by hand….till you cry with guilt when someone buys you something new and you try to take it back to the store because you could use that money to buy groceries or pay a bill…till you school your children all day, bake twenty loaves of bread by hand..till you have no close friends; till you have experienced many pregnancies and still get in trouble about your weight–Until then you won’t understand.

Modesty. I wrote about that here from the ATI perspective. See also vision forum. Again, its not learning culture norms (bathing suits are different in Asia than in Europe) that bothers me, but telling girls this is how a godly woman should dress. huh? What verse again? Lets quit shaming women.

Evangelical teachings only. I don’t think anyone said you can’t teach your kids evolution or other worldviews as part of your education. (actually, someone probably did, but I just haven’t read it.) But for many homeschoolers my generation, when homeschool curriculum was more sparse, many of just just somehow missed out on learning what evolution really said, what other religions really taught, and what really happened in history.

Godly and Classical Music only. That teaching comes straight from Bill Gothard. He teaches that any music with a drum beat leads to demons bothering someone. He taught hymns and classical music only. I don’t think non-ATI families are that extreme.

Stay at home daughter. In Asia, families live together for financial benefits. I have no problem with this. But the movement that teaches daughter’s should because they just need protection is absurd. See Darcy’s post on the protection argument here. Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Bodkin, who write a blog on the Stay at Home Daughter, present this as the Biblical model and the way a daughter is designed to be her father’s helpmeet. Yes, daughters are their father’s assistant. Read one of their articles here.

Discourage College Education. Bill Gothard told us not to go to college. Doug Philips certainly discourages it.  [For the note, I could care less if someone has a degree. I tend to admire entrepreneurs myself.]

Religious Right. You know, if some has conservative values, that’s fine. We need to be true to our convictions. But I feel like the Religious Right Leaders used the homeschoolers either to get votes or to help stir up fear for their own agendas. This is seen easily in the UN International Rights of the Child. Without the homeschool backbone, it might have been signed years ago.

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