Tunnel Vision


It is rare that I read anything on the Web that sets me a-nodding from the first line. Josh Harris’s reprint of “Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers” by Reb Bradley gave me motion sickness from my perpetual head-bobbing in agreement.

Beyond its look at how homeschooling parents can miss the forest for the trees, it exposes the general disconnection from simple reality that often plagues the most zealous Christian families and churches. Bradley’s confession at how his son received more love from the boy’s tat-laden, stoner co-workers than from his own Christian family is a tale oft-told yet one rarely comprehended.

It’s also an article woven through with examples of overt gracelessness, as holier-than-thou condemnation takes center stage in households that should know the core of the Gospel better. But knowing isn’t always living, and if anything, better praxis in the American Church is the one area of needed growth no rational person can argue against.

I’ll also put in props for my previous post (“Fear: The Ruination of the American Church“), as the Bradley article amplifies how fear of the times and the world as it is contributes to the errors committed by well-meaning Christian homeschoolers.

More than anything, I believe this article argues for the Way of the Average. I continue to note that the people who seem to get on best with life are those who were neither too outstanding nor too underperforming. I learned this at a reunion many years ago: The people who were average in high school (and possibly overlooked then) were enjoying the best, happiest lives.

One could argue from the experience of averageness that it is not the spiritual superstar in the youth group who goes on to achieve the greatest ministry. Same goes for the über-student held out as the homeschooling pinnacle. For every Nobel prize winner, there’s a Todd Marinovich. It very well may be that it is possible to be too Christian, especially when that which is gaged as “Christian” has more to do with impressing the spiritual Joneses than with clinging to the Faith as expressed in Palestine AD 60.

Hat tips to Challies for bringing this one to light and to all the others who noted it. Do read this one. It’s an 11 out of 10.

Our Disconnected Families


I promise to write the final part of my series on Christian Education, but that final is long, involved, and taxing. It’s coming along, though.

Wanted to write a brief observation of what I witnessed this weekend. It’s sad, but it’s also critical for us to expose.

Saturday, my son and I attended an enrichment program for gifted children. The program is wonderful, and my son enjoys it immensely.

We broke for lunch and ate in the mini-cafeteria area. At the tables around ours were groups of dads with their sons and daughters sharing a lunch.

I use that word sharing with trepidation, because not much personal interaction occurred.

At one table, the dad got out lunch, then pulled out his MacBook and proceeded to spend the entire lunch absorbed in the Internet or some other computer-based distraction. His son ate his meal in silence.

At another table, a dad got a cell phone call and spent most of the meal talking to someone distant—rather than the young person immediately before him.

At the table beside ours, the daughter told her dad she loved him. He didn’t respond—too absorbed in his book.

I didn’t have a cell phone with me. I don’t have a laptop computer. My book stayed closed. My son and I talked about life over lunch.

This does not make me Superdad. I’m always Clark Kent. More often than not, I’m clumsy with this or that. I make mistakes with alarming regularity.

But at least I’m present in the moment.

What are we doing to ourselves and to our families? How did we get so distracted?

The dad on the laptop really bugged me, and I felt like saying something to him. But I didn’t. He might have responded, “Yeah, well who made you Superdad?”

That I tolerated the dad on the cell phone a bit more says something about what we’ve come to accept as normal. I hope I never become too normal, though.

And the dad so engrossed in his book? I watched that daughter’s response to the ignoring of her simple affirmation of love. She pulled her coat over her head and retreated into her nylon and polyfill cave. It’s not hard to imagine what might go down in her life as she ages and goes searching for someone, anyone, to say, “I love you, too, darlin’.”

I keep wondering what we’re doing to ourselves. It’s not like any of those dads had no choice. No, they selected their priorities.

How sad that in America 2010, we have so much, yet our much often becomes the building materials for the next generation’s hell.

{Note: I wanted an image for this post that showed a dad ignoring his child while he toyed with some electronic device . Sadly, many stock photos of such a scene exist. I say sadly not because I would have to pay to use that image but because so many pro photographers have seen fit to document such a scene.}

What a Week…


My wife endured a devastating car wreck on Wednesday that totaled our Corolla, the man who was one of the reasons my wife and I are at our church died unexpectedly, my son is home yet again with vomiting, and today—Friday, of all days—I am just now beginning to get back to work.

In what can only be deemed God’s intervention, my wife walked away with little more than a small bump above her right eye after being in a high-speed rollover. We suspect she hydroplaned after encountering a downpour on a slick road, tried to correct the slide, the wheels eventually bit, and the direction when they bit was off the road—speed did the rest (although the investigation showed she was driving the recommended speed for the conditions). County roads around here are raised in open areas to prevent snowdrifts, so when she left the road, the car was naturally put into a position of flipping when it went down the steep embankment.

The veteran police officer at the scene noted that the reason she wasn’t hurt at all was because she was driving a Japanese car. He said that a wreck in a similar American car would have severely injured or killed the driver. And you expect to hear mom, apple pie, and Chevrolet out of cops, don’t you? I put more faith in God than the Japanese, but still, there’s a reason I’ve only owned Hondas, Toyotas, and Mazdas.

So we’re looking for a high-MPG, low-mileage, used car from one of those manufacturers. Being the green types that we are (and were before it became trendy), we’d love to get a gently used, late-model Prius, but then so does everyone else on the planet, if my searches so far are accurate. The average used Prius stays on the market about 5 nanoseconds, I think. If you have a line on a car and would like to pass it along, please drop me a note at the email address listed in the top of the right sidebar.


One accident has a miraculous outcome, while another does not. In what was a highly preventable situation that created a cascade of events that ended badly, the pastor emeritus of our church fainted while speaking on Sunday. We all thought he would recover, and it sure looked as if he would. But the fall he sustained created some hidden damage that spiraled out of medical control as the days progressed. The night of my wife’s accident, he passed away.

He and his wife were so kind to us when we first came that it made an immediate impression. Carl was like a father to many in the church, and such men are not easily replaced as they are so rare to begin with. Though he was pushing 80, he should have been with us for more years. Sometimes, events are what they are, though. And God is always in control. Still, this is a sad, sad loss.

My son has missed a number of days of school in the last month with morning vomiting that comes out of nowhere. No fever, no other signs of problems, but then BARF! I’ve talked to other parents whose kids are having the same problem. No idea what this is, especially as he’ll go several days with no problems, only to have the vomiting return. So it’s off to the doc today.

It just seems crazy around here lately, so I’ve been working nutty hours, and the toll of staying up late to get work done in the quiet of the evening has taken it out of me. Obviously, searching for a new car and taking on debt that we don’t want to assume doesn’t help, either. (It makes me wonder how anyone can afford to buy a decent car, what with payments closing in on $500/month for even a used late model.) I’m depressed already thinking about the inevitable size of the insurance check. Trade-in value on a car that is in good condition and is paid for seems like far less than the vehicle is worth, especially since you can never replace it for that price.

But again, God is in control. I believe that with all my heart. Especially after seeing the wrecked hulk that was our car and my wife with barely a bump on her.

Prayers are requested. I’m trusting that the Lord will come through with a great car for us, and He’ll make things right concerning our other challenges. It’s been a year of living by faith, for sure.

Sorry if it’s been dull here this week, but too much is going on. I don’t know what next week holds, either. It may be slim till life and work settle down. Thanks for being a reader.