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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


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I have long thought homeschooling of children could be a wonderful idea. Like most homeschoolers I have some criticisms and disappointments in the public school system.
Lately, I have been reading many blogs where there are Christian homeschoolers and I realized their dissatifaction with public education is not the same of mine. Briefly, I find public education too narrow and it does not celebrate the diversity of stories and life styles in history and life while the Christian homeschoolers seem to want to control the education so that it reinforces a narrow world view consistent with their religious outlook.

This became clear to me when I read about Patrick Henry College, which is a new Christian college that draws most of its students from Christian homeschooler's families. It requires students and faculty to hold a fundementalist view of Christianity. One of its major missions is to trains future religious evangelicals to work in the Federal Government. In short it is training the next generation of neo-conservatives. Students are given internships in the Federal government: the White House, FBI. CIA and major Republican legislators offices.
The curriculum of this college is interesting in what it leaves out. It is very weak in teaching foreign languages. It has little or no sociology or psychology. There seems to be little in the way of the arts or recreation. In short, it seems to be a very focused and narrow program.

I am also struck by the lack of minorties represented in the student body and faculty. Also, I sense that less is expected of the female students than the male students. Apparently, their highest calling is to become "stay at home moms" )SAHM) and homeschooling parents.

Religion is very important to this school and central to its mission. In principle, I have no criticism with this and in fact I went to a Liberal Arts University with a denominational affiliation. In my years there I found the most challenging teacher who taught history to be an evangelical Lutheran who would not be out of place in Patrick Henry College. I also found him the most personally challenging as he taught us history from a "Christian perspective" ( of sin, judgement and grace).

I am struck by the comparison of this school with another Christian University which also takes its religious position seriously having it part of the ethos of the school. It is Eastern Mennonite University. http://edu/www.emu. It is a broad liberal arts college that also places interns in Washington DC. They are placed not in the seats of power and influence but in the service agencies of the poor and maginalized in society. To review each school side by side is an interesting contrast in what two groups of Christians think what a Christian vocation is.

Patrick Henry College I find threatening and sinister: Eastern Mennonite University I find inviting, open and compassionate. The latter prepares students to be well rounded citizens on the World while the former trains students to control the institutions of power to promote and protect a kind of evangelical entrepenurial Christianity.


At 2:08 p.m., Blogger Ben Wideman said...

That is a fantastic posting. I'm slightly biased, as I am also a Canadian and in fact an EMU admissions counselor, but thank you for that post. It brought great joy.


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