I dunno that there is one. But this old post on an Assemblies of God blogring I came across makes me wonder if some people in the ministry might just be taking parenting decisions of others a liiiiiiittle too personally. A children's pastor states that homeschoolers often come in with this haughty, elitist attitude and don't let their kids "mix" with the other kids.
Oh! Her words of advice go vaguely sorta like this: "If you're a homeschooler, you need to be supportive of the church leadership. If the church leadership provides a children's pastor and has children's programs, you should show you're 'supportive' by sending your kids off to them. If you don't like the children's ministry, you can leave the church... but don't take any other families with you! That would be most un-Christlike of you, because those people belong to us. We own 'em."
I'm sorry, there's a line that oughtn't be crossed around here somewhere, even if it is a bit blurry. I think people need to butt out of the parenting decisions of others unless they're specifically asked for advice. Tell me I *need* to support the children's programs at the church? *Never* say anything bad about staff? Um... no. Though I will certainly agree with her that we should pray for our church leaders and not say things about them we wouldn't say TO them. And even beyond that, I think there should be a certain level of honour and respect the title of "pastor" should carry. With very few exceptions, we should disagree *respectfully* with people who have followed the call to ministry.
Not that I've arrived at this mythical place where we always speak the truth in love. But it's a nice ideal. I know there is a balance between total rugged independence and being "accountable" to leadership. The former leads to whatever-you-want- ism and the other leads to finding yourself a member of a cult in ten years and addressing some other chick as "sister-wife."
I can "get" where someone like this blogger is probably coming from. No doubt pastors deal with a wholllle bunch of backbiting and gossiping and that sort of thing, and for my part, I'm glad I don't know the half of it. But maybe let's let me be the parent of my own kids. If I don't want them hanging out with the worldly kids in Children's Church, then they won't be hanging out with the worldly kids in Children's Church. If I have a criticism, I usually try to take it up with you, but I'm certainly not obligated to shut up if I don't get my concerns answered to my satisfaction.
By the way, my children will not be going to Children's Church for the forseeable future. But did anyone ask me in the last several months about how the program might be altered a bit to accomodate my children? Hey, it's a small enough church, and my kids have enough special needs that it probably isn't asking too much on my part to expect a phone call or short conference asking about how we could make the area more Elf and Emperor- friendly. Do you even know the real reason we aren't sending our kids to Children's Church? It has nothing to do with homeschooling; I can tell you that much!
One of these days when I think the CP is ready to listen, I'm going to have a few things to say. I don't think either of us will enjoy the discussion, and a discussion isn't going to necessarily change things for the better. I'm afraid it might make things worse, and so I keep putting it off. I have soooo much conflict in my life already right now that I'd hate chancing a blowup (on my part!) and my having to leave. Siiigh. And yet he isn't a bad guy on the whole. I just have a bad temper when I feel my kids have been wronged and don't trust *myself* very well yet to be calm about things. And odd as it sounds, I don't feel "led" to discuss it with anyone just yet. That is... not a usual feeling for me. I'm usually pretty forthright, and I probably will be much more so with you, dear reader, once I feel the issue is addressed (or not addressed) and I've given the CP a fair chance to address it.
But suffice to say, it isn't the worldliness of the other kids or the fact that the NIV is used that keeps my kids with me in "big church." Not that I like the worldliness of the other kids or the fact that the NIV is used. That's just not the reason.
If you're a pastor, and you're finding that your church's homeschooling families are leaving in droves, it isn't *necessarily* because they're overly picky about the other congregants, or even because of anything whatsoever to do with homeschooling at all. Though sometimes the pickiness of parents can come into play, it's true. Don't take it personally, but several families leaving for similar reasons should clue you in to a problem that's beyond their "pickiness." It's either your problem or theirs, and you can only do something about your own and pray for the people at the next church who will inherit theirs...
But while I'm on the subject of picky parents, I feel the need to mention that it isn't just homeschooling parents who can be perceived as bossy and overinvolved with their children. It's those crazy GenX parents of public schoolers as well. Those GenXers are bossy, nasty people who don't just take the status quo for their kids. They have unrealistic expectations. They're totally unfair. Blah blah blah.
You can't win, folks. I'm thinking the best you can do in any situation is to try to look at it from another viewpoint and "manage your expectations." And while I think parents ought to try to be reasonable folk, parents should have the last say-so on what goes on with their children. Why do I think that? Because I'm the MOM; that's why. :)