A Line in the Sand and a Knife in the Back: A Response to Michael Farris

August 30, 2014 | Author:

linein thesand

I am a second generation homeschooler. I was homeschooled beginning in the mid-80s when it was still a new frontier. We were the third family in the state of California to register as a private/home school. Shortly thereafter we moved to Alaska where I grew up in a strong homeschool community.

As the oldest child in the family I was very much on the journey with my parents. I listened to many of the messages they listened to, heard their discussions with other parents, went to homeschool conventions and helped run our family’s homeschool bookstore. After I graduated I helped teach my younger siblings. Now, I homeschool my own children.

I miss those early days. In spite of our differences we were all united as homeschoolers who were blazing new trails together.

I have always thought highly of HSLDA and until recently, we were members. Michael Farris is one of the homeschool pioneers I grew up appreciating.

Over the past ten years or so, as my husband and I have prayed and asked the Lord for wisdom and guidance in raising our own family for Him, Vision Forum has been a huge blessing to us. We are among the many that are shocked and heartsick over the moral failures of Doug Phillips. We do not defend him or his actions in any way shape or form. However, over the past year I have been deeply grieved over the many accusations I have seen made against Vision Forum, their teachings and the families who have appreciated both. The statements Mr. Farris and others have made about the things that they taught and promoted, especially in regards to women, are blatantly false.

I can say this for a fact based on the following reasons:

1. We listened to almost every message VF ever produced and read almost every book or article they published on this topic and are extremely familiar with their stance.

2. We agreed with VF’s stance personally. We are among the families that believe in Biblical patriarchy and we absolutely do not believe the things Mr. Farris has accused us of. We personally know many other families who also appreciated and agreed with Vision Forum’s teachings and they also in no way hold to, or practice patriarchy as defined by Mr. Farris. In fact, we would agree with this statement by Mr. Farris 100% :

Women are not to be the de facto slaves of men. Women are created with dignity equal to that of men. Women have direct and unmediated access to God. Daughters should not be taught that their only and ultimate purpose in life is to be the “helpmeet” of a man. While being a godly wife is a worthy ideal, the only statement that is universally true for every woman is that she should love and serve God as her highest priority. My wife and I raised our own daughters to believe that being a wife and mother was a very high calling but did so in a way that would not crush them if God’s leading had been different.

3. I compiled a book on Biblical womanhood that was published by Vision Forum ( because it fit the message of womanhood that they wanted to convey.) My own words therefore are included in the materials that Mr. Farris denounced as a whole. I would invite any naysayer to read that book – “Queen of the Home”  – subtitled “The Honor, Power and Nobility of Biblical Womanhood” – and find a single statement that coincides with the accusations made by Mr. Farris. (Read this excerpt here for a sample) Read or listen to (in context!) any book, article or message that Vision Forum published on this topic. You will not find the view of women that Mr. Farris claims is taught.

4. I vote. I expect that my daughters will vote when they are old enough. I have business endeavors. I believe in higher education for women. I fully expect that my daughters will be well educated. I am not a poor, downtrodden doormat or victim. I am not forced to have babies. I have wanted every one of my 8 living children and the 4 that are with the Lord and I pray for more. I have a brain and I use it. I think. I have opinions. I study. I love theology. I love logic. And yes, I believe in Biblical  patriarchy.

Mr. Farris says

Some young people who were raised in patriarchal and/or legalistic homes are now telling their stories. It is from their stories that I have learned that these men’s teachings are being applied in ways that are clearly unwise and damaging from any reasonable vantage point—Christian or secular. People are being hurt.

I think Mr. Farris would agree that just because a few extremely disturbed and evil people who seriously abuse their kids and also homeschool, does not equate to the fact that all homeschoolers are extremely disturbed and evil people who abuse their kids. Yes. People misapply and abuse the idea of patriarchy, just like there are those who misapply and abuse homeschooling. But there are no victims of true, Biblical, godly patriarchy. It is vital that this distinction is made.

Legalism is wrong and people will misapply good and godly teaching. This is not the fault of the teaching. This is the fault of our sinful hearts. It is good to pause and reflect on what we believe and why we believe it. Sometimes we need to dive back into the Scriptures and reevaluate our convictions.

But we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We don’t need to turn on those who hold to different convictions than we do and condemn them as heretics. Perhaps those of us who believe in Biblical patriarchy are not just legalistic lemmings, blindly and thoughtlessly obeying the commands of our leaders as we all head off the nearest cliff. Perhaps we have carefully and prayerfully studied out the Word of God and are seeking, by His grace, to apply it. Perhaps our ideas aren’t all that extreme if people actually heard what we had to say about what we believe and not what others have decided we believe.

It is one thing to address wrong teaching. That is necessary, well and good. It is quite another thing, however, to define what someone believes, accuse them of error and then attack them based on something that is a total fabrication, that they repeatedly deny and that can be proven as false from multiple public and easily obtained sources.

This statement by Mr. Farris is one among many that is simply not true:

Look at the outcomes of these teachings. The personal failure of Doug Phillips in the area of marriage and his mistreatment of a young woman bears directly on the legitimacy of his teaching.

Mr. Phillips himself stated that he had betrayed everything he taught and held dear. The whole reason his sin sent shockwaves throughout the entire Christian homeschool community was because it was in direct opposition to everything he stood for.

This closing statement by Mr. Farris is disturbing on many levels – not the least of which is its ominous undertone:

I truly hope that our movement will continue to demonstrate considerable tolerance for differences of opinion. But I also hope that we will show the maturity to understand that some opinions deserve no promotion. Our movement will only be tainted by extremist views if we give our platforms over to such teachers.

Mr. Farris has not only “thrown us under the bus” as one excellent response stated , he has also fed us to the wolves. I am guessing that a good portion of the people he just slandered are (or were) faithful members of HSLDA and supporters of Mr. Farris and his fight for homeschooling freedom. What sort of defense lawyer publicly accuses, prosecutes and passes judgement on those he has stated he will defend?

“There will be more to say on this in the days ahead—by me and many others. I am not trying to give an encyclopedic answer; I am just trying to draw a line in the sand.”

Yes. This is a line in the sand. It is a line drawn with a sword that first stabbed in the back and then with one fell swoop severed off a large portion of the body of Christ. 

“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”..that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 1 Corinthians 12:21, 25

Quote of the Week ~ July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014 | Author:



“Every one must have remarked how pleasant is that household in which a cheerful spirit of energy is cultivated by the mistress and mother. It is a pleasant thing to dwell with one who is not troubled by trifling annoyances, who is skilled in looking at the bright side of things, and hoping for the best; with one who believes that all the ways of the Lord are right, and who attaches a deep importance to duty. Such a one will work willingly, in the belief that God has appointed both her lot and her duties, and it is surprising how many obstacles are met and overcome by such a spirit.” ~ Anne Pratt

Top 10 Tips for Medieval Princesses

July 27, 2014 | Author:

From Suzannah Rowntree at LAF :

“Let’s face it: most of us girls wanted to be a princess at some point in our lives, and had the plastic tiara and tinsel-covered dress to prove it. We may never grow up to marry a real prince, like Kate Middleton, or take princess lessons, like Australia’s Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, but help is here! In 1405 the medieval poet and authoress Christine de Pisan wrote a book, “The Treasure of the City of Ladies”, containing hot tips for women from all walks of life, but especially princesses and noblewomen. Whether you want to make anonymous donations to a worthy cause, or convince your enemies that you love and trust them, Christine de Pisan has answers to all your princessing questions. Here are ten of my favourite lessons from her helpful little book, ten things every good princess should do:

 1. Love God and keep His commandments.

First of all above all else you must love and fear Our Lord. Why love Him? For His infinite goodness and for the very great blessings that you receive from Him. Fear Him for His divine and holy justice, which leaves nothing unpunished. If you have this love and fear constantly in view, you will infallibly be on the way to the goal where our instruction will lead you, that is, to the virtues. […] This is the way that the princess who loves Him shows it, for whatever duties or occupations she has due to the magnificence of her position, she will always keep before her eyes the light of the straight and narrow path.

Click here to read the rest.

When There is No Joy to be Found in Motherhood

July 27, 2014 | Author:

From Bambi at In the Nursery if the Nation:

There must be a balance before us of proclaiming the nobility and greatness of motherhood—because it is noble and great (this is the next generation, people!) —and the hard truth that sometimes life ain’t purty.

All of this to say, ask yourself if your expectations are realistic for what life with two littles should look like. You are in the planting phase of motherhood and that requires a lot of weeding.  

Motherhood is wonderful, fun, exciting, fulfilling and a beautiful blessing. It’s also a self-denying, exhausting work that requires the Lord’s strength. 

Click here to read the rest.

It’s Not About Staying at Home (Free Download)

July 19, 2014 | Author:

From the Western Conservatory:

If you think God’s plan for young women is all about being modest, keeping pure, staying home, preparing for marriage, and waiting for Prince Charming… you will not like this message. But…

  • If you’re tired of a small and fruitless vision for single womanhood, and are wondering if God might want more from you…
  • If you’re frustrated with a lack of fruitfulness, real-world involvement, and opportunities to grow, be stretched, and exercise your gifts…
  • If you’re sick of legalism, idolatry, formulas, movements, bandwagons, Christian-subculture trends and man-made rules, and just want to get back to God’s timeless principles for young womanhood…
  • Or if you’re just trying to figure out what you believe and why…

…take a step back with Anna Sofia and Elizabeth, away from the narrow applications and movement trends, and reexamine the baseline biblical principles that should form the foundation of our vision of single womanhood. Discover a robust vision of spreading the gospel, serving the saints, reaching out to the poor and needy, being full of good works, exercising your gifts, strengthening your arms, working with your hands, making the most of your single years, seeking first the Kingdom of God, and more!

In this message, the Botkin sisters reexamine hot button issues like a father’s authority, marriage, singleness, college, jobs, ministry, giftedness, Phariseeism, pursuing fruitfulness rather than just safety, serving our families vs. serving other people, why feminism is not the big enemy, and of course, “staying at home.” Prepare to be more excited about being a single Christian young woman than you’ve ever been before!

Click here to download and listen.

Why Moms Need to Reboot

July 6, 2014 | Author:

From Kelly Crawford at Generation Cedar:

I get tired. I get grouchy and start to look around and only see too many pairs of shoes out of place, dust under the couch, toys left out for the 100th time.


But I MUST reboot, and remind myself that the mechanics–that is, how I handle the mechanics, are intricately tied to this bigger thing that we do…this growing of souls, and launching of good, sturdy men and women.

I cannot allow myself to be too tired for too long. Grace is given, yes, but then I must draw, not from my own strength, but from that source of never-ending power that comes from the One who has called me to this.

Click here to read the rest.

Survival for Tired Moms

June 27, 2014 | Author:

From Charlotte Siems at This Lovely Place

If a good night’s rest seems like a faraway dream, welcome to motherhood. The season of having little ones sometimes seem to require more of us than we have to give. Having “been there, done that” for about 25 years, I get the feeling of desperation that sometimes overwhelms tired moms. Here are some ideas on how to survive—and thrive—when you’re one tired mama.

Take off the cape. You know, the Super Mom cape. You are human. You cannot do it all. The years of caring for children (and that includes teenagers) are demanding, but they are not forever. Don’t miss them by trying to impress people or prove something, thereby working yourself into the ground.

Click here to read the rest.

When You Need Grace to Make Chicken Salad

June 26, 2014 | Author:

Words of  wisdom from Bambi Moore at In the Nursery of the Nation:

These are the Calgon moments of motherhood. The rock tumbler as one mom called it. We start to smash into each other and painfully get our rough edges knocked off. The surprise of it is like being in the wave pool at a waterpark. You’re having a great time and then out of nowhere one of those big waves hauls off and hits you right in the face, stinging your eyes, burning your throat and you’re having a difficult time finding your feet.

Overwhelming scenarios like these are when we must remember the gospel and choose to live in light of it. We must not think the gospel is too big for these little circumstances in our lives that present themselves without notice. The gospel is for every moment, big or small. Our homes are a mission field, after all. Just as important as what goes on in foreign mission fields. We must apply to our families what we know about God and our communion with him through Christ. Communion with Him means becoming like him. We must use what we know about God’s extending hand of mercy, grace and loving kindness. In times like these we make the effort to abide in the Vine, take the grace our Father has bestowed on us, and be a channel of that grace toward our children. 

Click here to read the rest.

INVESTIGATORS: Drowning is silent

June 25, 2014 | Author:

Extremely important info on what drowning really looks like. Please take a few minutes to watch this news story:

In the past four months, four young people have drowned or nearly drowned in pools even though there were adults nearby. So, how do children drown in plain sight? A first-of-its-kind test shows why.

Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

On Not Being a Victim

June 24, 2014 | Author:

EXCELLENT, must read post from Femina:

 The word submission, on its own, holds no moral value whatsoever. Submission could be noble, submission could be treacherous. It all depends. So as we teach our daughters to “be submissive,” the ever-important question is “submissive to whom?” And the only no-fail answer to that question is “God.” We teach our daughters to be submissive to God – and that may mean being the extremely un-cool person who believes that wives should submit to their own husbands . . . and that also may mean being the wife who calls the cops on her husband, or the woman who calls the cops on her pastor, or the girl who calls the pastor on her dad. Submission certainly doesn’t always mean saying yes – sometimes submission means saying no, and that can take an awful lot of strength and bravery. Submission always has a backbone – and that backbone is the Word of God. Every human authority requiring our submission should be examined in the light of that. Do I owe this person my submission? If the answer to that quesion is yes, then it is because I submit ultimately to God and He has asked me to submit to this particular man. As a mother, I want my girls to know and understand this, and I want it to be deep in their bones. Ultimately, a heart submissive to God can stand up and resist someone who attempts to exploit that submission for their own ends.

Click here to read the rest.