Browsing Archives for November 2010

The CD likes to drive through the industrial section of any city we visit. I always complain loudly about this and then I find something interesting to photograph and then I go back to complaining.

Last week an anonymous reader linked my Pie Near Woman Goes on the QVC post to a forum called ‘The Well Trained Mind’. This message board is a place for classical christian homeschoolers to get together and share the love of Jesus through the powerful witness of disappearing into a subculture that actively shuns anyone who believes differently than they do.  Although some posters to the forum were entertained by my post, others were highly offended and proceeded to strip, scourge and crucify me with all the passion that is displayed in the actual passion.  I feel so resurrected now!

Strangely, the forum on ‘The Well Trained Mind’ is subtitled ‘The Hive Mind’ which according to an Dictionary Online means…

“a type of collective consciousness where individuality is stifled; a state of conformity; also written hivemind”

It has long been my (oh so humble) opinion that Christian homeschoolers seem to suffer from a particularly viral form of ‘hive mindedness’ – almost uniformly believing that public school teachers are only thinly disguised demons that seek to infect their children’s minds with every brand of evil from ‘new math’ to exposing children to atheist writers like Mark Twain and Thomas Jefferson.  Their paranoia towards anyone outside their ‘circle of trust’ is so profound that they don’t even want their kids to go to college as they might get exposed to OTHER PEOPLE’S IDEAS and this could send their kids STRAIGHT TO HELL!

Fortunately, the founder of The Well Trained Mind Forums offers a bit of perspective.  Susan Wise Bauer believes herself to be the rare and wondrous homeschooled child of the 1970s (back when homeschooling had yet to become a cultural meme for right wing nutjobs. Instead, it was strictly for regular nut jobs whose right-wingedness was merely happenstance).  Bauer is a Liberty University grad, a Westminster theological seminary grad and also holds a couple of advanced degrees from William & Mary where she has taught English since 1993.   In her free time she homeschools her own four kids with her pastor husband and churns out history textbooks for religious right homeschoolers.  Still – Bauer fought the homeschool hive mind when they e-mailed her in droves about how to find a college that had professors who would agree to accept the hive mind of their children without question and never allow their kids to question their faith.  This is how Bauer responded…

“Your typical good-sized department will probably contain one or two observant Catholics, two or three observant Episcopalians, a handful of nominal Presbyterians and Baptists who are for all practical purposes secularists, a couple of militant left-wingers out to make converts, one or two ex-hippies, the odd evangelical, and an array of folks who have never had a religious thought in their lives. In any university, you’re likely to find sympathetic faculty and hostile faculty, Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians, gay faculty and straight faculty, faculty with kids and faculty without kids. Universities are kind of like real life in that way (if in very few others). There will be many different voices and many chances to hear them.”

It is somewhat strange that she accuses left wingers of being “out to make converts” and though I certainly agree with her that evangelicals are odd, I am pretty sure that they are WAY more interested in converting people than liberals are.

Later in the same response she shockingly says….

“I myself have had a very frustrating time teaching students who come into William & Mary primed to resist the lies of “liberal faculty.” (That includes a lot of home educated students, who register for for my classes because they think I’m safe.) Every time I say something that strikes them as possibly “liberal,” all of their defenses go up and they tune me out. I can’t play devil’s advocate or dialogue with them–they immediately put me on the list of untrustworthy professors and stop listening.

And at that point they become unteachable.

I’m often asked how home educated students stack up against others in my classes. My overwhelming impression is that they’re more fragile. They’ve got little resilience; I can’t push at their presuppositions even a little bit. Maybe they’re afraid those presuppositions will shatter.”

Holy shit Susan?!?!?!?

Are you saying what I think you are saying?!?!?!??!

That Christian homeschooled kids can’t tolerate debate regarding their belief system? That they don’t know how to think thoughts that did not originate in the minds and wombs of their bible bullying mamas? That they are closed minded infants who tremble at the site of a professor with a different view point?

You are not going to believe this Susan!

But that has always been my impression of Chrisitan homeschoolers too!

We agree!

I don’t think you should tell your hive minded forum people about this.

You can read her entire post on this topic here.

But that is not all that I learned about Susan Wise Bauer after posters to her message board took after me with their sword shaped bible bookmarks, I felt compelled to dig into the history of the leader of this hive minded forum in the hopes of coming up with some sexual scandal which she seems a bit fixated on for a pastor wife/homeschooling mom.  But what I found instead was an article on Belief.net entitled, Dodging the Homeschool Sterotype, in which she proceeds to perfectly model every homeschooling sterotype in existence…

“…When my mother tells the story of her decision to homeschool my siblings and me, back in 1972, she talks about my brother’s boredom, my kindergarten teacher’s worries that my love for reading was unhealthy, the bullying on the bus that often delivered us to school weeping. But one incident finally pushed her into homeschooling. My brother, age 7, came home one spring and confronted her in the kitchen, putting both hands on his hips and glaring in the knowledge that someone was pulling the wool over his eyes. “You said God made the world,” he announced, “and the teacher says no one made the world. Now I want to know: Who’s telling the truth?”

Here is how Susan’s mom remedied this problem..

“She couldn’t accuse herself of untruth; nor did she want to explain to my brother that he was to sit, for the entire next year, under the teaching of a person he could not trust. We started homeschooling the next fall.”

So according to Susan’s mom, her only options were to…

1.  Call herself a liar.

2.  Call her son’s teacher untrustworthy.

3.  Homeschool.

The misbegotten option of saying -  ‘Listen kiddo – not everyone agrees on the origins of the universe.  Momma says God did it and your teacher says no one did it.  Someday you will have to decide for yourself.” was not an option?

Here is the break down of Susan’s moms claims for why she chose to homeschool her kids…

1.  Her daughter’s kindergarten teacher believed that reading was unhealthy.

2.  Her son was bored.

3.  The bus driver allowed Susan and her siblings to be bullied to tears.

4.  Her son’s second grade teacher was an outspoken atheist.

Oh now c’mon Susan Wise Bauer’s mom!  Where were you sending your kids to school?  Hades?  Who was this outspoken atheist second grade teacher in Virginia?  I want to meet her!

From there Susan goes on to proclaim that she is the only teacher in her area that is capable of giving her kid both sides of every story and therefore is the only one that should teach them.  And what an interesting two sides of the story  that is!  According to Susan…

1.  Columbus was a missionary minded, gospel sharing, new world explorer with little concern for money or fame.

2.  The Spanish Conquistadors were humble servants of God who only wanted to bring the Incas to Jesus.

3.  And both evolution and intelligent design are 100 percent correct as long as you realize that God did it.

4.  In conclusion may I present Susan Wise Bauer’s  You Tube contribution to rational thinking….

In this video Susan Wise Bauer clears up that whole nasty slavery issue in the bible.  She decides that when Paul told slaves to obey their masters – he was only being ‘descriptive’ and not ‘prescriptive’.  Evidently the option for Paul to clearly state in his letters that “Slavery is sick, wrong, and you shouldn’t be doing that you immoral pig eating gentile ho-bags’ was not an option.  Instead he had to wait two thousand years for a godly homeschooling woman named Susan Wise Bauer to rise from Liberty University, attend seminary, and market her special brand of trivium education to thousands of right wingers  and then explain to the world that what Paul really meant was….

was…?

was……..???????

I don’t even know WHAT she is saying in this video.

It was a principal that was good?…. but it was distorted to support slavery?

How can a principle be good and distorted?

And how exactly is power being twisted here Susan?  There is no twisting necessary.  Paul said, slaves obey your masters.  There can be no simpler more direct statement than that.  I am afraid that it is you Susan, who is twisting and contorting this simple sentence in a bizarre attempt to make the bible work for you.

Anne Rice Lived Here

November 17th, 2010

I know very little about Anne Rice, but she features big in New Orleans. Locations for different scenes in her books are pointed out on every tour and even though she no longer owns a home in New Orleans, the house above which is in the Garden District is still referred to as Anne Rice’s home.

I’ve never read any of her famous vampire books which she wrote when she was an atheist. Nor have I read any of her Jesus books, which she wrote when she converted back to Christianity. I tried to read her memoir, but found it wholly uninteresting and stopped about a third of the way through.

These days Anne calls herself a ‘Christian outsider who quit Christianity in the name of Christ’ She says that she cannot abide the Christian penchant for condemning gays, prohibiting artificial birth control, hating liberals and feminists and holding science in extreme suspicion.

Has she considered the Episcopalians?