We bulls wobble but we don’t fall down

My father has lovingly (?) referred to me as bull-headed my whole life. I prefer the term tenacious. (The link there between bull stuffed and bull headed, well, it’s just a littttle too close for me.)

This morning, when I should have been working, I wandered in for a quick drink at Patricia’s place – haven’t been there in a while and I knew she’d have some lovely pictures for me – and found, instead, this article by Tim Challies.

KO – I felt like I’d been blasted, right square in the nose. (I’m in the mood for gentle conversation and coffee sharing, remember??? )

So, my first response must be, “WHY is this article making me feel like I’m in the midst of a fight? Why did I not just read the article and say, “Oh, ok, this brother feels called to send his children to public school.” and be done with it? Why the sense of being called into battle?” I fear the answer to that is going to be very telling of the state of my heart. I don’t feel convicted, but rather…almost, but not quite….attacked.Β  I’m certain I’m misreading his intent, but I do want to understand my own heart response.

Amusingly, he says, “Homeschooling parents are easily offended.” This didn’t offend me in the least. I just found it a challenge to assess my heart….am I easily offended? I know I’m easily amused. I know I’m easily distracted. So, I guess the likelihood is that I’m easily offended, but it doesn’t offend me that he would point this out. (In fact, it almost seems a given for most of us – homeschooling or not)

So, while reading Mr. Challies’ stance onΒ  homeschooling left me wobbling a bit, I will tenaciously πŸ˜‰Β  stand firm on the call that Father has placed upon our lives and the call that He has for our children.Β  I’ll have to get back to you about why I felt like he’d toinked me in the nose.

10 Responses to “We bulls wobble but we don’t fall down”
  1. myderbe says:

    Dawn, see . . I think it’s funny after all his talk about love and not despising others and all that, that he would then say something overgeneralized like, “Homeschooling parents are easily offended.” Odd.

    And, honestly, in my experience, I have found just as many Christian parents who send their children to public schools to be easily offended. Some of these people are offended simply by my homeschooling, when we have never even had a conversation about it. They assume that because I homeschool, I think they are wrong to send their children to public school (which is not at all what I believe). Anyway . . back to the article.

  2. myderbe says:

    I think the second part (so far) appears to be better-written than the first part. I’d much rather read why someone does something than over-generalizations of people who do something differently.

  3. javadawn says:

    md, I went back and re-read both letters – I didn’t have the same reaction this time.

    He seems, to me, any way, to be saying that all families must be missional in the same way – it’s “funny” to me that the only people responding to his invitation are those in his children’s immediate circles – what about those outside of it? Who is there to be missional to them?

    What felt so in my face about the first reading is that it seemed like he was applying the same standards to my life, that he didn’t want applied to his own.

    He wants Christian freedom in this decision – and I will openly and joyfully grant it to him. It also seemed however, that he wanted to determine exactly what I, as a parent who didn’t put their child into public school should be doing….and how I should be doing it HIS way. :/ (I don’t know that that is really what he’s saying – I just think he was forcefully making his position known and I misunderstood what he said.)

    After talking to Father about this, He reminded me that the greatest commandment is not to evangelize the world – that’s the second. The first is to love my Lord with all my heart, soul and mind – and part of that love will result in obedience. Obedience to the SPECIFIC call that Father has placed on OUR lives. (Not to the neglect of the other – just keeping in mind the greatest of the commandments) That also means keeping my eyes on OUR call and leaving my nose out of that of others. (Not to the exclusion of lovingly confronting SIN, not to be mistaken with a difference in calling, I might add.)

    Jenn, do you have understanding why this judging one another seems so much greater in this generation than it has before? Is it simply because of the speed in which we communicate? Did we not realize other families were so different before? (I KNOW you’re younger than I am, πŸ™‚ I am just seeking some thoughts re: this….) Perhaps it’s not as different as I seem to think…..????

  4. Patricia says:

    Sorry to throw you off balance, dear friend! Actually, I think all of us can be easily offended when it comes to those issues about which we are passionate. My daughter recently reminded me that I am too easily offended. Gulp!

    I failed to make the point I was attempting to in my post…and that was that *my* heart was not right when *I* participated in on-line discussions/debates/posts that pointed out what was perceived to be sin/error/etc. in others. It serves no purpose to tear others down, especially when there is so much in my own life that others could do the same. Mark Lauterbach at Gospel Driven Life ( http://mrlauterbach.typepad.com/gospeldrivenlife ) is writing a series entitled “Censorious” based on Jonathan Edward’s commentary on I Corinth 13, and the importance of looking for grace in the lives of others. It is a MUST read – at least it is for me. I have read it more than once, and every time I cringe because he is clearly speaking to me.

    Sorry for such a lengthy comment, but this is important to me. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I did not intend to be critical of Tim and his post. (Though I do not agree with him, either.) I think Myderbe hit the nail on the head when she said that we don’t need to tear down what others do in defense of our own decisions. Neither do I, as a homeschooler, need to waste time/energy/etc addressing what I think of those who make other choices for educating their children. Ditto on pro-life issues and family caregiving. What I can and should do, instead, is put down those stones and simply share my life with others in an authentic way that they can be encouraged to walk in whatever path the Lord has placed them on. Life is too short to waste arguing and tearing down, and even if it wasn’t, I am quite confident that our Lord would not be pleased with me doing so.

    I hope I have made sense.

  5. Patricia says:

    Dawn, I see that you posted while I was mulling over mine! And yes, yes, yes!!!!! That is why I had to stop subscribing to certain blogs that tend to focus on what is wrong somewhere. I am so ashamed that I was so easily drawn into that “stinking thinking” and judgmentalism, and I pray that y’all will hold me accountable in the future.

  6. javadawn says:

    Oh Patricia,

    You are so kind – you didn’t a) throw me off balance. πŸ™‚ Mr Challies did – kind of – mostly my own reaction set me a’wobblin’ and b) you didnt’ seem like you were being critical of Mr Challies to me. I understood what you were saying.

    I must confess, recently I have been rather (RAWTHER) puzzled by this seeming barage of what is good, what is right, what is “holy” that is coming from the Church. …..pausing for a PSA…

    I am NOT negating a standard of holiness, nor am I denying an absolute Truth – but I AM questioning whether or not what I wear or don’t wear (uh thinking of head covering here, not undergarments or some such!) :blush: is a) worthy of a break in fellowship or b) worthy of my time.

    In fact….I’m going to blog on this! πŸ™‚

    BUT, my concern comes in my understanding of my own sin nature – if I’m keeping my nose out of others lives (judgement) am I keeping myself too far out to love them (relationship)? AND if I’m too far away to have relationship, am I going to miss the opportunity to have accountable relationship?!! (meaning both ways – being confronted and confronting – sin)

    The Blood of Christ is SO precious – are we wasting it by waving it over things that are just of no consequence? YES! There are things that are worth fighting over – but there are too many others that are simply tomato issues. (You know, “I say tomato, you say tomahto”) As you recall – the only resolution that the writer of that song can find is to call the whole thing off. THAT is not an option for the Bride of Christ!!!!!!

    (stepping down from my soap box….leaving the comment section quietly) πŸ˜‰

  7. myderbe says:

    We have spent a considerable amount of time on Romans 14 in my Sunday School class. And I am feasting on this passage! First, let me say that I have a strong natural tendency to judge —and not necessarily in a godly way. I have that strong urge to look for the speck in another’s eye all the while ignoring my own plank. But our gracious Father has been dealing with me about this for a couple of years now . . . very gradually because He knows how thick-skulled I am. πŸ™‚

    I think what has struck me about Romans 14 is that part about doing it unto the Lord. That’s sort of the test — Can I do this unto the Lord? (Or am I abstaining from this unto the Lord?) Or am I seeking my own pleasure or my own self-righteousness and pride?

    I’ve also realized that if I examine myself and ask God to reveal my true heart, and then if I live transparently and honestly share what I am learning and struggling with, then God can use that to touch others and draw them closer to Him MUCH MORE than He could use my judgemental attitude pointing out their sin to them — no matter how lovingly I attempt to do it.

    I’m not saying we should never lovingly point out sin, but often the sin I think is so big in a friend’s life is really quite similar to a sin in my own life that I am overlooking. For instance, perhaps I wonder how a friend can possibly do (fill in the blank) unto the Lord; but, as I pray, the Holy Spirit shines a light on something in my own life — are you really watching that television show unto the Lord? or are you really homeschooling TODAY unto the Lord? or are you really going to church tonight unto the Lord (or just because that’s what we do)?

    *Shrug* I don’t really have a gift to point out someone else’s sin without sounding prideful (being prideful?), so I’ve found that for right now (and for the most part), I can just be honest with friends and share my own struggles and trust that God will use that honesty to shine His light on their sins for them.

  8. myderbe says:

    Well, I wonder if maybe Christians are more different from each other today than they used to be. OR maybe Christians today have more contact with Christians who are different. Does that even make sense?

  9. Sarah says:

    I’ve always wondered how we — as devoted Christian parents who readily and heartily embrace the Proverbs 22:6 command to train up a child in the way “he” — as an individual — should go (following the natural bent God gave each one) — have such a HARD time accepting that God is the ULTIMATE parent who parents each of us according to our learning style, our worship style, our singing ability (or lack thereof), our personality type… all of that!

    He knit me together, so He knows EXACTLY how I learn and what it’s going to take to change me — He is described as a craftsman (we are God’s workmanship) and that implies a significant time investment. I have to remember that when I find someone whom I *think* is “not walking upright.” As a speaker I love once said, just because God may have changed me powerfully in an area, it’s not my job to give everybody “victory lessons”!

    Thanks for writing this — the Challies article was a “pebble in shoe” for me, but I praise God if it will cause us all to ask Him one more time if we are A. doing what He’s called us to do, making our calling and election sure, and B. doing what He’s called us to do in with the attitude and graciousness that it is our specific “knitting” and may not be someone else’s.

    Sorry it’s ramble-bramble… I’m behind on my reading and obviously sleepy on my writing!

  10. javadawn says:

    Hey Gawgah Gurl, you just feel free to come ramble-bramble on my blog any ole time! πŸ˜‰

    You know every time I think of that description of us being the workmanship of God, I think of Michelangelo and his famous phrase of seeing the angel in the marble. Furthermore, the piece of marble he used to carve David, was considered trash by another artist. He found nothing of use in it. Yet, the statue of David is utterly breathtaking… when someone asked him how he was able to do that, he said he simply took away all the marble that was not David.

    Ahhh – this explains much to me. It explains why I would be considered a block head. πŸ˜‰ It also explains for me why becoming like Christ is so painful to me. Father looks at this block head and He is removing all the marble that isn’t Jesus.

    Here’s a visual for you – (keep in mind, this is pre-coffee, pre-gano, pre-workout – you’re getting raw Dawnbrain…scary) marble – it’s the beautiful blend of several colors. There is one main color and the other is threaded through it….is that not a picture of us??

    As Believers, we’re being shaped into the likeness of Christ, making us one main color – Jesus – with our individual other colors threaded through. Hmmm, Jesus with Dawn flavored/colored threads running through it. Just a thought….. πŸ™‚

    Ok, so it’s now obvious I need my workout and something hot to drink. πŸ˜† Better be about it!

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