Sunday, July 3, 2011

For My Critics

[the courtship piece riled up quite a few people - and since they don't seem to want to pay attention to the obvious (like that big link right above this that says "New? Confused? Angry at the content?...Click here"), here we go]

...a few things for you to consider.

I don't do disclaimers, so consider this a "claimer". I'm OWNING what I write.

First and foremost, I really don't care that you oppose my writing. It's foolish of you to believe I'd give any serious thought to shutting things down here just because you don't agree with it. Foolish may not even be a strong enough word.

{CLA}If you're gonna come at me with every cliche from the fundamentalist's handbook, and every tired, old, predictable argument that I've heard repeatedly since beginning this blog, you're being annoying, not compelling. You write with such conviction and passion, thinking your NEXT argument will be the one that sets me straight. It won't be. I may very well NEED to be set straight, but your argument won't do it. I've done this long enough now that I know what your argument will be before you offer it. Your argument is just the same old recycled BS tune coming out of a different radio. When I hear things like "going to the opposite extreme", and "pendelums swinging all the way to the left", and "learning to respect authority", and "it isn't your right to judge anyone!" (I particularly love that one when it comes in the course of me being judged up and down), and "you need to move past all of this", and arguments about "societal decay", and of course my all-time favorite "You're throwing the...", err, you know the rest, I just tune you out and find another station, because frankly, you're full of religious bullshit and can't even begin to see it. I've seen what the BS you believe and live actually DOES to people - and not just to me. Your arguments sound like those of one of this blog's biggest fans - Stacy McDonald. Like you, she self-servingly wants people like me to stop writing about the legalistic fusterclucks her teachings create, hoping I'll heal, move on past these sins and evils, and no longer keep this kind of thing in the spotlight.

One person even suggested to me today that they'd chosen "the center" - fundamentalist religious homeschooling, courtship, et cetera. This person genuinely believes this is "the center" of the Christian faith. "Fundamentalist" alone pushes a belief system well beyond the extreme right (being termed a "fundamentalist group" isn't a compliment anywhere except in fundamentalist land - "radical" usually isn't too far behind it), but to a religious addict, it's "the center". Go figure.

ETA: The fact alone that someone would look at the issues I write about in terms of "right and left" belies any claims of not being legalistic and sociopolitically charged at the core. These are issues of doing right and wrong by other people.

Another suggested I was wrong in assuming that the girl in the blog I linked was homeschooled. Seriously. And all this time I didn't know that my faith required me to be stupid and ignore the obvious. I mean, it was just ridiculous. If that person is reading, I tell you what - should it turn out that my conclusion about her being homeschooled is ever proven offbase, I'll make a very public apology to her personally and here on the blog. I give you my word on that. What do you genuinely think the odds are that I'll have to do that? That's shut up about it.

If this blog were about revenge, I'd have just headed west a while back and handled things Buford T. Pusser style (and trust me that I've been angry enough to), so save that argument for someone who gives a crap.

Frankly, I think a TON of well-intentioned people prove to be gullible when they hear things like "godly" and "biblical", they bite at the bait of doing things better and "more godly" than that "mean old world", the hook gets set, and they're reeled in and connected to movements that they really have NO clue about. They'd hate to know that the fundamentalist religious sect which is taking over the "Christian" homeschooling industry has ties to all kinds of seedy sociopolitical elements. Christian reconstructionism and dominionism, quiverfull as a means to take over the country by sheer force of numbers via "multi-generational faithfulness" and "200 year plans", return to OT biblical law (stonings, anyone?), some with connections to kinism and the League of the South - believing that slavery was just and biblical. All kinds of madness. And whackadoodles like this Ken Ham nutjob trying to prevent opposing opinions from presenting their materials at major homeschooling conventions. This is where much of your homeschooling dollar ends up when you go the religious route.

Not ALL of the providers of homeschooling material, from a Christian perspective, are total nutjobs. The folk at Sonlight, from my understanding, try to give parents some balanced options and aren't out to indoctrinate a generation of SuperChristian dominionists. It's also my understanding that the whackadoodle elements are trying to keep Sonlight material out of these conventions, too, so maybe that'll tell you something.

The most important thing for you to consider: It isn't my fault that you've made poor or legalistic lifestyle choices, that you choose to purposely be naive about them, or that your true faith is in those lifestyle choices. Nor is it my obligation to change what I write to shine a better light on your poor decisions.

Now, with the courtship issue, most of the offense was taken by people who don't even claim to go about courtship in the manner I spoke of (even though I don't think they were totally honest about the dynamics of it, nor did they want to be), yet they took offense to this statement...

If you practice or promote "courtship", you've either willfully chosen to be ignorant and an emotional moron, or you've been forced to be ignorant and an emotional moron.

...courtship as in parent-controlled, emotions are evil and magically controlled courtship. You'd think that would be an easy distinction, that is, if people weren't looking to be offended and weren't only searching for offensive material here, rather than reading all material relevant to the conversation before blabbering away about what a terrible, angry man I am. In the P/QF dynamic, children ARE raised to be distrustful of their hearts, to view their emotions as the gateway to evil, usually taught that emotions are off-limits until after a marriage, rendering them purposefully moronic about their emotions. That's why I included the literal definition of the word in the piece - acting notably stupid and showing poor judgement. The second generation doesn't have a choice, but the 1st generation did, and shame on them for raising their kids to be so disadvantaged. Regardless of assurances to the contrary based on their own depictions, they seemed more comfortable offended and preferred to view themselves as having been called morons by me. Hey, it's a free country, and if you want to accept the title of moron, don't let me stop you from showing me what's what.

Don't get me wrong, I have PLENTY of other issues with courtship - its lack of SELF-control, shifting responsibilities to third parties, et cetera - but I haven't attached the words "moron" or "moronic" to those things (on this blog - I have used "moronic" elsewhere), even though the definitions very well fit. I'd prefer to call that aspect of it legalistic, irresponsible, and immature. I stand firmly and immovably by those terms.

I was called all sorts of things today, from a cult leader, to any number of other unsavory characterizations. Trust me when I say I've been called worse. What bugged me today was when a person who didn't have a freakin' clue about much of anything she was talking about suggested that what I write isn't intended to help anyone. That was crossing a pretty definitive line for me, and if that person's reading this, I can assure you that I won't show similar restraint if such an idea is brokered again. I give you my word on that

As to emotional morons, check this out. (thanks to Sarah for sharing this link on the Water Cooler)

Those photos aren't of a wedding. Those photos aren't of an engagement. Those photos are a religious sickness manifesting in the beginning of a freakin' courtship. Those two kids are the victims of this BS. That's obviously SO much better than dating, No pressure there at all (SA). Yeah, you guys are right. I need to just "move past all of this" and stop writing about crap like that. You see, I KNOW the hell either one of those two kids will live through if they determine to choose a path other than the one laid out for them by their parents. My advice to you would be to pull your heads out of your rectum and acknowledge the fringe groups you're aligning yourselves with, even if unwittingly.

Legalism is legalism. People get hurt by it. If you insist on keeping one foot firmly planted in it, you're always gonna find something here you don't like, so have a hot cup of shut up and find another blog to annoy enjoy, one that'll blow satisfactory amounts of smoke up your rear ends concerning your lifestyle choices.

If you wanna stay mad at me, just take a number.


  1. The link to the courtship pictures makes me sick to my stomach. The mother mentions in the comments that they text back and forth but that the texts are read by the entire family, and the subject is usually their mutual bible study.

    My question is, how are these two individuals supposed to find out if there are things about the other person that are deal breakers? How many of them, after marriage, are finding severe gaping "deal breakers" but it's too late so the deal's already sealed?

  2. Yeah I saw some of the stuff on Erika's facebook wall and it was obvious that some are redefining courtship and that the others are just scrambling to find excuses for being legalists. All they really showed is that your descriptions fit.

    I mean, I don't get offended every time someone bashes QF. I don't consider myself QF because I don't believe in the whole 200 year plan or the making little soldiers for Christ and culture etc, but I am pregnant with my 4th child due any day and we intend to have more. I'm not living the way you describe, so it's not offensive for me.

    Remember one thing...

    When you throw a rock amongst a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that got hit.

  3. Lewis, I had two thoughts as I read the link you posted of thhebcourtship photo session. The first one is that I think too many moms are living viciously through their daughter's courtships. Since the temotation for living vicariously through our kids is common in all sorts of circumstances, why not courtship's well? No different than reading a romance novel or watching a chick flick. That mom's comment about listening to the phone conversations and being part of the process tells it all. I have known families where everyone was at the engagement because of the chaperone issue but truthfully it probably was part voyeurism as well.

    I also had another small light bulb moment as I looked at those pictures and on the heels of reading about another couple announcing their courtship, the guy having just turned 18. The pushing for young marriage I believe comes, in part, with the knowledge that parents can more easily control someone younger thus they can control the courtship more easily than if the son or daughter is 24 or so.

  4. One of the first recommendations to writers is to have a specific audience in mind and to write to that audience. That doesn't mean others won't read or that there won't be peripheral readers but for your writing to be intentional, effective, and relevant, you must tailor your words for those to whom they are intended. You do this. You've also made it clear on this blog who this audience is ... and who you are, and where you stand on these issues. Stay true to course, and the moment God changes your direction, that's when you can alter your focus. Til then, keep on keeping on.

  5. "a cult leader" ?!?! AHAHAhahah...ahem. :P Just wow. So how do I join the Lewis cult? :D

    Lewis, you're awesome. Don't ever stop being awesome. Most of us like you and this blog just the way you are.

  6. ...AND it sells! I was mortified to see the newest post on the Visionary Daughters website...they are selling a webinar, "How to Marry Well"...what the heck? They have two sons married for less than six months and they are the authority?

    I think the complaints you are getting indicate that you are doing something VERY right...

  7. Take what Hilary said to heart Lewis.

    When people get hurt by a system of silence? You break every rule when you speak about it. People will condemn you for opening your mouth.

    IMO let them drink the koolaid. They aren't the audience you are writing to. You speak to those that want to break the silence, and speak about truths that happened in our lifes.

    It maybe very uncomfortable for them, but its hardly being bitter and all the other junk they hand to you. That is their anxiety talking.

    The bible speaks of legalistic stuff, and its full of people shouting out their feelings.

    Living in a Disneyland world with no feelings is not what God intended. If you can't admit you are sad, hurt, etc? David for one did something wrong! (giggles) He was venting all the time!

  8. I remember Sonlight. I used their curriculum as a homeschooled kid. It was pretty awesome.

    Those courtship photos are absolutely horrifying. I feel so anxious for the young couple whenever I hear of or see things like this. I'm so glad you and similar bloggers are out there with information and warnings. Perhaps there is hope for your critics. If they are angry at you, perhaps some of them are really angry at their own confusion. I hope they will continue to think over your words.

  9. I meant to say moms living "vicariously"...can't type worth a hoot on this iPad.

    Lewis, I agree with Hillary....after reading all the many comments on that FB thread, it was obvious that the critics had no understanding of this movement at all. And a huge part of the problem is that the word "courtship" has so many different meanings these days. And casual dating = casual sex? I don't think most Christians agree. Casual dating, whether we agree with it or not, means dating without the purpose of marriage being announced at the onset. I think so many young adults do this, even in groups within their church circles. It is the way people learn about each other in a natural setting with all the pressure to put on airs. Somehow I wonder how these things became so inorganic. I believe it was John Holzmann who uses the phrase "Dating with integrity." I like that.

  10. Long, LONG time ago, Martin Luther distinguished between the Theology Of The Cross and the Theology Of (Self)Glory. All the people that Lewis comments upon don't seem to have the Cross of Jesus Christ in mind, just their own glory, how well they are following the commandments they've come up with. Lewis, I've said it before & will say it again: you are taking your heartbreak and turning that energy into something so very important in exposing these misdirected, sad ideas to the world. God bless you.

  11. Little do they know that the real cult leader is my wife. She pulls the strings and you jump.

    All moronic jesting aside, it appears that those who have come against you don't realize that people have the capacity to think independently. They have sold their minds to a system and that system keeps agreeing with itself through regurgitated material wrapped up in prettier and prettier bows. The followers' eyes glaze over slowly at first, then faster and faster until they are following like flies to the purple light bulb.

    You're not attacking them, Lewis. You're coming against the system that has fed and clothed them with all they know until they have no ability to make a decision without checking the astrological charts, gurus, red notebooks, DVDs, and the latest Laura Ashley store tucked away behind the mini mall which includes an adult bookstore and a casino.

    The moving of the disagreeing mind strikes fear to their very core. Why? Because they have been trained to react as such.

  12. I've never commented here before (I don't think) but I've been reading for ages and I just wanted to add my voice of support, even though I don't fit the normal demographic, being neither American or fundamentalist. But I am interested in watching the whole patriarchy movement very closely, both out of pity and grief for the ones getting broken by this self-gratifying foolishness, and also because I am very aware of the trickle down effect this has back into the mainstream church in the global community. Our local complementarians sound normal and sweet compared to these guys, but when you dig a little deeper under the rhetoric the basic motivations and dynamics are along a continuum, not a different species ..

    So here's one middle-aged mum in Australia who is encouraged in my own quiet stand for truth and liberty in Jesus by the things you write.

  13. Lewis, my friend, you aren't a cult leader. Having come out of twenty-plus years in a cult I feel I am able to say that with alacrity and comprehension. I can tell you one reason that you are fielding a lot of hate mail...According to my google stats I get roughly six to seven hundred visitors on "TCND" a month from your website and also a lot of hits from searches of "Lewis Wells". Your story has spread my friend.

    so the heat's on (and money loss in sight I'm sure) for these Quiver peeps.

    I read a while back that you were considering a book? I hope that happens. You have a message that needs to be told.

    Happy 4th my friend!

  14. Just when I think I can holler "Hell yeah!" any louder over your blog entries, you go and up the awesome.

    My husband and I courted. It was an effing nightmare as was life in Fundiville.

    Thanks for speaking up and out, Lewis. Don't change a thing. You are making your points well.

    Hubby and I applaud you. :D

  15. Lynne, you are absolutely spot on that there is a continuum and what I am seeing is that mainstream evangelicalism is being pulled further and further down to the whacky and relationship-contrived, if not purely evil, end of it! I am so thankful you are aware for the sake of those families in your own neck of the woods.

  16. Most of you who read here know, but for those who don't...

    Karen (Thatmom) has a site,, full of information to help you sort through homeschooling resources. It's linked on the sidebar, too. If you homeschool and are trying to wade through the muck being introduced by these movements, you'd do well to visit there.

  17. I know this wasn't what your post was mainly about this time but thanks for the shout-out to Sonlight. I wanted to homeschool my children but the more I researched and looked into it, the more I saw homeschooling so tightly linked to the fundamentalist movement. I was despairing finding a curriculum that would meet my needs especially as I strongly feel public school wasn't the right choice either. I then discovered Sonlight. They are a nice balance in being a Christian company and having God throughout the curriculum but also very clearly offering the other side so you can have honest discussions with your children and not let them enter the world completely ignorant of what is happening and out there.

    What I find interesting is that they were banned from the CHEC conference (the major Colorado homeschooling convention). After doing research I found out that CHEC has very strong ties to Kevin Swanson and his ilk. Definately makes you go hmmmm and just reinforces that I made a right choice in Sonlight.

  18. Yeah...Swanson is quite a sweetheart. He needs heavy dosages of Xanax.

    These fundamentalist fruitcakes don't just demand a seat at the homeschooling table...they want to take it over, and in many sectors, they are, and largely because many people are and choose to remain naive to their agendas, falling instead for the "godly" and "biblical" package the cow patty is delivered in.

  19. The problem with fundamentalist Christian homeschooling can be summed up with this quote from the woman at in response to a homeschooling question from a woman living in basic poverty (unable to afford even the $20 annual fee to remain part of her local group)...

    "You're in a difficult and scary situation, but I applaud your determination to homeschool! Remember that your goal is to raise Christian adults, and for this you don't necessarily need a lot of curriculum or shiny electronics."

    Yes! Christian adult clones and robots! What a wonderful idea!

    And there you have a person who is practically guaranteed to do a heck of a job screwing her children all up.

    The goal of homeschooling should ALWAYS be education. ALWAYS. No parent has the power to raise or create a Christian adult. No power. She's attempting to do the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of her children. This is total religious ignorance and human vanity. She's hell-bent on making sure they're properly indoctrinated, but she's fine with them getting a jack-legged education. That's the difference. Education vs. Indoctrination. Healthy homeschooling focuses on the former and avoids the latter.

  20. This home school parent agrees 100% Lewis!

    Check out "Not Everyone Can Homeschool Successfully" here:

    It is a lie that you can home school with no money. You need money! If you can't afford to stock a library, you need gas money for the library and fine money for the inevitable lost/late books. You need pencils, you need paper, you need art supplies AT A MINIMUM.

    One really does need a plan, a schedule and a curriculum of some kind! Even successful unschoolers have a plan. They go places, do activities (There is nothing that is totally free! Even gardening and canning will cost you something.), read books out loud, watch movies, go to concerts, museums, plays and parks. They will tell you that life provides the curriculum, but a true unschooling educator could put it to pen and paper if they needed to do so for conscience sake or legal reasons.

    It's a lie that you can home school for free. A lie! It's just as big a lie as the one that says God will provide for all the children "he sends". As long as you don't have more children than you can afford, that's true. Otherwise, another lie.

    I have stepped in with money, clothes, food and supplies for poverty-stricken QF families on more than one occasion, and while I hate to see the kids go without, I can hardly stand that my stepping in to cover the parents irresponsibility is credited as "the provision of God".

    End of rant. Thanks for getting the truth out there, Lewis. Peace and good will, SS

  21. It's a shame that you keep getting the usual, "Lewis, you need to stop speaking about this stuff and shut up" madness from certain individuals. I think the more shouting and complaining they do will only lead people to question their beliefs and lifestyles. If what they are doing in their own families is truly based upon the word of God and done with honest intentions, then they have nothing to fear and therefore, should not feel intimidated or overly angered about what you speak about on your blog. It seems to me that people only begin to become fearful and threatened when the truth about what they are doing might be found out to the general public. So, by their excessive fears, do they have something to hide? Keep posting.

  22. have you ever heard the saying "you can judge a person by the enemies they make"?
    that's what brought me here - someone posted a rant at NLQ about how NLQ was bad, and listed other places they also thought were "bad", including yours. [the next day, you were reference by, i think, Vyckie, as a person who had been hurt by P/QF without even being part of the movement(s)!]

    you, sir, make GREAT enemies - it's easy to see that you're on the "right" side, because all the people on the WRONG side seem to dislike you.


  23. Personally, I think a loaded word like "moron," however it's defined, is a distraction from the real point of the message, leading to people focusing on the insult rather than on the challenge to their ideas. However, the challenge itself was spot-on and needed to be made.

    Just my opinion, whatever you think it's worth. It's your blog. :)

    P.S. The whole hyping up of that "asking to court" scene was sad. I hate hype. The whole thing is going to look pretty silly if it doesn't work out and she has to go through this whole scene again with some other man. Blech.

  24. Thank you for doing this blog. You are obviously not trying to convince those deeply entrenched in the P/QF crap, who have created this worldview that is immune to serious critique. They are just going to dig their heels in deeper. You are raising the banner for those trying to get OUT, and those who've been hurt by it, giving names and words to those struggles we weren't allowed to have or admit for fear of being labelled "rebellious". Giving words to those who have no words for their pain is a giant step in helping us deal with our own dysfunction and the co-dependency we've been mired in. Keep it up!