When you’re a parent terrified by the fact that your newborn didn’t come complete with an owner’s manual, you may be easy prey for a door-to-door salesman who magically appears at your house one day with one just for you. When you sign on the dotted line, desperate for a quick fix, it may take years to discover you’ve sold your family into spiritual slavery. That book of answers you bought are really some bloviator’s opinions packaged as facts. Only your holy anger can set you free.
When your life has been given over to someone who promised your parents an iron-clad Happily Ever After, only holy anger can give you the courage to make a break for it.
When I read the scorching words of regret at from parents and adult children who came out of Bill Gothard’s ATI home schooling sect, as well as some of the stories of home schoolers who recount tales of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of parents whose love looked a lot like fear and control, I grieve. We home schooled our three kids for twelve years. Though we were never in any of these camps of the extreme, we were surrounded by plenty of people who were. For better or for worse, these people were our community. It was the spiritual equivalent of second-hand smoke. While I don’t regret home schooling, my husband and I have had plenty of sorrow that we didn’t shut down the influence of these people on our family. We were already swimming upstream from the culture around us. My own fears about our family being even more socially isolated if the Gothardite members and fans “excommunicated us” from their circles kept us in the orbit of their bullying culture. A lot of us who home schooled in the 1990′s were, it seemed.