Friday, April 9, 2010

Conquering Corruption by Raising Christian communicators

This are my notes from a talk I heard by Andrew Pudewa of Institute for Excellence in Writing. this talk was given April 7, 2010 for our homeschool support group. I don't agree with everything he said, but it was the most challenging homeschool talk I have heard in a long time. If you were there and I have missed any important points or have errors, please post a comment.

As a church we must storm the gates of hell - be on the offense. There are 3 fronts.
1. Our own soul - the evil one wants to destroy us each and every day. We need to secure angelic and divine protection. Then he told the story of the St. Michael prayer and Pope Leo XIII. Also, I think he meant for us to keep close to the Lord through prayer and sacraments.
2. Our own family. Evil forces want to kill our children, soul, body, intellect. It is our responsibility to control the evil that comes to our home. We must also monitor closely our children's peers. Peers can pull our children away from what is good and holy.
3. culture - We have less impact here - but by changing our world - we do have impact.

We must combat evil on all three fronts simultaneously. This is an extended campaign that we will win if we follow the Lord's marching orders.

Corruption is all pervasive. the source of the corruption is the biggest lie - Relativism. "My beliefs are just as good as yours." God and His Truth are absolute. The Reformation was the beginning of this idea. The results are secular humanism, the Enlightenment, atheism, etc. In the church this is expressed as selectivism - cafeteria Catholics. This idea has deeply infected the minds of Americans.

The state religion is relativism - it's temples are the public schools. The faith they profess is the "non-gospel." No one is permitted to claim a primacy in their beliefs. No kid should go to public school unless they are in full battle gear. Many Christian have been lost to secularization in the public schools. They are taught that no one belief is better. When they leave home and find their faith challenging - they find it easy to switch beliefs. 60-80% of public schooled Christians lose their faith. 60-80% of homeschooled Christians retain their faith. Mr. Pudewa then stated that it is far better to have the child home staring at the wall all day than send them to public school. They are that bad.

Solution: 1. Pull kids out of public schools.
2. immerse them in a good culture. Definition of culture
1. the art, music, etc of a time period or place.
2. Corporate culture - each family or organization has their own way of doing things.
3. What's in a petri dish - grow whatever you want to grow in a good culture or medium.
The culture in a home should be designed to grow faith.

There are disordered cultures. We should be proactive in challenging errors in thinking.

Our home is a sanctuary. Outside evil is persistently trying to get it. The greatest enemy is television. It brings sewage into our home and steals family time. When you are watching TV, you are NOT doing something else like reading to your child, or being together.The Pudewas do have a video player which they use sparingly. He suggested if we need a TV for sports to have it is a separate place where only you can watch it. The TV is a major force in materialism in or culture.

Video games are as addictive as pornography. He referenced the book Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. There are 5 factors in derailing the success of boys.
1. endocrine disruptus - soy in foods and pollutants in water - too much estrogen causes a problem.
2. video games. same effect as pornography. Boys need to fight battles. With addictive video games they do not have to fight real battles which feminizes boys.
3. devaluation of men - there is a huge shortage of "real men" in our society.
4. teaching methods are not designed for boys.
5. teaching environments are not designed for boys.

Relativism in culture. He suggested reading a book (he couldn't recall which one) by Dietrich Von Bonhoeffer. Von Bonhoeffer's ideas show God' transcendental qualities: Goodness, Beauty and Truth. They permeate everything. When we are attracted to something, it is these qualities that attract us, also much is corrupted. These qualities cannot be separated. Society would like to disconnect these things. When one is degraded, all are.

We are acclimated to culture in our tastes. For example, we may think that some forms of popular art or music are not bad - but they are bad art, bad music, etc. We need to call what is ugly, ugly. They have qualities that are not good, true or beautiful.

Since these qualities are all bound together, when we accept the relativism of one -We will accept the relativism of all. This will lead us down the wrong path since all are bound together.

Raise an army to fight the battle. Go out and recruit. We are way too passive as Catholic homeschoolers. Currently 1.5%-3% of all students are homeschooled. Currently this is statistically insignificant. This number is rapidly growing. Andrew believes that we are on the verge of a major societal change. One we reach 5-10% of the students homeschooled, the government will take notice of us and attempt to regulate us. He thinks that this will come when homosexual rights are promoted by law and backed up by the Supreme Court. This may happen in about 3-8 years. He feels that the only way we should be able to continue to homeschool is if we sign a paper stating that we will teach the correctness of the homosexual lifestyle which will cause us either to perjure ourselves or to give up homeschooling, neither of which is acceptable.
At 5-10% of the popular we will not be powerful enough to fight this. Yes, we have more children who will probably homeschool, but the movement will not grow quickly enough. In order to be a formidable force, we must reach 15%. We should be proactive is recruiting other families to homeschool to protect all parental rights. HSLDA is the only organization that he can see that can fight to the bitter end for our rights. Join them. He also mentioned that our state group here in Ohio CHEO, gets its operating budget from its convention in Columbus. The Midwest homeschooling conference is pulling their profits away from them. They are the foremost watchdog in our state to monitor state regulations. Even though they are evangelical Christian we should support them monetarily.

If the President signs and the Senate ratifies the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, that becomes law over and above our laws. It is second in force only to the constitution. Therefore we should be supporting the Parental Rights Amendment

The best book on parenting he has found is written by a 19th century Orthodox monk called Theophan the Recluse. Theophan suggests that when we are raising our children we are creating appetites. In the US we all have an appetite for comfort, safety and ease. We are sacrificing our liberty for security. We are addicted to this.

The Christian faith is the opposite. The health and wealth Gospel is not true. As Catholics we value suffering. We have a tradition of martyrdom. We should be looking for ways to sacrifice to retain our freedom.

Christian Communicators
This does not mean words only. We communicate in differing ways.

The idea of education should be simple. It has nothing to do with job training. Even college graduates have to be trained when they get a job.

The purpose of education according to Plato (who influenced Augustine) is the culture of wisdom and virtue by filling the soul with goodness, truth and beauty, so we can know God, love Him and serve Him eternally.

A person who is educated this way will never lack for employment. They are ultimately employable. People are looking for good people .

Definition of virtue (from Greek) fulfilling it's purpose or nature. A "good" man is good at being what a man is.

We should teach only 3 subjects: character, knowledge and skills. We should get our kids off the conveyor belt of grade levels and graded subjects. (Note: He gave no specifics on how to do this.)

Each child is an individual with gifts and handicaps equipped with a mission from God. Give them the character, knowledge and skills to help them fulfill their mission thereby making them virtuous. He stated that if a kid knows that they want to do with their life chances are that is their calling from God.

He also thinks that the current college system is a scam. First of all, with student loans kids never have to learn how to work. They should know how to work before they get to college, even if it is volunteer work. Secondly, they loans are a trap. If a young man college graduate with $60K in debt meets a young lady with the same, if they get married their hands are very much tied with $120K in debt at age 22 or 23. He also mentioned that if a young adult has a vocation, they cannot enter the seminary, convent or monastery with student debt. He strongly suggested forgoing college or lessening it's social and financial effects by using a service such as College Plus. (This helps kids get as much CLEP credit and online class credit as possible before going to college.) One of his children went to Steubenville. and another to Thomas Aquinas. He is not happy about either of them. He said none of his other kids will go to college that the older 2 did.

When he was asked about Catholic schools he recommended that we read Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America by Steve Kellmeyer. ( He suggested that Catholic schools are also teaching relativistic errors since many in the school systems do not know their faith well. They can be worse because those errors can be masquerading as truth.

When asked about rebellious teens he recommends stopping school and making them work. It is better to start a home business and lose money to allow kids to have a purpose in working. Volunteer work qualifies as well. Maria Montessori has written on teaching teens. She recommends that teens quit school for about 3 years to work and then take up schooling again later.

When asked about computers, he said he did not like educational software because that is disordered. Man should tell computers what to do, not machines telling man what to do. Programing computers is good because it is in the right order.


Anonymous said...

Great blog Mary, keep up the good fight. These are great notes. It is so reaffirming to hear what you believe in your heart. Our TV is gone and we use the computer only and John uses it less and less. Thanks! Loretta

Connie's Daughter said...

Wow! Thank you so much, Mary, for posting all this. Makes me wish I'd gone to his talk!! But I thought it might a repeat of his talk that he gave last time he was in town.
I strongly disagree with his support of the PRA!! We do not want government defining parental rights! I think that HSLDA is misguided in this effort to pass the PRA. Furthermore, I have had conversations with Dr. Charles Rice who also is opposed to a PRA. Guess I'll have to send an email to Andrew.

Jennifer said...

Mary, Thank you so much for taking the time to post this! I missed seeing Mr. Pudewa speak. Very informative! Wish I had been there!
Jennie :)