Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Uniform

Education (part 38)

It's not uncommon for a movement to take on its own characteristic dress and vocabulary. This identifies who's "in" and who's not. On a trip through Montana we were at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and in came some Mennonites dressed in their unique garb. I overheard a little boy who was with his father, ask: "Daddy, are these real pilgrims?" He apparently thought he had stepped back in time.

Some homeschoolers have created their own subculture that's out of touch with the time and place where God has placed them, imagining some golden age in the past when things were simple and pure. It's a romanticized and false image and thus it's not real. While I strongly favor the liberty of parents to dress their own children how they like, the "Little House on the Prairie" uniform does not prepare children to be adults and to capture the culture for Christ. Modesty is essential but frumpy does not adorn the gospel.


  1. so you're making a connection with the way mennonites dress (little house on the prairie look) and some homeschool families wanting their kids to dress modestly. Don't know what you are seeing but I don't know any homeschoolers in the NE La area that are non-mennonites and dress like pilgrims. what a doosie. you are really reaching.

  2. Of course there is a range of dress within the movement and not all of it reaches the "pilgrim" extreme. This is also why I said "SOME homeschoolers." Modesty, which is essential and desired, does not have to be frumpy or monolithic; that’s my point. I have heard many take notice of the kind of thing I’m referring to in the home school movement, so I don’t think I’m just imagining things. I would add, if you have not noticed it in the NE LA area, then perhaps it’s not happening where you are. I think that’s a good thing.

  3. I'm not only "not against homeschool" I'm a genuine fan of homeschooling. I was a homeschooler long before it was an accepted thing to do. I've been involved with the movement for over 25 years at many different levels. However, I think there is (sometimes) a hyper-sensitivity to any kind of criticism or critique, and thus this is one of the problems that must be addressed if homeschooling is going to improve (as a movement). This is what Christian leaders should be doing. Christian day schools receive criticism every day from parents, teachers, students, administration, and the public; and there is a lot to criticize. While homeschoolers often criticize one another (privately), there is (too often) a defensiveness and resistance to any “outside” criticism, even when it is constructive. If we don’t know where the pot-holes are then we cannot watch out for them.

    My first 24 blog posts on education were very critical of government schools. The next eight or nine were critical of Christian day schools. The next eight or nine are critical of home schools. The rest of the series (30 or more posts) will deal with the positive application of a Christian philosophy of education.

  4. What we have seen in AAPC culture, is a bunch a of young ladies fearful of looking like a prairie muffins, as they run about ridiculing the prairie muffins. These non homeschoolers respond by letting it all hangout. I have observed a few young ladies dressing fashionably modest but I bet theses young ladies are still viewed as prairie muffins. I am so encouraged when a see a young Christian lady obviously working at her apparel in a way that addresses godly modesty and beauty in our culture. Now that is good and although the prairie muffin homeshooler is missing it in some way, the immodest scoffers of the muffins have missed it MORE. Additionally, the non homeschooler scoffer is well equipped to argue his/her point in a way that says, there is no such thing as long hair or immodesty.

  5. Jeff, I agree. Falling off the horse on the other side is not a good thing. Three cheers for modest beauty!

  6. Thanks, Jeff
    Well said.

    But I am wondering what you mean by "Additionally, the non homeschooler scoffer is well equipped to argue his/her point in a way that says, there is no such thing as long hair or immodesty."

    Have you really heard someone argue that there is no such thing as "long hair" or immodesty?

  7. Yes Ed I have! by youth via email and conversatation.

  8. Just to clarify my statement that Ed Lang is questioning...Some youth and even some not so young, have indicated that it is not possible to define long hair or immodesty. In conversations with some, we sometimes can agree that God requires in His Word that his people are to be modest in dress (and in attitude and every other knook and cranny) and that men should have short hair and women long (I know we better be real careful with short womens hair, a real hot potatoe) neither short hair, long hair nor immodesty may be defined. In an email where I conversed with a young man concerning his long hair, he indicated that the Scriptures do not teach men should have short hair nor women long. We must not flip things upside down as the world does, doesn't even nature teach us this. Now where have I read something like this...

    By the way, RC Sproul Sr did a great job on this issue some years back. His summation in my recollection was that we must always be able to identify male of female by their hair without looking at the other features of the person.

    Now owning a winery, I move that it is not possible to define drunkeness. NOT! Please tell me if you ever think I am crossing the line cuz it sure is good stuff!

  9. Thanks, Jeff

    Wow, well that is pretty bad. I appreciate the response.