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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Forum Changes

Sarita's Word

A Sonlighter recently encouraged me to read Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth. Besides the Bible, she felt it was the most significant book she had read all year. I read it and totally agree.

The book's premise is that American evangelical Christians lack an appropriate worldview and as a result have forfeited their right to speak into our world.

The author believes that we fall prey to Greek dualism by separating the sacred from the secular. This separation encourages evangelicals' faith to influence their private "walk with God" but does not allow them to speak to all other aspects of our world—science, math, philosophy, logic, etc. She claims (and I agree) that God is Lord of all, and that the Bible speaks truth and provides guidance for all areas of our lives.

She further delineates how this dichotomy has been perpetrated through the ages and she touches on errors in non-Biblical thinking. She encourages Christians to apply God's truth to all areas of their lives—their vocations and their thinking.

Pearcey's book impacted me to such a degree that, as participants on our forums have discovered, I decided to initiate some changes on our forums.

My desire is to encourage homeschoolers. Many moms live in neighborhoods with no other homeschoolers nearby. I want them to have a place to meet and share concerns, current thinking, and ways to encourage our families' walk with the Lord.

I also desire to empower homeschooling moms to think deeply, to communicate richly, to engender close friendships, and to discuss how to be the best they can be in this homeschooling journey. As homeschoolers, we have much to offer one another, in wisdom, knowledge, and support.

I fear, however, that for too long we at Sonlight have allowed two diverse worldviews to ineffectively communicate with one another. When we first launched our forums, I think they helped members on both sides of a possible cultural and spiritual divide learn how, effectively, to speak with one another. But over the past several years, I'm afraid, our online community has negatively impacted too many new and potential Sonlight moms and has discouraged them from participating in (and being encouraged by) the forums.

As a result, we implemented changes on April 5. For those who are willing to speak respectfully to people of different perspectives, we continue to offer full access to all our forums.

However, for those who have come to the conclusion that they simply cannot speak respectfully to those who hold a worldview that involves a staunch commitment to the Bible as the Word of God and loyalty to Jesus Christ as the final authority and, therefore, feel it is inappropriate not to ridicule, demean, mock, or—in whatever manner possible—convince Christians to abandon their faith: such people are welcome to participate only in the Sonlight "unmoderated" (or "self-moderated") community forums and the moderated curriculum forums.

Beyond the changes I have just mentioned, we also created a new forum for women homeschoolers only called "Mom's Night Out."

While I have received some flak for this decision, I feel it is the right one. Since Sonlight is a Christian company, I'd like our forums to radiate that reality in the manner in which we conduct our conversations on our forums as well as in the content of our curriculum.

You can find more about these changes by going to the forum-wide announcement online.

Blessings,
Sarita

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