It Just Needs To Stop

There are some people who I love, trust and respect who don’t think I should post this. There are other people who I love, trust and respect who believe that posting this is the right, loving and responsible thing to do.

I’ve decided to finally post this because of a discussion I had yesterday with my son. He had been the one who was repeatedly molested when he was six. I asked him what he thought about speaking out about what happened to our family. He paused for a long time then asked if ‘telling others’ was based out of anger or a way to ‘punish’ the Suarez’s. Then it was my turn to pause; I examined my motives (again) before telling him, “No, I’ve fully forgiven them and love them. My intent was purely to warn other families”. He told me he was glad to hear that and that he had forgiven them, too. But then he told me he wanted to speak plainly. He told me that he was angry — really angry — that his older cousin had forced him to live with such disgusting memories . He also told me that he hated the idea of being known as the kid who had ________ happen to him. He said he was fearful of having a tainted reputation and was nervous about being kept out of certain circles of friends who might look at him weird if they knew. I sat quietly and just listened to him as he spoke. And then what he said surprised me. He said, “I think that being concerned about how I’m viewed is selfish, though. I don’t want my reputation to be more important to me than knowing we might be able to help prevent others from having to live through what I have to deal with” This kid is 13, he’ll be 14 next week. All I could do is tear up and marvel at the grace and the strength and the maturity that God has blessed him with. He’s not a victim. The boy is a hero as far as I’m concerned.

We do not expect pastors to call out child offenders from the pulpit every Sunday (as somebody falsely suggested we were advocating).

Our issue is not with ‘repentant child sex offenders’. Local bodies can decide for themselves what measures to take to keep their congregations safe. That’s not where we take issue.

Our issue is with leaders who use their positions of power to enforce a ‘zero accountability’ policy for child sex offenders and then punish people who disagree with their (extreme) view.

We take issue with the practice of protecting a child molester (repentant or otherwise) at the expense of the victim and their family. I’ve been accused of ‘making my nephew out to be a monster’. I reject that accusation. A 14 / 15 year old who does monstrous things will have to live with the consequence of having committed monstrous things. Sin has consequences. Do I still love my nephew? Absolutely. There is full forgiveness and we love him and would welcome a relationship with him (if he decides to reach out) — but there are consequences for sin. To shield him from consequences wouldn’t be love. It would be potentially inviting disaster for others.

This is not just about how the Suarez’s wanted to protect their (then) teenage son. There have been two other child predators (that we know of) who the Suarez’s actively protected. They demanded silence from those who knew and insisted on letting those predators have unfiltered access to family gatherings / child focused events. They insisted that families accept (what amounts to) a ‘zero accountability’ stance in regard to those men because they said the men had ‘repented’. And families who voiced concerned, or alerted other families to a potential danger, or who chose not to include the predators in their groups, were told they were in sin and were then condemned by the Suarez’s. One man, Roy Ballard, was later imprisoned for sexual assault against children. The other man they protected, Mike Marcum, was also imprisoned (for possession of child pornography).

Again, if the Suarez’s hold a belief that they should protect the reputations of child molesters, that’s one thing. But to condemn concerned families and use the bible to berate them for rejecting their extreme views is indefensible. At least that’s my opinion.

I’ve been accused of trying to ‘vindictively take down The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’. I reject that accusation. Paul and Gena made the choice to habitually divide with believers over secondary issues. They have also made the choice to condemn (multiple) families who spoke out against child predators.

They made the choice to continue pursuing the spotlight as national leaders after knowing their highschooler repeatedly molested more than one child.  In my opinion, they should have stepped down and dealt with their family issues. Instead, they built an audience and created a following. I feel no obligation to protect their leadership position in the homeschooling community. It was their choice to push this issue public.

They refused to deal with us privately (we tried repeatedly) and then seven years later, when they finally met with us (with a supposed ‘unbiased mediator’ ) they refused to acknowledge any error over their unbiblical belief of shunning Christians over secondary issues. Nor did they see a problem with condemning families who refused to accept what amounts to a ‘zero accountability’ stance for child sex predators. It is because of their choices that this is now playing out in front of an audience that they, themselves, created.

Here’s a helpful motto: Don’t do things that you don’t want people to find out about. It’s not the job of the ‘abused’ to protect their abusers ‘popularity’.

We take issue with a philosophy that proactively condemns and/or punishes families who alert others of a potential danger within their midst. We have witnessed a pattern of this. Not just a solitary incident… but a pattern.

Here are some questions that we have not yet received satisfactory answers to:

1) Paul and Gena Suarez, do you still maintain you were right in shunning the Igarashi’s seven years ago after they wouldn’t submit to your views on carrying out church discipline on a third party? On May 5th 2014 (in front of witnesses) you refused to concede that you should have handled the situation differently. And this leads to the next question… if Jenefer never ‘repented’ (and you maintained it was right to shun the Igarashi’s) then why did Gena suddenly agree to ‘un-shun’ Jenefer? Why are you willing to be ‘nice’ and ‘loving’ now? What changed? And why won’t you ‘un-shun’ the other families you’ve condemned who have approached you?  Is it because they are not being as vocal about the abuse they suffered at your hands?

2) Are you able to comprehend how excruciatingly painful it was for a family to deal with a six year that had been molested by a highschooler from your household? Are you able to understand the absolute agony they then experienced at your hands when you shunned them, slandered them and encouraged others to divide with them over the next 7 years?

3) There are multiple families who you’ve condemned as sinners after they went against your zero accountability stance (for the child predators you were protecting). Julie Hauser reached out to you in a friendly, relationship-oriented way recently and you told her that a friendship couldn’t happen until she (Julie) repented. Are you truly unable to see the absurdity of this?

These are a few of the questions we still have and  which were not dealt with in the ‘mediation process’

Paul and Gena Suarez have held steadfast to their skewed beliefs and use them to justify their destructive actions.

We’re not bitter, angry or vindictive. We have made every effort to come alongside the Suarez’s in love, hoping to show them that they’re hurting the Body.

Being habitually divisive and condemning families who alert others to possible danger to children is serious enough to speak up about. We are prayerful that my sister and her husband will humble themselves, abandon their extreme errant unbiblical views, and begin a new way of life that accepts accountability and brings restoration and healing to the body.

In the meantime, we are convinced (and feel convicted) that to stay silent would be wrong and would further present a danger to families who follow them.

I’m including a helpful link to an article by a friend, Eric Novak.  I think it sums up pretty well where the homeschool community needs to grow.  How Christian Legalism Creates A Culture of Sexual Abuse

Pending

I have been asked to take the two posts down. I was asked to do this because we had signed an agreement to work through a different channel with the Suarez issue (part of that being we agreed not to go ‘public’ with the information) Whether or not that was a wise or proper thing for us to do is currently being debated.  But as it stands, since we did sign an agreement that outlined certain steps, we will honor it and stay silent regarding exposing things publicly for now.

However, I will say this. Geoff and I 100% stand behind  those who have been hurt and/or victimized.  Our eyes have been even more opened to the necessity of speaking out and the huge problem that currently exists in the church (at large) that hides divisiveness and the danger of silencing victims who speak up.  We’ve gotten such a huge response from people who have been suffering in the same, or similar, situation. Our hearts grieve over that.

Don’t Eat Plastic Apples

One of the classic tactics abusers use after they victimize a person is to further oppress them by condemning them as ‘gossips’  or ‘slanderers’ if they don’t cover up the abusers actions.

Abusers will create smoke and clamor to divert attention away from their abuse by pretending the ‘sin of gossip’ is the Sin of all Sins and is therefore sufficient grounds to discount any charge of real sin against them.

Another tactic is to preemptively accuse the victims of the sins they, themselves, are guilty of (calling them ‘gossips’, ‘vengeful’, ‘liars’, etc). They will bully the victim into silence and many times launch efforts to discredit them in case the victim ever does speak out.

Also, victims are generally isolated. There might be a sea of other victims, but they’ve been trained, and it’s been ingrained (by the abusers) ‘not to gossip’, so they clam up instead of seeking out help or solace from others who have been there. Victims like these have been beaten down and confused. They are told they are probably not saved when/if they disagree with the abuser. They are slandered and cut off from friends who are afraid to get involved. And what’s really distressing (if that’s not distressing enough) is that many of these people genuinely love God and long to do what’s right. They either fear the bullies or fear the title of ‘Gossiper’, so they stitch up their gashes by themselves and limp back into life, trying not to bleed on others, and thinking they’re the only one. In worse cases, some leave the church altogether.

Life in the ‘Christian realm’ can be a confusing minefield to tiptoe through. It is easy for people to be led astray. It always has been. When you get a strong authoritative personality, many are won over partly because they speak with such conviction. People are always looking for a leader. So if somebody is willing to lead, typically they will gain an audience, especially if many things they say are true and good.

Believers must be discerning. They need to be able to look at fruit and detect error when it springs up. If it looks like an apple, but  you take a bite and it’s plastic…don’t swallow it. Be especially careful of apples that have teeth and will try and bite you back.

Sometimes people will see red flags but make the decision to just ‘shake it off’ because ‘so many others trust these leaders’. Mob mentality.

Things to Watch Out For

Do not be deceived by leaders who are habitually divisive. This is a red flag. Generally, these people have very ‘biblical sounding’ reasons for casting off fellow believers (with one-sided -or long winded – explanations).

It’s a huge red flag if you see leaders dividing with people over secondary issues; if they are people who would rather ‘divide’ than ‘disciple’ take notice. Sometimes they will also encourage others not to speak with the one they cast out. Because if they do, “it’s gossip”. This is contrary to the gospel.

Avoid people who cover sins that are dangerous to others. I’ll just speak plainly here. If there are men who have sexually abused children (or are being investigated as child predators) and you are told to keep your mouth shut about it, then it’s time to do something. Leaving with your children is a good first step.

If you feel children may be in danger and speak out about it, you are not a gossip. If somebody gives you a long biblical treatise about how their view on how to handle child predators within the church is the only biblical one (and their view protects offenders and demands that other parents are not to be made aware) know they are flat wrong.  If you’re told that you’re ‘possibly unsaved’ if you disagree with their views, you need to know that is a lie.

Be discerning, church. We are to love all, but that does not mean to check your common sense at the door.

Incidentally, my pastor recently posted the following on facebook. I think it’s worth sharing:

“@DeepakReju: Are you prepared to fight child abuse in your church? Or are you not ready yet?  http://stores.newgrowthpress.com/on-guard-preventing-and-responding-to-child-abuse-at-church/ This is a resource to look into if this is an issue you’re currently dealing with.

Also, a healthy local body is vital. If you don’t have a local church, and don’t know where to look, see what you can find on this site:  9 Marks

*** I’m editing this post to add this. This morning our pastor preached on Matthew 18. I encourage you to listen to the message. Hugely helpful. The Church: Matthew 18: 10-20

 

 

 

Mediation Attempt

May 5th, 2014 there was a mediation attempt, which involved Paul Suarez, Gena Suarez, Geoff Igarashi III, Jenefer Igarashi, Pastor Charlie ScalfPastor Ben Wright and Attorney David Gibbs.

The following ‘Joint Statement’ was put together then signed by all parties.

“About seven years ago we disagreed on how to handle a complex issue. Though we have not yet resolved the areas of disagreement, we have started the process of restoring our relationship. We love each other as a family and we have committed to rebuild that relationship and mutual trust in years to come. We desire to resolve any related division with other parties and to that end we ask that you contact whomever among us would be most appropriate. We pray that our work to reconcile with one another might reflect in some way the magnitude of God’s great mercy to reconcile with us through the sacrifice of His Son.”

When the Body Cuts Itself to Pieces

 

We are called to live at peace with all men as long as it’s possible for us. That’s in Romans.

We’re also told that the church is a body and that we must work together to not only build each other up, but to keep the rest of the body safe. That’s in Corinthians and Matthew 18.

Being a part of a local body is crucial for Believers. There is safety. There is counsel. Also, there are witnesses.

The Christian Homeschool Community is not a church. It’s a movement. It’s not a church.

Naturally, one would hope that it is able to regulate itself, but is that even possible? How does a ‘movement’ regulate itself? Who is responsible to keep the bad apples out? The Leaders? Who are the Leaders? What if the Leaders are bad apples?

I don’t have any easy answers for this. The only answer that I do know is that any man who claims Christ must be accountable to *somebody*. The local church is generally the place for issues to be worked out (unless a crime has been committed — know when to report an issue). But if a ‘Leader’ has no local body and is in gross/persistent sin and will not work with anybody who appeals to them to stop the destruction… what do you do?

In most cases Titus 3:10-11 would answer, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped.”

But what if there is a danger to others? What is the moral responsibility for those who have information? These are questions my husband and I are trying to work out right now.

Likely you may soon hear about another huge and distressing ‘Homeschool Leader’ scandal. If you are a Believer you have clear commands from God’s Word on how to handle ‘breaking news’ that happens in ‘Christian Circles”.

1) What does your heart look like? Does it rejoice and become busy in the flurry of news reports that come out? Are you praying for the victims involved? Are you praying for the ‘Leader’ involved? Or are you just filling up your ears with ‘choice morsels’?

2) How are you discussing the news with others? Is it fun to chatter about the details? As a Christian this should never be the case. Ever. We are to be known for our great love for one another. Anybody who rejoices in a fallen brother is probably not saved. 1 John 4:20 Yes, I understand that there is relief and gratefulness when justice is served and Truth is revealed — but as Christians the motivating factor should always be Love. Love doesn’t gloat, it’s not vindictive, it does not glory in the fall of anybody. It must always truly and honestly long for restoration and reconciliation. Anything less is not worthy of Christ.

3) What are you doing with the information? God’s Word tells us that sometimes a leader needs to be called out publicly as a warning to others. (1 Timothy 5:20). As Believers when this sort of thing happens it should hit us with sober gravity. It should bring us to our knees. It should cause us to check our own lives and our own weaknesses.  Which leads me to #4…

4) It should cause us to look to Christ. We are all such total losers. Seriously, humans are hopeless. We are in need of Grace and Mercy CONSTANTLY. Those of us who truly know Christ understand the depth of our own depravity. We understand how much we need a Savior. If we’re honest, we also understand how much we do *not* deserve either grace or mercy.  How does the saying go? “When it comes to others we make excellent judges, when it comes to ourselves we make excellent lawyers”

The Christian Body is a living organism. We must operate as a body. Nobody gets a splinter and hacks off his foot. At the same time, rare is the sane person who knows they have gangrene and merrily goes about their way as it spreads and rots the rest of his body.

Wisdom, peace, grace, justice, mercy, unity, and that God’s name will be glorified. That’s what I’m praying for.

 

Another Fabulous Rosetta Stone Contest!

******* EDIT AND UPDATE – Thanks to all who entered the contest.  The winners have been chosen and were announced on the next post up.

http://jeneralities.com

Ok, so last year when Rosetta Stone let me give away a new Version III language program, it was a big big big hit. And now they are letting me do it again in celebration of the brand-spankin’ new Latin course that’s being rolled out this week in Version III!

Here’s how you enter. Post the information below (the paragraphs between the ***’s) on your blog – and if you have multiple blogs you can enter multiple times with separate entries. Don’t have a blog? You can still enter by “facebooking” the link to the contest here, OR email the info to your homeschool support group (or to homeschooling friends). Easy, yes? Make sure to include the link back to this original post when you blog and then leave a comment letting me know so I can enter you to win.

***

Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language and has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — and you can WIN the *all new* version 3 Rosetta Stone Homeschool LATIN program… FOR FREE! This is the first year you can get Latin in the brand new Version III update.

This is a $259 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!)
This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever! Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress- I love that!), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.

To win this most excellent Latin program copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR link to the contest from your facebook page and/OR email the information to your homeschool support group – Then go to the original page http://Jeneralities.com and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post. And good luck!

****

The winner will be picked randomly next week, and notified by email. The program will be shipped to you free of charge. You may enter multiple times by posting on more than one blog and by also ‘Facebooking’ the contest pg link and emailing friends. Submit those entries with separate comments here on the original contest page for more chances to win. Anybody may enter. And if there are enough entries, I may try to wrench some arms over at Rosetta Stone to see if we can get more than one winner. Grin grin.

And here is a bit of additional, non-contest-related Rosetta Stone news that you might be interested in….

I have also been allowed (for the rest of May) to offer my blog readers a special discount — $100 off by entering the promo code hsb59 at checkout if you buy levels 1-3 (of any language) regular price $549. This would also include 1-5 levels for Spanish, regular price $699. I’d also like to point out that Rosetta Stone has just (this week) begun offering Latin, Tagalog (Filipino), Vietnamese and Turkish in the brand new Version III curriculum. Pretty awesome. And another new thing is Rosetta Stone is now offering levels 4&5 for Spanish (and English). Levels 1-5 is equivalent to FIVE years of language. That would look pretty awesome on a transcript.

Lastly, Rosetta Stone is now on Facebook. Become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Rosetta-Stone-Homeschool/74459073912?ref=ts

Ok, that’s it for now. Good luck on the contest! Go post the info and come back here and leave a comment to enter. I know there are a bunch of you out there (especially you Classical Homeschooler types) who would love the brand new first level of Rosetta Stone Latin in the new Version III program… here’s your chance!

YAY for FREE stuff!

Brrrrrr… Chilly is a Good Thing

Oh my heavens, I’m about to have a heart attack.  Coie, as I type this, is outside backing up the trailer so we can get our new Whirlpool fridge into the house.  And I’m just sure that she’s going to lurch sidewards and my brand new shiny appliance is going to topple over, bust thru the side of the trailer and plunk into the mud. I had to flee inside and blog to distract myself or else have an apoplectic fit.

 

Me and Coie and Ryann went to pick it up just now since Geoff the Great is still at work.  Coie called and found a great deal and we zipped over to Lowes (yes, Lowes) to grab it. I was feeling pretty proud about our big-girl selves, until the fellow who sold it to us wheeled it out to the parking lot and we realized that we hadn’t brought any rope to tie the thing down.  The guy was kind enough to toss us a ball of dental floss.  Apparently he’d just gotten off the clock and was in a big hurry to get home. He said, “Well… here yeh go” and stomped off across the parking lot.  I spose it wasn’t quite as thin as dental floss, but it sure was thin scrawny stuff.  No matter.  I am thankful for it.

 

And besides, we Igarashi girls are made of stern stuff (and when I say ‘we’, naturally I mean Coie and Ryann – I just sat in the suburban and listened to Mark Levin).  We tied it down something fierce and we *did* make it home without incident

 

On a side note, I’m convinced that God likes me.  How else can you explain that the VERY day that my fridge decided to conk out was the same day that Rosetta Stone sent me a check for our OH show?  Holy Moly that $$$ got here quick and I’m so so so super extra thankful for it.

 

Ok, I’m gonna go.  Once she gets the trailer backed into the court I might actually go out and try and help shimmy that brand new beautiful big 21 cubit foot box of frosty icy paradise into the kitchen.  Hooray for cold milk!

 

PS Stay tuned… Rosetta Stone said they may let me give away a brand new Version III Latin language program.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  I’ll let you know soon…

 

PPS Me and Coie will be in Arlington, TX this weekend.  Any of you gonna be at that convention?  Make sure to stop by and say hi if you are!  And I’m going to get to see my Aunt Dora and Gramma Nile – I haven’t seen them in ten years. I’m excited.

Things That Make You Go WEEEHEEEHEEEHEEE!

 

Remember a couple posts back when I was screaming and ranting about my photobucket account not working?  Coie fixed if for me.  Gee, she’s the swellest.  

 

Look, I told you it was spring around these here parts and I weren’t lyin’:

 

 

 

Spring. Ha. Actually, it now already feels like summer.  It was nearly 90 yesterday.  That’s way too bloomin’ hot.

 

And now since I can post pictorial stuff… Look, here’s EEEEMommy from the Cinci convention. 

 

 

I think I scared her, though.  Marshie was making fun of me because every time Angel came around I was like, “oooooh, you’s puh-retty”.  She IS though.  She was downright gorgeous. And I like her trendy glasses. Pictures don’t do her justice.

 

 

And here’s a picture of my pal, Julie Park.  I’m so nice to post this picture, especially after the monstrosity of me that she slapped up on Facebook.

 

 

She’s so deucedly tiny.  I look like an Amazon next to her.

 

All right, and here… here is a great gift that Emmiko, builder-of-all -things-fun-and/or-edible (or both), made for me.  I told her, “Ems, Mama wants a big big big swing”.  And 20 minutes later I had this:  

 

 

 

 What a lucky momsie am I.