Thursday, June 11, 2009

"The latest" from CHEC

A friend forwarded a scanned copy of the following letter from Kevin Swanson, executive director of CHEC, dated June 4, 2009.

Links provided within the body of the letter are mine.
After 10 years serving as Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado, I will be taking on new responsibilities with CHEC. The board has appointed another Executive Director to succeed me, effective September 1, 2009. Mike Chapa will serve as the new Executive Director. For the last twenty years, Mike has served in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot and as an instructor at the United States Air Force Academy. Recently, Mike and his wife Tonya have volunteered time to serve CHEC on the conference committee. They have homeschooled their six children from the outset.

This does not mean that I am retiring from CHEC. (As I recall, my original contract doesn't allow me to retire until I get to heaven!) I will continue as Director of CHEC's national operations under the Generations with Vision ministry.

Over the last ten years, we have seen CHEC grow by a factor of 400% in its bottom-line expenditures (and income). We have seen CHEC surface as a national leader for the homeschooling vision. Over the last decade, we have worked hard to emphasize a Christ-centered approach in a world given to man-centered, child-centered, God-ignoring methods of education.

Where public schools are increasingly hostile to any reference to the Bible or the fear of God as the beginning of knowledge in science and history classrooms, we have asserted just the opposite. You may have seen that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals disallowed the reading of the Bible in a Kindergarten class for show-and-tell! The Chief Judge in the case rejected any "reading of religious
texts," but forgot to mention the materialist worldview, the humanist worldview, the new age worldview, or the Muslim worldview in his brief. Every science and history textbook holds to some basic religious perspective relating to the nature of the universe, the essence of reality, the purpose of life, etc., etc. It is only the Christian worldview that is thoroughly repudiated by this increasingly aggressive, secular-humanist state. What little Christian worldview is left in this country is coming from homeschools and a very few Christian schools.

With the secularization of society, we have witnessed a steady corruption of the family and freedom, and of course, the inevitable move towards big-government socialism. We truly believe that we are struggling to retain something of the Christian faith, of family integrity, and freedom for our families in the generations to come. The way your children will live - their single parent rates, their divorce rates, their political perspectives, their support for euthanasia in the 2024 elections, their imploding birth rates, will all depend on the sort of social environment and the education program you give them in 2009.

We sit on the very cutting edge of the battle of worldviews - and the stakes are very high. Please pray especially for the CHEC Family Conference at the Denver Merchandise Mart, scheduled for June 18-20, 2009. We have had more problems with attacks from the enemy than [at] any other time that I can remember in CHEC history, and many of my good friends from other ministries have witnessed similar all-out attack[s] as well. We must be doing something right! I would ask that you pray for increased attendance, and an unimpeded course for our wonderful speakers that have agreed to stand with us in the storms.

With God's blessings,

Kevin Swanson
Executive Director
Several things strike me about the letter:
  • CHEC's name refers to the Christian Home Educators of Colorado, yet the focus of CHEC's executive director for the past . . . while . . . has been (and is now being recognized as) "national" and on something, really, other than home education in Colorado.

    One can understand the mission drift.

    Swanson was a committed Theonomist/Reconstructionist/Dominionist before he began to work with CHEC.

    But then I can imagine his personal mental (and, quickly, the organization's mission) drift:

    • Christian Home Educators of Colorado.
    • Christian Home Education.
    • Christian Education.
    • Discipleship.
    • . . . I'm training my son.
    • He's my apprentice.
    • Apprenticeship.
    • Mentorship.
    • . . . My son is very entrepreneurial.
    • Entrepreneurship.
    • CHEC Apprenticeship, Mentorship, Entrepreneurship Program.
    • . . . My son.
    • A boy.
    • I need to help him become a real man.
    • The Vision Forum All-American Boy's Adventure Catalog.
    • Doug Phillips--a fellow-traveler on the Reconstructionist/Dominionist/Theonomic road!
    • Patriarchy. [I have found Cindy Kunsman to provide a lot of deeply insightful analysis of various spiritually abusive people, groups and practices. I think it is appropriate that I should provide a link to a page that collects everything she has written on her blog that touches on patriarchy.]
    • Generations with Vision.
    • Our message needs to get out to a national audience.
    • National ministry . . .

    ETA at 12:17 p.m. on Thursday, June 11: I wrote out this list partially for my own edification. My own heart and mind follows these kinds of paths. . . . And I think it can often be a good thing for a man or woman of God to be "listening" to these stirrings of the heart. They may, in fact, be God's "still small voice." So we have to be sensitive to that.

    But I think we also--those of us who are involved in providing leadership to organizations larger than our families-- . . . we also have to be careful not to confuse our personal call with the call of the organization. We have to beware dragging the organization down a path to which it really hasn't been called.

    I am disturbed to see how HSLDA, for example, seemed to get dragged into conservative Republican political interests that were on founder Mike Farris' heart but that were really distinct from what HSLDA itself was founded to achieve. Same thing, now, when we look at CHEC.

    And I have had to be careful about my interests that are distinct from Sonlight Curriculum

    Each organization--or, at least, each "brand" within an organization--needs to have its own distinct, and very clear purpose. And the leader--and the board that oversees the leader--needs to be vigilant that he or she doesn't lead the organization down a primrose path away from the valid goal for which it was founded (as long as that goal remains useful).

    If the original purpose no longer exists, then acknowledge the fact and re-brand yourself. But don't let Christian Home Educators of Colorado hold onto its name while it becomes the Kevin Swanson Publishing House, the Kevin Swanson Radio Hour, the Young Men's Apprenticeship, Mentorship, Entrepreneurship League or something else equally removed from the founding and still-stated purpose of the mother organization.

  • I am hopeful that Swanson's appointment to a "national operations" position . . . and the appointment of a new "general" executive director for CHEC might signal a return of focus for the organization to what its name claims it should be all about. That could be a very good thing.
  • Everything about Christ-centered v. man-centered education, etc.: Amen. I'm with him. More self-professed Christians need to wake up to what he is talking about, there.
  • The "CHEC Family Conference" is not, necessarily, a home education conference. It's . . . a whole lot more.
  • Swanson seems to view opposition to whatever-it-is that CHEC happens to be involved in as "attacks from the enemy." Indeed, since Swanson's "good friends from other ministries have witnessed similar all-out attack[s] as well," he feels confirmed in his path. "We must be doing something right!"

    Is it possible--and how is it possible--for a leader with such a mentality ever to acknowledge the possibility he or she needs to make some kind of mid-course correction?

    NOTE: I need to be careful. It has almost always been hard-nosed people with an unbending commitment to a certain objective--all opposition be d*mned!--that have achieved great things for the Kingdom.
  • Interesting that Swanson doesn't state who his "friends from other ministries" are. --Considering what we've been catching from the "Men's Summit" recordings, I doubt he's talking about homeschool ministries. Much more, he's referring to the patriarchalists and family-integrated-church advocates with whom he has been associating.

    How sad that he takes the opposition such edge-of-the-bell-curve "ministries" face as, somehow, confirming the rightness of what he is trying to do . . . and then conflates that all with the stated ministry objectives of Christian Home Educators of Colorado (search for "Statement of Purpose"):
    Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), is a non-profit, Christian organization, dedicated to providing information, resources and leadership to all families involved in home-centered education. We believe that parents--committing time and resources to provide their children with an academically excellent education, grounded in proper values--have the potential to affect the very course of our nation as their children grow up to become competent Christian leaders in the years to come. Christian Home Educators of Colorado is committed to the advancement of home education, and consider it part of our mission to help ease the burden of this responsibility for all families across Colorado involved in home-centered education.
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