“Honey, Just Tell Them We’re Home-Churched”

Back to Basics

I guess today it’s high time I get back to why I started writing this blog in the first place. You know, getting back to the narrow path and the Jesus I see missing in America and all; which by default also means the one missing in the American Church…oh yeah, and I guess in me too. But anyway, let’s get on with that why don’t we.


First, let me explain a little bit about my title here, just to set you up for my forthcoming psychosis in prose.  I guess you could say my wife was one of the early pioneers of the “Home-School” movement, at least in the sense of one who felt legitimately called to do so some 25 years ago, with me as her supportive, yet also reluctant sidekick.  This of course was back when friends and family alike looked at us like we had lost our freaking minds, and perhaps were building a cult of other homeschoolers and their whacked out Mom’s and Dad’s on an abandoned ranch somewhere secretly plotting the apocalypse!  Yet in everyday settings there were the “deer in the headlights” looks we would get when we’d be at a local store or somewhere during the day, when both younger and older people alike would take it upon themselves to be our judge and jury with questions behind a “shit-eating” look on their face such as, “Why aren’t your kids in school”?  It was then that my wife and I would cut up behind the scenes at times and role-play back and forth about whose response would be the best to such shenanigans. My favorite was, “We don’t need no stinking school man”,or something like, “School is for losers”or something like that.  And I must say, the shock value was worth all the popcorn and candy you could muster up for the show.  In the end however, we settled for the proverbial nail scratch down the chalkboard with the words, “They’re Home-Schooled”.  And of course as you could imagine, there’s nothing like the truth to just throw people off and make them bat-ass crazy, which would cause them to then shortly thereafter commence with questions such as, “Well, what do they do for testing”, or “What about their socialization skills”,or my favorite was when some wise ass would try and trick them with a math question or something like that.  It was all I could do to bite my tongue, but I bet they wouldn’t ask too much about the socialization one these days now would they?  After all, just ask any local SRO officer.

Nonetheless, fast forward to today, and by God’s grace and in spite of all the demons that surrounded us from both educators and our beloved friends and family, two are now done with college, one is finishing, and the fourth one will be headed that way in two short years, and all of them are just as deep in debt to satisfy everyone who desired we fit into their moldJ.


But I guess you figured that there’s kind of a correlation behind this rebel no one thinks has a cause relating being “Home-Schooled” to being “Home-Churched”.  Well I thought you’d never ask!  In fact, another running joke of ours is along those lines. For as most of you know, I have had my own quiet little battle with the church, which is why I write a blog where I can say “shit” and “damn” and get away with it, because nobody’s hiring me anyway.  LOL.  And yet the truth is, it really hasn’t been a battle, but just a lot of questions; the very thing church’s and churchmen don’t like, when it would be much better, if like those early naysayers of the status quo of what school was to look like, if we would have just simply “fell in line”.

But there is no question that we have had our time with finding our place since we finally stepped out of the role of being behind the scenes churchmen ourselves, and nursing our kids slowly but surely back from being a “PK” (preacher’s kid), back to faith again, while giving equal attention to ourselves in this regard.  But the truth is, after nursing our wounds from BCS (Bad Church Syndrome), we really do love the “idea” of the church. We really do.  In fact, that’s why most Sundays we visit to try and find where we fit in, and then typically settle down for a year or so, and then look at each other, and exit again, still I guess in Bonoesque fashion not having found what we’re looking for.  And as you can imagine, the same questioners, naysayers, and self-proclaimed prophets have their role to play.

Most quite frankly just say we’re “church hoppers” and wishy-washy, and wouldn’t know what we wanted if it smacked us upside the head.  Others say things like, “There is no perfect church, but we have a perfect Lord”,or other goodies like, “There is no perfect church, and besides, once you and I entered it wouldn’t be perfect anymore”…yawn.  And then other more astute practitioners of BCS can philosophize a little better about our disorder, and relate it to being a product of the sixties and early seventies rebellion, and the resultant non-committal nature and allegiance of any institution for goodness sakes.  And others simply continue to build their predictable house of cards to remind us that the one’s on the outside are the one’s with the real problem.  And I’ll have to say, these maxims have worked their way through my complex mind and heart more times than they could possibly know, and I keep coming out on the other side with the same questions.  And so when people ask me where I go to church, and I look at my wife, she simply says, “Honey, just tell them we’re Home-Churched”.

Liquid Drano

And I will have to say that the struggle is real man, let me tell you.  Though two of my four sons show me up pretty good, and both are committed church acolytes at their institution of choice, the so-called teacher of the class is playing hooky sometimes. And I’m afraid that I have enough Protestant guilt built up to last for a good long while for doing so.  And I keep deliberating over the same types of things I guess as to my reason for this.  Things like the lack of real community that you can truly sense, rather than a marketing approach that makes you feel like you’ve been bent over without the necessary foreplay.  Or sometimes it’s the total lack of a message from someone who supposedly spends more time in the word of God and prayer than the rest of us each week, who might actually serve up a steak and baked potato for us to chew on and wrestle with, somehow anointed with a thing called “The Spirit” that drives us to our knees and action. Or perhaps it’s the predictable cliché of “two songs/greeting/awkward handshakes/one song/communion/offering/sermon/two songs/dismissal” (The Restless Church) that just wears me slap out, wondering why I didn’t just go to the beach to read my bible and pray there instead.  And then again, it could be due to the ever-predictable form of godliness we portray with refined reason and logic, yet negligible of the visible power thereof to really make a difference, and actually do at least some of the things that Jesus did.  Or even more so, maybe it’s the fact that I can’t seem to get past all the money it takes for all those buildings and pastors of specialty for each demographic, with little to no money left over for taking the gospel to the ends of the earth and feeding the poor and needy, or visiting the orphans and widows in their distress. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, church pundits remind us of the 10% we owe to the Lord as a possible reason why the church is in it’s present state of decline.  Yet somehow the Math doesn’t really add up, which proves you probably really don’t need Algebra to figure this thing outJ.

Perhaps they’re right, and I’m wrong.  For sure, though none of my x-church practitioners would ever comment on my blog or admit that perhaps myself and other renegade prophets could really be on to something worth wrestling with.  After all, like the corporate world of sharks, the ecclesiastical butt kissing line is a long and winding road as well.  And though I am not against the church in any way shape or form, I am increasingly weary of the same predictable answers to legitimate questions of people who are honestly trying to find their way back in.  The truth of the matter is, some say there’s a swamp in Washington that needs to be drained, but I’m just wondering if perhaps a little liquid Drano is needed in Christendom as well.  Meanwhile, the beach is very inviting.





  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You make me smile and remember my roots. I thank Him on every remembrance of you and your fam. 🙂

  2. Lisa Hellams

    I to have struggled with some of theses same questions myself.
    I to sometimes wonder how the church is relevant. I do love Jesus and He is what gets me through.
    Love to your and your family.

  3. Hi Mark,
    I have struggled with this also. I am inclined to believe what I read somewhere about there being stages of faith, and when we get to the later stages church doesn’t cater well especially if you enter a church when you are already in a later stage. Churches tend to treat all new entrants as ‘baby’ or ‘teenage’ believers mostly out of fear I think, rather than discerning where someone is at. I also believe we don’t do community well, there’s a fearful refusal to engage at more than a surface level until the new person has been around for years.
    I think the answer is for everyone in church to take personal responsibility to look out for, and engage with new entrants. It’s not the job of the leadership. And if we’re looking for a new church we might have to be a bit patient with people. If you’re a more mature believer you can tell where someone else is at – even if they’re the Pastor – and allow them room to initially misjudge you. And subtly move in your gift and call – it will make room for you, and the church will eventually pick it up.

    • That’s really good insight Simone and I think I’m right there with you. Though I understand these things, I’m mostly trying to engage those less mature who’ve decided to give up the search, but still love Jesus. I guess I’m somehow feebly trying to be the voice of those who don’t know how to say what they are feeling. Blessings to you!

  4. rjolmstead26

    Hey Mark,
    It’s nice to see we’re not alone in our struggles. With us it’s mainly an issue of spiritual warfare within the body. As prophetic intercessors, the spirit of Jezebel quickly find us out and the battle begins. But the battle is not the problem. It’s leadership that refuses to even acknowledge spiritual warfare in the church, yet alone take a stand against it! Heaven forbid we should offend someone. As for me and my house, we continue to seek and pray God’s will from our prayer room. We’ll be praying for you.

    P.S.- We’re homeschoolers as well. 🙂
    Rebecca Olmstead

    • Thanks Rebecca. We’re just trying too fight the good fight:). I mostly write not just about what I’m feeling and have experienced, but also for those out there who have given up on church and don’t really know how to articulate what their feeling in hopes they’ll keep at it realizing it’s not always them with problem. Thanks for reading.

    • Thanks Rebecca. We’re just trying too fight the good fight:). I mostly wrote not just about what I’m feeling and have experienced, but also for those out there who have given up on

    • Thanks Rebecca. We’re just trying too fight the good fight:). I mostly wrote not just about what I’m feeling and have experienced, but also for those out there who have given up on the church and still love Jesus but may not know how to articulate what they feel. Congrats on your writing work. God’s Peace!

    • Rebecca, I just went back looked and realized I totally bypassed your webpage and work. I’m going to look at that and your writing work. You’ve obviously been very successful as a writer, and I’m just a little pea attempting to be one. If you ever get time, please go and follow my blog. I’d love to hear from you about my writing, but also, I’d like to think I might have something to say again that you would resonate with. I’ve compiled a good number of blogs over the last two years to choose from. Have a blessed day, and I look forward to looking at your great work. Peace, Mark

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