Sparrow's Call interview

I thought some of you might be interested in this interview from The Sparrow’s Call, featuring moderator @Christy. They primarily discuss the new BioLogos Integrate program, which some of you have begun using, but also other topics such as the way science is often treated in “typical” Christian homeschooling communities, and some of the strengths and weaknesses of the “two books” metaphor.

As an aside, I hadn’t really looked into what “The Sparrow’s Call” was before this, but reading their website makes me glad to see an example of an apologetics group that has a very different focus than the typical 90s homeschool apologetics that I grew up with.


Thanks Laura. I’m watching it now. Too bad she had such a good home life growing up or I’d try to adopt her.

Edited to say, that was enlightening. Thank you @Christy.

Had some thoughts along the way but only started writing them down toward the end. At one point in discussing certainty among YEC’s, Kristine noted how that leaves no space to grow. It occurred to me that there is a similar difficulty for dye in the wool atheists. There is a way in which that cuts off new learning as well. Most online atheists I’ve known are as heavily invested in their certainty as YEC’s are and suffer from the same cognitive dissonance which they are eager to diagnose in all believers. But I’d say that pot is clearly calling the kettle black when they cannot not even acknowledge anything in their experience which supports belief in God whether or not they believe any religion has correctly conceptualized the nature of God.

Then, regarding home schooling, I wonder if those who do home schooling feel it is the optimal way for kids to learn or sadly (for varying reasons) a necessary one. I’m a little conflicted in thinking about it myself. On the one hand I like the idea of the mixing but on the other, public education can become too factory-like. Not every parent is going to be equally adept to meet the challenge but then again neither is every teacher I’ve met. Then there is bond that is formed and how thinly that has to be metered out to so many students depending on class size. I taught middle school math and felt effective but when I think about the trade off between shepherding just your few kids through a more self-guided experience there is a potential there that you really can’t provide for 150 students.

Finally in terms of being normal or feeling that way but not being seen as real Christians by YEC’s it occurs to me that many of the online atheists I’ve met would probably also feel you aren’t doing it right somehow. They really have you pigeon holed in a limited way that clearly does not fit you or the people who were interviewing you.


Ukulele Orchestra from Great Britain … I’m gonna be looking that up.

Oh yeah!

Oh… and nice interview, Christy! Like @Laura, my ears perked up yet more when you discussed some of the nuances of the ‘two-book’ metaphor. I also found it intriguing when you spoke of the translational challenges of faithfully rendering passages like the Ephesians passage using the ‘armor’ of God into something intelligible for a culture that has no ‘conceptual triggers’ for any notions of armor or military action. What a job! It would be interesting to hear what their own native speakers (after themselves presumably learning something of the wider world’s context for that metaphor) would come up with as their own best equivalent in their (presumably more peaceful?) culture!


Excellent. Who knew?

Yes, it’s a much different consideration these days than it would have been a year ago – for many it has become very necessary. There are a lot of advantages to teaching the same children all the way through rather than compartmentalizing ages and subject matter so much. The disadvantage is that no parent (usually mother) is a superhero, and I think a big part of success is honestly evaluating the limitations of your own knowledge and abilities and making accommodations for your kids accordingly. That’s probably what started me questioning whether I knew enough to give my kids all the “appropriate” hard-and-fast answers about origins, and look what happened to that. :wink:


Yes, fundamentalists come in many colors. I’ve noticed that sometimes (not always of course) the most militant atheists come from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds. It’s like they walked away from the beliefs, but not the mindset that undergirded them. They just found a new set of beliefs to be legalistic and intolerant about.

I think it is a diverse group and you can make sweeping judgments about why people homeschool. Certainly in some Christian subcultures it is promoted as a Christian duty in order to keep your kids from becoming corrupted by “the world” and to insulate them from the negative affects of the larger culture. But I don’t even know if that is the majority any more. Lots of people homeschool for the educational benefit, because their local schools are inadequate in general or ill-equipped to meet the needs of some kinds of students (very gifted, certain learning disabilities, certain profiles prone to bullying or social ostracizing, chronic illnesses, parents with jobs that require frequent relocations in the middle of school years). Certainly not every parent is a good homeschool teacher, not every family has dynamics that are suited for it, not every child thrives learning at home, so I don’t think it should ever be presented as the right choice or the best choice for everyone.

There are always plenty of haters to go around, I’m sure! The older I get, the more I’m convinced no one is doing it “right,” we’re all just doing the “fake it til you make it” thing. That’s why we need supportive communities.


There is the idea of getting all dressed up in a complete outfit with no accessory missing (for a wedding or important celebration or something). To understand the passage you have to make the connection between all the armor mentioned and the idea of being completely dressed (completely prepared) because that is what the metaphor hangs on, being completely equipped spiritually.

These are the specially curated ukelele links John James Kirkwood sent me for my edification post-interview.

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I keep forgetting that you were a teacher too! Individualizing lessons is the toughest part of public education. That’s why special education teachers and gifted programs exist. But even those accommodations aren’t always adequate, as Christy pointed out …

Yes to all those things. On the last one, it’s not always parents with jobs; it’s sometimes ultra-rich parents. Total digression, but when I moved to NM and was momentarily single, a friend sent me a job notice from Tutors International. They’re based in Oxford and provide private tutors to rich parents who split their time between multiple homes and countries. Pay is usually around $10k/month plus apartment & car. I applied for the job with a family based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that wanted a tutor with SPED experience who could ski with the boys. Yep. That’s me. I was asked to interview but the idiots wouldn’t do it over Skype. They wanted me to fly to England for a first interview. Nope.

Strangely enough, I glanced at their website before I posted and the job with the same family seems to be vacant again! Good thing I didn’t follow through. I would’ve gotten fired for not being obsequious enough anyway.

The best way to learn a subject is to have to teach it. That applies to the kids too.

I borrowed Christy’s example (with proper attribution!) in an article of mine that comes out soon. Conceptual metaphor is a fascinating subject.

I’ve found that true. The other problem is that such folks can’t conceive of the fact that Christianity isn’t limited to the literalist interpretation that they grew up with. It’s easy to argue against YEC Christianity, but they don’t know quite what to make of folks like us.

I was really hoping that the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was just a joke.

I really enjoyed this interview, @Christy – thank you! Love the thoughts about how it is not about having the right set of unassailable facts, but more about character and having a humble heart that can rest in God’s promises. Coming out of a pretty strict YEC perspective this is something I’m still figuring out… not just exchanging one set of facts for another, but my underlying attitude and my approach as I teach my kids. (Also, I find all the linguistics stuff very fascinating!!)

Just curious, what is the history curriculum you reference toward the beginning? (That changes Egyptian dates etc to align with YEC)

Thanks, Julie! The history curriculum is Mystery of History, which is used as a spine in a lot of Christian programs. As far as I can figure out, the woman who wrote it has a BA in communication and was a sports journalist and is self-taught when it comes to history. (I looked this up years ago and can’t find it online now, but that is what I remember.) It’s also typical of homeschool resources in that it focuses pretty exclusively on Western civilization, whereas secular curriculum nowadays is going to incorporate lots more info on civilizations of the Americas, civilizations of Africa like Songhay and Mali, and civilizations of the Far and Middle East especially wrt their contributions to science, medicine, and technology.

From Rainbow Resources product description:

The Mystery of History , Volume I is written from a Christian, young-earth, perspective…

Mystery of History relies on the Ussher chronology, which requires the world to be created in 4004 BC and insists the world was destroyed in a flood in 2349 BC.

Standard Egyptian chronology has the Great Pyramid construction 2580-2560 BC.

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Gotcha, good to know. Thank you!!

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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