This Thanksgiving turned out to be a unique occasion, for two reasons. You probably heard about the first one, which is that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah coincided for the first time since 1888, and won’t do so again for the next 70,000 years (so here’s hoping you got your hands on a menurkey). The second one, however, seems to have been kept relatively quiet so far – probably due to the large amount of cooking and eating that’s been going on for the past day or so – but is nonetheless extremely pertinent to the mission of this blog.
On Wednesday (11/27/13), T. W. Eston over at Jen’s Gems broke the news that Vision Forum, Inc., the for-profit half of Doug Phillips’ now-crumbling empire, is slated to permanently close December 31st, 2013. I can’t say I’m surprised by this development, as it’s only following in the footsteps of its non-profit “twin,” Vision Forum Ministries, and Phillips’ reputation has understandably taken a nosedive after his multi-year extramarital affair went public on October 30th. This will certainly be earth-shattering to the Christian homeschooling community, as anyone who grew up there can tell you, and on the bright side, will hopefully prevent any more attempts by the devoted to keep silent about Phillips’ implosion and pretend it never happened (which so far seems to be the general strategy among my Christian homeschooler FB friends, with a few exceptions).
In the anti-patriarchy blogosphere, of course, Vision Forum’s shuttering will be greeted with joy, as the most important organization peddling patriocentric theology to the evangelical masses has finally and truly gone down in flames. I understand this sentiment, and share it. However, I feel I must issue a word of warning, especially to the more casual followers of anti-patriarchy blogs:
Do not think for a moment that patriocentricity is dead. Vision Forum and Doug Phillips are only one head of that particular hydra. The other heads – Scott Brown, Kevin Swanson, Voddie Baucham, NCFIC, and all the rest – are still very much alive and kicking. Phillips’ organization may be gone, but his lectures and products are still in thousands of homes, and his ideas have permeated entire sectors of the homeschooling community to their core and will continue to perpetuate themselves without the help of the legal entity named Vision Forum. In other words, those of us in the anti-patriarchy blogosphere now face the task of combating patriocentricity without the convenient, easily referenced figurehead which represented it to most of the evangelical public. It remains to be seen whether this will make our job easier, or harder.
So in light of the above, dear readers, rest assured: the Big Box will continue. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think Vision Forum would close before I finished it, but it will continue nonetheless, because the theology in that box is just as dangerous now as it was before this announcement. Arsenic, after all, is still arsenic…even if the store you bought it from happens to close.
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
–Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias