By Christy Barritt
German Homeschool Family Permitted to Stay in U.S.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted a German homeschooling family permission to stay in the U.S. indefinitely.
The Romeike family fled to the U.S. in 2008 and were granted asylum after being threatened with jail time and having their children taken away in Germany because the family chose to homeschool. They’d already paid more than $9,000 in fines for disobeying German law, which prohibits homeschooling.
In the fall, government administration appealed the decision of the DHS and threatened to deport them, arguing that determining the education of one’s children was not a fundamental right. The administration initially won and the family was going to be sent back to Germany. But the DHS gave them “indefinite deferred status” (meaning they can stay in the U.S. unless they commit a crime).
The Romeikes are committed Christians and have seven children.
Multisite Church Movement Growing
Churches with multiple locations not only grow faster, but they have more lay person participation and reach more new believers than single-site churches.
That’s according to a new study by the Leadership Network.
Currently there are more than 8,000 multisite churches in the U.S. A multisite congregation is defined by Leadership Network as “one church meeting in two or more locations under one overall leadership and budget.” But a survey sponsored by Duke University used language that allowed churches that have several worship gatherings in different venues all on one campus to also define themselves as multisite.
According to the report, the minimum overall attendance recommended for churches considering going to more than one campus was 850, although most churches waited until they reach 1,000.
The average growth rate for these multisite churches is 14 percent and the likelihood of expanding into other locales increases with size.
The Leadership Network used responses from 535 churches across 12 countries, 91 percent in the U.S., which all together represented 1.8 million in weekly worship.
Our Brains and Criticism
Many people would admit that they dwell longer on the negative things others have said toward them rather than remembering the positive. Apparently our brains are to blame.
Dr. Martin Paulus from University of California San Diego is studying how the brain reacts to critique. He concludes that the amygdala (the region that reacts in emergency “fight or flight” scenarios) and the medial prefrontal cortex (the region that engages in problem solving) parts of the brain work harder when confronted with negative input.
“If I engage the brain in criticism, and it’s really working hard on that criticism, it can’t work on anything else, it becomes all-consuming. And so when you engage the brain in very strong negative things, then obviously these negative things become part of who we are.”
If we repeat the criticism in our minds long enough, our brains can create a neural pattern for it.
Psychologist Rick Hanson has seen this pattern as well. “We’ve got a brain that’s really good at learning from bad experiences. And it’s relatively bad at learning from good experiences. That’s why I say that the brain is like Velcro for the bad, but Teflon for the good,” he noted.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.