From Luke's Inbox: You Missed It!

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I believe your post minimizes what your customers were saying yesterday on a very important issue.

It does not take much perusing of Ms. Keeley's site to find a very disturbing theme of if you just believe it enough, you can make it happen. It promises health, wealth, organisation, and great family relationships in 5 minutes a day. Scripture promises just the opposite--that there will be trouble in our lives. "Everyone can have this perfect life" is a dangerous theology. I, along with many others on the forums, find it disturbing that SL does not see this undertone and how their support of said website could lead their customers to believe that this is an Evangelical Christian understanding.

It is also disturbing how this email and the company response to the concerns belittles your customers. A quick look any given day on the Prayer Closet reveals a lot of seriously hurting people (cancer, marriage problems, wayward children, foreclosures) and yet an email supporting a site that basically would tell them that they must not have enough faith. It is also disrespectful to the many other SL Moms and Dads who have small businesses that do not get SL sending mass emails on their behalf.

I am disappointed with this marketing strategy. But I am most disappointed that you would use your blog to belittle your customers who were expressing serious concerns in a forum designed for discussing your curriculum.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

You are correct: My post yesterday did not at all address the concerns that Hannah may be connected to a "name it and claim it" theology and how that applies to Sonlight's stance. I wanted to keep yesterday's post focused on one point. More on that below...

Hannah's Five Minute Mom coaching program promises that it will help you find ways to improve your life in 5 minute segments every day. That is, I believe, a very big difference. You wouldn't say that our lives must always be full of trouble just because Christ promised that we will experience it. In fact, continuing in that verse, Jesus says that we are to take heart because He has overcome the world. So, while we should not be surprised when trouble strikes, we should not be surprised when life is good. What's more, Hannah even acknowledges that it's possible her tips won't be of help to you and promises to refund you your money.

Now, I completely agree that a "everyone can have a perfect life" is horrible theology. But that is very different from saying, "I can help you." Sure, Hannah's sales copy is really sales-y (e.g. unlimited power of your mind and unstoppable energy are both pretty over-the-top <smile>). But she doesn't promise you a perfect life. Instead, she promises to teach you things that will help you. And those are the things we are happy to offer to those who would like them.

Does Hannah believe that if she has just enough faith God will bend to her whims? I hope not. Does Hannah believe that positive thinking can overcome anything? I doubt it. Could you take her stuff and go off the deep end? Absolutely.

I pray no one does. That is a very real danger any time you share ideas: People can take them wrong.

I haven't heard Hannah say people who struggle with cancer, their families or their finances simply don't have enough faith. If she does, I'd disagree with her on that! This morning, my prayer group covered some really painful prayer requests from the Forums. And yet I don't think it's disrespectful to offer people in such situations resources. In fact, there could be something in there that helps them deal with day-to-day stuff while they cling to God through the things that only He can change.

As for small businesses: We mean no disrespect. As a company we must focus our resources in the places where we believe we can reach and serve the most people. That's part of stewardship. It would be nice to have unlimited resources and partner with everyone who has something helpful to offer, but we don't and we can't.

Yesterday's post was not intended to belittle or minimize these serious concerns. I purposely ignored them because I wanted to focus on something else that pricked me personally. Please forgive me for that. I value the feedback and insights from our customers (hence this post).

Many of the things we offer are from those who do not share our beliefs. We do not offer these resources because we want to align ourselves with a wrong position, but rather because these products and services offer something that we see is of potential value to you. I hope that everyone will, in the spirit of Sonlight's educational philosophy, carefully consider which messages and ideas they will accept and which ones they will not.

And while we do continue to try to find effective ways of sharing Sonlight with more people, our core beliefs and values remain unchanged. Your feedback--and the few pages of Forum responses--help us make better choices in the future.

Thank you for caring enough about Sonlight to help us think through the steps we take. I appreciate the opportunity the Sonlight community gives us to be sharpened and the way it prods us to do better.

Well, friends, please feel free to continue to the conversation. I'm sure I haven't said this all perfectly and you may still have concerns.

<pushes Publish Post>

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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