Sometimes an Internet spoof gets so close to the truth that it is hard for serious people like me to know the difference. Such was the case with my April 27 blog on “Home Churching.” Several wrote to let me know that I had clearly fallen for a satirical spoof that appeared originally in The Onion.

This blog offers my correction regarding my mistaken notion of factuality (quotes, citations, etc.), an admission regarding my humorous personal mistake, and some further thoughts about trends that I do see in the American church.

First, I clearly failed to check out the sources for my citations adequately enough to know that this was intended originally as a spoof. I got this story from a secondhand source and did not even know The Onion existed until last evening. I plan to visit the site and laugh a bit more myself in the days ahead.

Second, special thanks to several kind friends who called this error to my attention. All of us need to be corrected when we get something wrong. Friends will correct you for the right reason. Even enemies help you when you are wrong. Either way I was helped. Thanks to all who wrote.

Third, what made me take this farce at face value is that I have really run into “home churching” families. The trends I have actually met firsthand fit the profile of the original spoof almost perfectly. I am not making this up. I have seen such developments in conservative churches and heard these kinds of arguments as I have traversed the country speaking and meeting people. On second reading I can see the “extreme” humor in the original piece that I quoted but sadly my comments about the “movement” still hold true. Is The Onion prophetic or what?

In this case the spoof is actually stranger than the truth. Home-churching is actually growing, at least from what I have really seen. The Onion’s quotes and citations may be fictitious but, quite sadly, the reality is all too true.