Thinking Out Loud

May 12, 2011

Focus on the Family Canada Opens $9.4M Facility

According to a report in Christian Week, they paid $1.4M (CDN) for the land and $8M in constructing their own home, after paying rent for 27 years.  The Canadian branch of Focus on the Family, the organization founded by James Dobson, now has its own physical operations base in Langley, B.C.

But not everyone is excited.  The anonymous author of the popular Canadian Christian news and opinion site, Bene Diction Blogs On writes,

I really wish this organization would leave the country. But no, they’ve just completed an 8 million dollar building project, debt-free. Anything this group does should be wide open to public scrutiny and I wish Christians in Canada would wake up. FotF is no more committed to ‘the family’ than founder James Dobson is. The US extremist toxic religious right group has 65 Canadian employees. While the Canadian arm says it is independent of the US group, US leaders are on the Canadian board and start up costs of 1.6 million were given to the Canadian operation from the US. The Canadian group is fundamentalist, authoritarian, theocratic and lobbies against the same things the US group does, using language friendly to unsuspecting believers.

Here at T.O.L., thoughts are somewhat mixed.  On the one hand, it’s hard not to appreciate the work Focus did recently in developing The Truth Project, a comprehensive crash course in developing a Christian worldview on subjects like Philosophy, History, Science, Politics, Education, and the video series’ key question, ‘What is truth?’  Or its earlier contribution to parents on long road trips with its Adventures In Odyssey audio/video series.

But on the other hand, Canadians get skittish when Christian organizations wander too deeply into everything from politics to parenting.  Any elevation of Focus’ profile under a majority Conservative government is more conservatism than some people are comfortable with.

And it’s easy for Christians to second-guess any kind of capital spending project at a time when so much of the Church’s energies are being focused on the needs of the poor.  Adding an elevator to your church to give the handicapped greater access?  Be prepared for a firestorm over the costs.  Putting up a nearly $10M building for what some see as an outmoded media outreach, using something as quaint as radio?  Get ready to meet the critics.

Perhaps the facility is a bargain at $9.4M.  One would have to attend the June 18th Grand Opening to make that call.  And Focus, like so many other radio ministries, is probably active in online delivery.  So what is it about Focus that makes some of us a little nervous?

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2 Comments »

  1. Hi Paul:

    Thanks for the link. One commenter pointed out Fotf sells books they want.
    Okay. But rather than get yourself on a mailing list which involves more than product, why not ask a local bookstore to order for you?

    You pointed out the obvious – the organization exists to be politically active – that is what the mailing lists are partially for. Do we want parachurch agencies using product money to interfere in politics?

    Comment by Bene D — May 12, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  2. So what is it about Focus that makes some of us a little nervous?

    For me it has always been their theraputic gospel, their emphasis on prooftexted licensed secular psychology/psychiatry emphasis and less on the final authority of scripture when it comes to matters of the heart, ‘mental illness’ and propaging the ‘victim’ mentality in believers.

    You asked (wink)….

    Comment by Derek Iannelli-Smith — May 13, 2011 @ 5:55 am


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