Friday, February 5, 2010

Gospel-Powered Parenting

I recently read this book and someone asked for my thoughts. This isn't a full review but just some thoughts.

1. Overall, it was a good book. Easy to read, challenging, encouraging. A book that places the gospel at the center of our parenting is a good thing.

2. I thought the strongest chapters were the one dealing with the first principle of parenting (having strong marriages) and the one dealing with the importance of fathers.

3. While there are some practical suggestions, this is not a "how-to" book. If you are looking for a program to work like an exercise program, this book will likely disappoint.

4. Always appreciate the focus on the need for heart transformation, not simply behavior modification.

5. A few quibbles.

a. There seems to be at least ambivalence to homeschooling. At one point, he states that he has seen no qualitative difference between those in public schools, private schools, or homeschools. He also has a negative example where a parent has their list of "No" items, like no drinking, no movies, etc. and includes no public education in the list. At another point, while emphasizing the crucial role of the family in training children, the author states that "parents can, and probably should, hire a school to assist us." No problem with the "can" but "probably should" seems a stronger sentiment to me.

b. The author rightly stresses the need for our children to experience new birth. However, he says several times that we should not assume our children are Christians. I take his point but have two concerns. One is that if we constantly take a negative regard to our children's faith, we can actually cause them to doubt. If, for example, my son, Jack, tells me he is a Christian and I respond by telling him that he can't be because he is too young, or doesn't understand enough, or hasn't done something, then I think I am undermining the very gospel I preach. Indeed, we find the Bible revealing things such as "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" or "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." I am not suggesting the author disagrees; it was simply unclear to me. The second concern is how the author suggests we discern the new birth in our children. On one hand, he warns against presuming regeneration because our children attend church or youth group or even a child's profession. All good but then he goes on to list other signs that would indicate new birth, such as increased obedience to parents, reading God' Word, etc. My question would be "Can't a desire to worship with God's people be a sign of the new birth?" or "Does an increased desire to read God's Word necessarily mean conversion?" At that point, it seems to me that you are simply exchanging one list for another. I think the discernment of a parent in this matter is a more dynamic, on-going affair. Again, I am not suggesting that the author would answer in the affirmative to my questions but that was how that section of the book read to me.

Okay, that was longer than I meant it to be. Overall, it is a good book, worth reading.

Having an Open Mind

I think the general population sees having an open mind as being tolerant, accepting, and saying anything goes. I think that has just about been accomplished now. Almost nothing I see surprises me, and little shocks. In terms of "conservative" and "liberal", the liberal veiwpoint is seen as being openminded and the conservative view point as being closedminded. I tend to disagree.
I think it is much easier to just go with the flow and question nothing and allow everything. We all get to do exactly as we please that way and at least think we are in control and setting our own course of life. What I think is harder is to actually think through things. To actually consider what might be wrong or what might be right. I have actually had people tell me they don't want to think too hard about different topics because they know if they do then they will conclude to do or believe the opposite of their current position!!
Take abortion for starters...those who are pro-choice don't want to cast judgement on themselves or others. They insist it is the mother's right to choose. I find that interesting since God is the giver and creator of life, but let's assume you don't believe that to be true. What sort of things play into the pro-choice decision. Is it just the right to be able to do whatever you want without any consequences at all? Is it thinking about the actual process of an abortion? When you can miscarry in the first trimester and actually see the baby in its completeness, it is hard to argue that a fetus is not a baby? When you take time to learn that a second trimester abortion involves the ripping apart of body parts as they are extracted from the mother, can you call it anything but mutilation and death? When you take a pill that causes a spontaneous abortion and you discover the agony and pain that accompanies it as well as possible "passing" the baby intact, you know all too late that abortion is something cruel and unusual. Interestingly, many pro-choice people think they are protecting women and their rights, but what they might not realize is the pain, agony, and sorrow that follows most abortions. The regret, the guilt, and the horror can almost be too much to bear. I think it would be more open-minded to think of just what an abortion does to a woman. Once it is done, it can't be taken back. So maybe those who think those who are pro-life are so close-minded might realize that our minds are wide open. Wide open to the truth of what abortion really is and the hurt and the sorrow that it causes. My prayer would be not only that those who are pro-choice would have their eyes, hearts and minds opened, but those of use that are pro-life would readily minister to and comfort those who ache from an abortion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jack and Creed do The Hokey Pokey

I can never capture just what I want on video, but it is pretty cute anyway. Here it is.

Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies

I really enjoyed this book by Marilyn McEntyre. It is her attempt to encourage us to preserve the vitality and precision of the spoken and written word in a time when language is being "depleted, polluted, contaminated, eroded, and filled with artificial stimulants". The book centers on her 12 strategies for stewarding language well. They are:

1. Love Words
2. Tell the Truth
3. Don't Tolerate Lies
4. Read Well
5. Stay in Conversation
6. Share Stories
7. Love the Long Sentence
8. Practice Poetry
9. Attend to Translation
10. Play
11. Pray
12. Cherish Silence

January 2010 Book Log

1. The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
2. Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll
3. Gospel Powered Parenting by William Farley
4. Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

Must pick up the pace if I want to reach my goal.