Sunday, August 05, 2007

Good stuff

I came across this post this morning that reflects so many of the thoughts that my husband and I have discussed over the past few years.

If you are a Christian parent, go read the article and the comments that followed, I promise it will get you thinking as it did me.
Here are a few quotes to get you interested:

"I've been stirred by an analogy about church that seems to fit with my current thoughts about parenting. I'm ruminating on what I call the "cult of protectionism" in our parenting. It seems it has become the job of every "perfect" parent to protect their children from every single evil thing in the world. Granted, it is our job to provide a safe home for our children. We should be wary of strangers. We should teach our children how to navigate this world. Of course. But sometimes I see parents parenting solely out of fear. They keep their children away from negative influences their entire lives, including their teenage years, because they're afraid their kids will be unduly influenced.So, the analogy and the stats are this. Apparently, there's a stat that 70% (ish) of kids who grow up in a Christian home stray from the faith when they hit college. Why? Because (in part) they've lived in an ..."


"Yeah, it's safer in that fishbowl, but is it serving our children? There is a place when our children are young, to protect them. But as they grow older, it is imperative we begin to introduce them to the real sea world out there. I know this is probably not a popular opinion. But I can say this: pioneer parents tend to swing to the other pendulum when raising their kids. If they grew up in a permissive home, they move toward a more controlling home and visa versa. We so long to see our children have the safety of a Christian home. But we need not aim too shortsightedly. Think of the long haul. Think of your children interacting with the world. And prepare them now. Teach them to swim in this crazy world. Maybe part of that teaching involves personal risk.
I wonder how many of us ALSO prefer to live insulated, safe lives in the fishbowl."

That last sentence really hit home with me. It's something that I definitely have a bent toward, and something that I have felt God leading me away from the past couple of years, though it definitely calls my name and beckons me to a world that feels safe and secure. Several years ago, I read through the gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) with fresh eyes, wanting to really see Jesus as the disciples did. It was a life changing experience for me. I was already a Christian, but the Jesus I found was so much more than I'd known before. He was strong, beautiful, focused, fearless, bold, the ultimate risk taker, and he called his followers to do the same. He turned the world system as they knew it upside down. Was I allowing Him to do the same in my life? Were we showing our kids to love Jesus in a radical way? Or were we teaching them to love safety and comfort and sameness above all else. I love the idea of keeping my kids safe, and pray for their safety all the time. At the same time, I want them to experience taking risks as God leads them and to see their parents doing the same.
God used Piper's adoption in a profound way in this regard. Pursuing her adoption meant risk. Everything in my nature fights risk taking. It was through that entire experience that I had to rely on God, pray earnestly, and trust. Just the thought of flying to the other other side of the world and leaving our kids home caused my stomach to turn. There were times when fear gripped me, and I had to fight to rest in Jesus and His strength and power. There were so many facets of the whole process that were completely out of my control. As it turned out, our time in China and adopting Piper were among the most exciting, wonderful times in my life. It was like God opened the door to whole new world for me. I felt Him say "Look what's out here, look what I am doing. I want you to be a part of this." Now I feel like that was just the beginning for us. I can't wait to see how God works through our family.
For some reason, I am bent toward finding my joy(and security) in comfort and safety and sameness. But those things never deliver.

It brings to mind this quote by Tim Keller on Idolatry in a Postmodern Culture:

"Sin isn't only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry."

And just in case you are still reading, here's another great post on the topic called, Shelter is not a place:


Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hi Dena,

I love your take on the fishbowl parenting idea (that is one of my favorite posts from Mary DeMuth!).

I do think it is more comfortable for us to look at God as our comforting, cozy shelter, rather than the mighty warrior who is strong in battle of the Psalms and the hymns of our forefathers. The idea of risk is scary, but "underneath are the everlasting arms." It is awesome to see how He catches us, isn't it?

BTW, thanks for visiting me so I could get to know you here - you have a lovely family, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you more!

JMom said...

This is a great post!