Category Archives: Family | Parenting

Your Child’s Humanity & Obedience — Four Questions

If we were spoken to by a superior–at work, church, public–in the way that many parents (superiors) speak to their children, we would decry justice. While it is true your child should obey your commands. Perhaps before you command anything you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this command beneficial to the child?
  2. Is this command unnecessarily burdensome to the child?
  3. Is this command taking into account the child’s fatigue or emotions?
  4. Am I listening to my child’s cries, or am I speaking over them?

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The Pendulum’s Tether

This is not a pendulum swing back to child-centered parenting. Rather, it is a reorientation of the very tether of the pendulum.

I am untying it from man and moving the center to God. We need to do our parenting with reference to God. Remember, Mom and Dad, you lead as one under authority. You tell this child come and he comes. You tell that one goes and he goes. And yet, you are not worthy to have the Lord come under your roof. These children are gifts to you. Take your eyes off the temporal problem found in the horizontal and lift your eyes up to be reminded of your leadership and authority under the gaze of God.

There will be times that our commands need to be obeyed merely because we are telling our child to do them. I got caught up in the need to explain “why” every time I asked my daughter to do something. When your child asks “Why?” you are not obligated to give a detailed answer. Sometimes the answer “Mommy said so” is sufficient. This response, however, must always be set in the context of your love and care for your child. In other words, the child needs to hear you say: “God is good and in control of everything. He has given you Mommy and Daddy in order to protect you and provide for you. We want you to obey us because it is good for you. You may not understand now, but please know that we love you and everything will not always make sense right now–and maybe not even later.” You don’t have to say the extended version every time, but your children need to know that the shorthand form–”Mommy said so”–summarizes the longer form.

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The Art of Marriage

I am so excited about this project Family Life has been laboring toward for a couple years now. This is something that will bless the church tremendously and deepen couples’ walks with Christ in ways we can only dream of!

A wonderful snip on anger in marriage below:

http://mediasuite.multicastmedia.com/player.php?v=f33lpem8

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Parent-Centered Parenting: Reflections from a Park

A corrective to some parenting perspectives. Some of us have been taught that our worlds are not meant to revolve around our children. While this is true, oftentimes the pendulum is swung in the wrong direction.

It is detrimental to the growth of our children to let our worlds revolve around them–thus creating self-worshipers. It is, HOWEVER, also wrong for us to demand our children revolve around our worlds.

I was sitting on a bench in a park while I heard a distressed mother scream to her two-year-old, “Eat!” A few minutes passed by: “Sit down and eat your food!” The father steps in out of guilt and stands over his child and says, “Eat!” By the sound of it, you would think they were trying to get him to eat some poison or gruel that would kill him. They were demanding that he eat his pb & j. He didn’t want to. It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon. This child should probably be napping somewhere. Not eating lunch! The parents are right: that the child should eat his lunch. BUT they have failed to care for their child. They are not listening to the child.They are demanding with little or no reference to the child’s needs. As a relatively new parent myself (I have a four year-old), this has been a rough learning curve for me. How much do I demand? Is it wrong to demand obedience? I know that it is right for my children to obey me. But I take issue with parents who give little or no thought to the humanity of their children. Their children are often talked to like animals–as though a one word command is all that is required on their part as a parent.

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Connecting Church & Family

Southern Seminary had a conference on how and why it promotes what has been coined the “family-equipping” model of ministry. This video is of Dr. Mohler giving some broad strokes for the model and te current cultural crisis which has made it that much more vital that the Church be about equipping parents to shepherd their children.

Of particular importance is the fact that we assume too often that Christian parents are going to know how to parent in a biblical way. The problem is that the parents in our congregations have not had modeled for them how to parent in a way that honors Jesus. Underneath are my rough notes on the talk. The four implications he offers at the end are worth the time to think about. With all of the parenting literature that is out there, too often we have equated faithfulness to a certain method with the biblical method. Thus, we have camps of parenting affinity groups. There is something wrong when someone believes Baby Wise or Rosemond or Tripp are the Gospel–insofar that they bicker with those in “opposing” camps.

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NOTES:

In some ways it is a tragedy that we are having a conference to connect something that should have never gotten disconnected–namely, the family and the church.

  1. 1 Peter 5.1ff
    1. As Peter ends his letter, the tone becomes very sober. He turns his attention to the elders of the church.
    2. Peter has no specific context he is writing to. It is a general epistle; it is full of expectations that are normal and healthy for the church at-large. This is what “normal” in a church ought to look like.
  2. Younger are to give deference to the older people.
    1. There is a proper ordering in the church
    2. This is a sign of humility
  3. We have to remember that we do have an enemy
    1. Those who fail to recognize this are the most likely to be devoured
    2. “Normal” is that there will be a battle
    3. This battle is the background to our parenting and ministry
    4. Those things that are devoured
      1. Families
      2. Homes
      3. Congregations
      4. Leadership
    5. It is an act of great danger if we are not aware of this truth
    6. See Ephesians 5
      1. Paul’s discussion of spiritual warfare in chapter 6 is on the heels of chapter 5, which discusses the family.
    7. Since the family is on the frontlines, it is a primary target for Satan to devour and divide
  4. We have to admit something that is difficult to admit
    1. We have to be better parents than our parents
      1. This is not a denigrate what our parents have done.
      2. Rather, it draws attention to the fact that our contemporary culture is averse to the family unit.
        1. There used to be a a network of support for our parents in our culture.
        2. If Mom A did not know something, and Mom B knew, Mom B would call Mom A to tell her the wayward son’s actions
        3. Television hosted family-friendly shows (Leave It to Beaver, Dragnet, etc) instead of sexually explicit shows (Desperate Housewives, Modern Family, etc)
      3. Parents have to be more aware than parents in the past
      4. “The family has been stripped of all its functions” — Peter Berger
      5. Due to technology, children are not talking on the phone (in the plain hearing of their parents), but are sending covert text messages (with no parental supervision)
  5. Much of the research (from Soul Searching) has shown that a child’s spiritual growth requires parents

Four Implications:

1. Church must present a faithful and vibrant vision for parenting; and it must teach and equip them how to do this

a. Most of the parents in our congregations were not parented

b. The Church has to educate parents who did not have the proper, biblical model for parenthood

2. Church must overcome the zone of privacy and personal autonomy (held dear by our culture) that separates believers from accountability and fellowship

a. We have got to get in each other’s space

b. Our spheres belong to Christ and not us

c. When a marriage is not what it should be, the Church MUST step in and help

3. The Church has got to be a place where brokenness is overcome by the Gospel and the fellowship of the saints

a. We undermine the Gospel when we say that Christianity can only be experienced by non-brokenness

b. This brokenness demonstrates the glory of Christ

4. The Church has to be a place where the family (specifically) and Christians (generally) is rescued and armed for the combat to which we are called

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Where Are All the Good Man-sites?

I was talking with my wife yesterday about biblical manhood and woman. There are so many good sites for women to visit to learn about biblical womanhood (list below), but when it comes to living biblically as a man, you will have a hard time.

Theology sites abound. And, sure, there are posts sprinkled about that have topics on leading your family and such. But where can a man go that wants to learn about what it means to be a man? I found one site – and it was pretty pathetic and full of sarcasm. Sure, there are numerous books about how to be a warrior, a poet, a lumberjack, an Eastwood-wanna-be – but few books give me Bible and put me under its teaching. Fail.

I decided I want to begin writing a little more on this topic as a help to those men who want to consider and learn what it means to be a Christian man.

This is a need that needs to be filled. Why don’t we open up this new avenue for OffTheWire by having you put some sites you have found helpful for being a man, biblically. Maybe we can help get some resources together.

Biblical Womanhood Blogs (this is an open list, so if you have others to add, please put in Comments):

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Help My Denial!

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IN the latest Towers paper for Southern Seminary, Jeff Robinson asks Tripp about his anthropological view.

He asks: Why do Christians so often get the doctrine of man wrong? Don’t you think we often overestimate our own holiness and in so doing, we underestimate our need for God’s grace?

Tripp’s response: It is very hard for me to embrace that what I see in the mirror of the Word of God is actually me. I think that much of evangelicalism is people looking into the mirror and denying what they actually see. I think that’s a huge struggle.

I lived for years in my marriage as an angry man and I was deeply persuaded that the problem in my marriage was a wife who was discontent. The reality was that the Bible elaborately described what I was struggling with, but I couldn’t believe that it was me. I was so convinced that I was better than I actually was. . . . There is something dramatically wrong with me (emphasis added).

How true is it that when we are confronted by sin from our spouse, our first reaction is disbelief or blame shifting? We do not assume FIRST that we are in the wrong. If we had a healthy view of ourselves, we would start there and then look for external issues that would contribute to our attitudes and words.

This is what Augustine was primarily concerned with in his Confessions. He writes regarding his former life with the Manichees:

In Rome I did not part company with those would-be saints, who were such frauds both to themselves and to others. . . . I still thought that it was not we who sin but some other nature that sins within us. It flattered my pride to think that I incurred no guilt and, when I did wrong, not to confess it so that you might bring healing to a soul that had sinned against you. I preferred to excuse myself and blame this unknown thing which was in me but was not part of me.The truth, of course, was that it was all my own self, and my own impiety had divided me against myself. My sin was all the more incurable because I did not think myself a sinner. It was abominable wickedness to prefer to defeat your ends and lose my soul rather than submit to you and gain salvation.  [Confessions 5.10]

And so may we not be accused of committing abominable sins, but may we be quick to confess our sin and save our soul.

{Entire Tripp Interview in .pdf}

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