(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What is the real danger to children? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Recently, I wrote about the hysteria that comes whenever any new piece of technology comes out. It’s always argued that this will lead to the children being corrupted. The reality comes and goes and there’s no major change. Most of us look at what happened with comic books in the past as silly today. Odds are years from now today’s fear will seem silly.
But yet, no one can deny that children are being hurt. Yes. We do have problems with children committing violence and we do have problems with sexual promiscuity in children. Children often do drugs and children struggle with suicide, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide.
It’s really easy to blame this on the surrounding culture. It’s comic books! It’s TV! It’s movies! It’s music! It’s smartphones! It’s video games! It’s the internet! I am not denying that some of these can play a part, but there is something far more influential that comes beforehand that if this gets wrong, the others are far more likely to be hazardous to children. If this gets right, they are far less likely to be hazardous.
What children most need right is a stable family.
By this also, I mean that children living with a mother and a father both, and preferably their own biological parents. I realize that sometimes this can’t happen. I have a wonderful friend who’s a widower raising children on her own which is wonderful. A cause like being widowed suddenly due to a tragedy often cannot be helped.
Technically on my end, my sister is my step-sister as we have the same mother, but my mother left an abusive marriage and remarried my father and I come from that one, but my Dad has never treated my sister like any less of his own flesh and blood. I never got preferential treatment growing up that way. You could ask my sister and she would say the same thing.
Today, divorce is often prevalent because if the parents aren’t happy, well surely the children aren’t. Often, with a bad divorce, it doesn’t change the happiness of the children. Sometimes what they want most is their parents to work matters out and it can set the path for them to do the same.
If anyone thinks that’s what happened on my end, no. You can ask most anyone and I fought tooth and nail for my marriage and this was even when wise people told me I should seek divorce. I always said no. If it ended, it would be on her end, but I also told her when she was telling me she was going to divorce that I didn’t want her to do that, but if she sent me papers I would sign them. I wasn’t going to hold her hostage or anything.
Children can wrestle with abandonment over divorce and issues of trust. One reason I am sure of this personally besides my own reading on the topic is I am 42 and divorced and I still wrestle with this as a result of my divorce. It’s far harder when you’re a child who doesn’t have a fully developed cognitive faculty to know how to handle this or a whole worldview behind it. I remember the story of a man in his senior years who at the age of five had his Dad kill himself and he still wondered why his Dad didn’t want him.
Don’t think that just having the right parents is all that matters either. No. Invest in your children. If your children are engaging in media you think is harmful, talk to them about it. Find out why they like it. What are they really gaining out of it?
Don’t think also that if you’re in ministry, you can bypass this. You can’t. Some people can be so committed to ministry that they fail to be committed to their own families. I hate saying it, but Billy Graham was even like this. There’s an account of how he left his wife behind sick once because he had to preach somewhere. If children think your ministry matters more to you than they do, they are more prone to resent your ministry and the God that ministry is about.
Children need to be invested in. We can often think that if we take them to church every Sunday, which we should, then we’re okay, but it needs to be more. Christianity needs to be lived in the home. It needs to be shown. Christians need to do actions that will speak love to their children.
If this is actively going on, you have far less to be concerned about with the media around them. I have been in the world of video games since I was in kindergarten, and yet I have never had a violent streak or anything like that. I was a virgin until I married and will be one, God willing, until I marry again. I never use profanity and I have never had a drug problem. I have struggled with anxiety and depression, but overall, my upbringing has been very helpful for me.
Also, if you are someone alone raising a child, get them involved with someone who can be a role model of their own sex. If you are a man raising daughters, find a woman who is a role model for them and vice-versa for a woman raising sons. Let them know how they are to be.
Your children are yours and they are to be a great investment. You will be the greatest influence on their life. Use it well.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
How important is a Christian education to a child? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I recently read J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity in Conflict. This is being read for school and if I read something for school, I don’t really want to do a book plunge on it for the most part. Machen in his day was one of the most influential New Testament scholars and was revolutionary here in America.
Machen wrote about the virgin birth, which I do affirm, especially and so much that even a 100 years later, we’re still talking about what he wrote. He was a man of great learning and one of the great Princeton Theologians. He also went and studied abroad in Germany.
The book is largely an autobiography of his and he does touch lightly on the education he got in the secular schools growing up, but if there’s one aspect of his life that was influential on him remaining a strong Christian, it was his parents. His parents were devout Christians and also very learned Christians. His father was a lawyer who in his 80’s started learning Italian and reading Italian authors just for the fun of it. I don’t think as much was said about his mother, but her character shone through and through.
Both of them encouraged Machen to read and learn and both of them encouraged him to ask questions. They were not people who shied away from doubts and Machen did often times have doubts. However, as time goes by, he gets more and more help in getting a higher education, but one can see throughout his life, the great influence his parents had.
When he studied abroad in Germany, he was not in a conservative environment at all. He was in one where he was challenged every day and yet, he held on and argued his case well and read all he could of his opponents. What really helped him so much? The preparation he had at the feet of his parents.
Christian parents. This is for you. Please never lose sight of the influence that you can have on your children. For all you know, you could have another Machen growing up in your household.
That means that you do take them to church regularly, but don’t just do that. Educate them in your home. Make Christianity something you live seven days a week and not just on church days. Do not be afraid of your kids having questions and if you don’t know the answer, go and find it.
I am sure some atheist readers could say something about indoctrination, but the reality is I expect most parents will somehow raise their children up with their values. I suspect Muslim parents, Mormon parents, Jewish parents, and atheist parents all do this. You don’t really want to force your kids, but if what you believe about ultimate reality really matters to you, you will pass that on to your children.
If you’re wondering some on how to do that, I have a resource for you. I recommend you check my friend Elizabeth Urbanowics’s program Foundation Worldview. Her work is aimed to help extremely young children start to learn about the Bible and how to think and about what it means to be a Christian.
Raise your children well. Welcome their doubts and questions. Be there to support them. Our world is not a safe place and you will have more influence than anyone else.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Rebekah Merkle’s book published by Canon Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I saw a quote from this book, and I do not recall which one it was, and I immediately went to Amazon to see if I could order it. Turns out, I had already ordered it. So off I went to find it in my Kindle library and enjoy it.
The main point of this book is how feminism has destroyed femininity. The #1 area that this is talked about in is in the area of being a wife and how being a mother is seen as a sort of letdown in life. Yeah. You could go off and have a career and make a lot of money and build up a name and do something good for the world, or you could become a mother. It’s as if being a mother is a lesser position. After all, all you’re doing is bringing a new human being into the world that could spend eternity in the presence of God.
The sad part is some people will then think that Merkle is automatically against women working at all and wants all women to be in the kitchen making their husbands sandwiches while pregnant. Not at all. Merkle never forbids a woman getting a job or an education or anything like that, but she does say to make sure your family comes first.
She also gives a history of feminism and who the major players have been in it. They weren’t Christians for sure. At the start, there were a lot of noble intentions, but it has gone more and more downhill so much so that feminism is often anti-feminine. However, there is a mistake conservatives can make.
Our mistake is we can look back on the past and think the 50’s were a paradise and have an Ozzie and Harriet type of family. Part of the problem was women were too complacent as technology was more and more doing everything for us and there was that desire to go out into the world and do more. We could say women wanted to be a lot more like men.
Merkle regularly makes it clear in the book that she is writing to Christian women and assumes her audience is female, which is fine, but men should read this too to understand feminism better. As she says in the end, most all of our negative major events have been led by women. Abortion? Women. Redefining marriage? Women. Transgenderism? Women. Now guess who’s being replaced in sports? Yep. Women.
If there is one more thing I would like to see in this book, it would have been more on how if women are to be wives and mothers and display the beauty of God in their lives, how should they relate to their husbands? Perhaps Merkle will write another book someday focusing on this on how the feminist movement has damaged marriage as well and how women are the worse off for it.
Either way, this book is a good book every woman should read and it couldn’t hurt the man to read it. Want to have a good book for a women’s Bible study at your church? Go with this one.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Was a Jewish family the victim of hatred? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In a news story, a Jewish Couple went to Holston United Methodist Home for Children. They applied to adopt a child, but they were turned down because of their Jewish faith. Immediately, the conclusion was hatred and discrimination. Is this what’s really going on? Is the home anti-Semitic?
No, actually. Let’s suppose a family came that was Messianic Jewish and this included being Jewish by birth. They had come to embrace Jesus as the Messiah and agreed with the statement of faith of Holston. Would they get to adopt? Yes.
It’s not about being Jewish in the sense of genetic, but about is the child going to be raised in a home where their spiritual needs will be met, including being raised to believe in Jesus. The Holston group doesn’t want them to be put in a family where they will be told something false about Jesus and risk having their soul be lost forever. Whatever you might think of their actions, that is not a bad motive.
Now some secularists might complain, but that is misunderstanding the way a religious faith operates. Meeting the material needs is good, but meeting the spiritual needs is absolutely essential. A Christian organization cannot in good conscience deny such needs.
Suppose it was a Jewish organization that wanted to insist children be adopted into the Jewish faith and would not let anyone who believes Jesus is the Messiah or disbelieves in God adopt a child. That is their freedom. Suppose a Muslim organization didn’t want to give a child to a family that denied that Muhammad was a prophet. That was their freedom. Suppose an atheist organization didn’t want to have a child placed in the home of a crazy religious fanatic. That is their freedom. No adoption agency is obligated to give you a child because you want one.
This is also not denying that the families could be good and loving families. It is just saying that the belief system is the most important aspect. Rightly or wrongly, that is how it is and Holston should not be forced to act within their statement of faith.
In another link about this story, there is an interesting quote.
“The Tennessee Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, promises religious freedom and equality for everyone. Tennessee is reneging on that promise by allowing a taxpayer-funded agency to discriminate against Liz and Gabe Rutan-Ram because they are Jews,” said Alex J. Luchenitser, associate vice president and associate legal director at Americans United. “Laws like House Bill 836 must not stand when they allow religion to be used to harm vulnerable kids and people like Liz and Gabe who want to provide those children with safe and loving homes.”
It’s amazing that within the first two sentences, Luchenitser contradicts himself. The Tennessee Constitution promises religious freedom. Then he says because of that, the Holston agency cannot turn down a couple because they are Jews. However, that is part of the religious freedom of Holston, to see that children are raised in Christian homes.
No one’s religious freedom is being denied except for Holston’s honestly. They are being told they have to put a child with a family even if it goes against their statement of faith. The Jews are allowed to be Jews still and there are plenty of other organizations they can adopt from.
I’m also unsure what is meant by religious equality? Is this saying that all religions are equal? All one needs to do is study them to see that isn’t the case. Is it saying that all religious beliefs don’t matter? That’s something the state should have no say on. What it is doing now is essentially saying “Yes, Holston. We understand you think a child needs to be raised in an environment where they can grow up to embrace Jesus, but we don’t think that matters and you must agree with us.” The people complaining that Holston is discriminating are wanting to push a discrimination of their own actually.
In reality, discrimination is to some degree unavoidable. We all do it. We all have to do it. If I drive somewhere and I don’t think the area is safe, I lock my doors. (I do that anyway, but I definitely make sure my car is locked if I think there’s danger.) When we choose where to go to school or who to marry or who to babysit the kids, we discriminate. A person could show up at your door and say “I want to babysit your kids for you” and you have no obligation to let them do it.
Imagine being an atheist and hearing someone wants to tutor your elementary school children. Okay. You might be interested. Then you hear that they’re a young-earth creationist who wants to teach them science. Do you accept that? Are you being discriminating if you say no? Are you denying a child an education?
The problem with a story like this is it pulls at emotional heartstrings way too easily and most of us think on how we feel about the story instead of how the story is. When you hear the story, it’s too easy to assume anti-semitism at the start. When you look, it makes sense why Holston is doing this, and you could think they are wrong in their beliefs and/or actions still, but I would hope you would at least understand it.
Also, whatever faith you are or lack of faith you are, remember that as soon as the state takes a side on any religion whatsoever, they could just as well do the same to you. Do I want the state to determine that all atheist households are unfit homes and no one can let a child be adopted into one? No. I want every organization to have the freedom to choose who they want the child to adopt to barring some physical exceptions, such as registered sex offenders definitely can’t adopt.
Some have said the state should cease funding the Holston Home. If they want to, they are free to do so. The state can tell them that unless they adopt to all, then they can’t get federal funding. I don’t think I agree with that, but the state doesn’t owe them anything. Technically, we could even say it should be up to the state taxpayers since they are the ones who are providing the state with the money anyway.
There is no doubt this is a complicated issue hinging on personal and religious freedom. One thing to avoid is accusations of moral turpitude. I can understand why the Jewish family wants to adopt. I can understand why Holston only wants to adopt to Christians as is clear from statements on their website.
That’s also the first step in resolving this. Truly understanding where everyone is coming from.
Too bad we never seem to get to that step.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What was a big mistake in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekkah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We’re quite sure Isaac loved Rebekkah. Even when he was lying and saying she was his sister, he was caught in public showing husbandly affection to her. When she was not having children, Isaac prayed for her and she conceived. However, after the children came, that’s when trouble came.
The mistake each of them made was that they each had a favorite. Isaac favored Esau who was into more of the things that would be deemed manly and Rebekkah favored Jacob who was more of a homebody and today we would likely consider a Momma’s Boy. This is always a recipe for disaster.
As someone doing online dating, I wonder when I see women whose profiles say that their children will always be #1. Really? Does that mean that if I married you, your children would come first? Husbands and wives are to love their children, to be sure, but the spouse must come before the children and be the first priority.
As the story progresses, we see where this leads. Jacob becomes a trickster who lives up to his name that means deceiver. He ends up tricking Esau out of his birthright, but then the situation gets worse. He apparently inherited this deception from his mother who not only helped Jacob secure the blessing, she did so by being an accomplice to Jacob in tricking her own husband.
Let’s also mention that Isaac was going blind at the time. Rebekkah decided that she would take advantage of her own husband’s disability and incapacity to see and use it to get her favored son what he wanted and what she wanted for him. Nothing is said here about any love that she has towards Esau. In her mind now, it’s okay to neglect him because she has to make sure that her favorite is taken care of.
Today, the same mistake can be made. If a couple gets married, no matter how many children they have, the children should not become the focus of the marriage. After all, you’re not raising those children to hold on to them forever. You’re going to let them go out into the world at some point. Someday, you are going to have an empty nest and what are you going to do then? Your spouse will be a stranger at that point.
One of the best ways you can actually bless your children is by showing a deep love for your spouse. Don’t be afraid to kiss in front of them or show affection and when they get older and you send them to their grandparents for date night and the older kids know what that means, that’s okay. What you are doing in this is modeling a biblical marriage for your children where they will learn how to love their future spouse and how to be loved by their future spouse.
Kids are a gift, but don’t let them become a means of separation and that can easily happen by making them the focus. They are to be a focus, but your first duty in marriage is to your spouse. Don’t replace them.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Oprah’s message on divorce? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We have been going through the story of the Bible to see what it says on divorce and marriage, but I’m going to interrupt that again to talk about Oprah some. Oprah recently interviewed the popular singer Adele. I didn’t bother watching because I don’t care for Oprah or Adele, but I did see Rebecca McLaughlin share a tweet about what happened in this interview.
Yes. What a great message this is. Women. If you are not 100% happy in your marriage, then you need to know you can get a divorce.
I can’t imagine that her husband feels the same way. Of course, I did see something that indicates he might have got a lot of money from the deal, but that might not matter. Many of us would gladly give up money to get love.
The couple also has one child together, a son named Angelo, who was born before the couple even married, big surprise there. As of now, Angelo is nine. The couple married in 2016 and divorced in 2019.
However, here a few lines from this interview about the divorce. See if you notice any common theme.
“I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy,” she told journalist Abby Aguirre.
“Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved,” she continued. “It’s really important to me I’ve been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since.”
“Meanwhile, she told Giles Hattersley in British Vogue that she and Konecki “kept their split “to ourselves for a very long time. “We had to take our time because there was a child involved. I’d trust him with my life. I definitely chose the perfect person to have my child with. That – after making a lot of knee-jerk reactions — is one of my proudest things I’ve ever done,” she explained.”
“That said, Adele has had a hard time reconciling the fact that their divorce affected their son. “If I can reach the reason why I left, which was the pursuit of my own happiness, even though it made Angelo really unhappy — if I can find that happiness and he sees me in that happiness, then maybe I’ll be able to forgive myself for it,” she said of the family dynamic.”
It’s not hard to miss the common theme. I, myself, me, etc. Adele is all about what she wants here. The last quote is the saddest. Angelo is unhappy. The child is the worst victim in all of this and many children of divorce grow up to blame themselves for it. In what could be some self-realization, at least Adele seems to have some clue that she did something wrong, well if he can eventually come to see her as being happy, then all will be okay. After all, he needs to see her being loved.
Oh sure. She wants him to see her really love, but she hasn’t done a great start by destroying her own first marriage. If anything, she has sent Angelo a powerful message. Love is temporary. You can’t put your total trust in anyone. People will break your heart. Marriage is not meant to be a lifelong covenant. The focus of marriage is supposed to be your happiness.
If Angelo can’t even trust his own mother, who can he trust?
Now Oprah instead looks at this and sees this as an empowering message for women. Here you go women! Here’s your power! If your man isn’t making you 100% happy, then by golly, go ahead and destroy that relationship because the purpose of the man in marriage is to make you happy and the reason you marry a man is to make you happy.
Now to some extent, we do marry for our happiness. However, it is a different happiness. We are happy making the other person happy. We marry not just so we can be loved by the other person, which is a gift indeed, but so that we can love the other person.
Also, unless you’re talking about Jesus Christ, no one can make you 100% happy and when we are not 100% happy in Jesus, the flaw is not in Him. It is in us. If Adele was not happy, she should have asked herself “Why am I not happy?” She could have instead gone on to ask “What can I do to make my husband and son happy?” and found joy in that. She instead said “I don’t care about your happiness. I only care about my own.”
The article states that she is dating Lebron James’s agent, Rich Paul, now. If Rich is a smart man, he will leave right now. If she did it to her first husband, there’s no reason to think she won’t do it to you. Adele has already shown she is all about her and believe it or not, really passionate sex, while good, is not going to seal the deal on a covenant. If anything, both people could just be using each other. I can’t speak for Rich since I don’t know anything about him, but I think we’ve already seen what Adele is like.
Speaking as a man wrongfully divorced, I can easily say Oprah’s message is a horrible message. It does not empower women one bit. If anything, it makes them more victims. Oprah is telling them that their happiness is dependent on the man that they are married to. Why can’t they find happiness in how they love that man more? Sure, the man is to bring her happiness and a good man will want to, but if a woman is not happy, the first person to look at is herself.
Please keep in mind I am having in mind a normal marriage here also. A marriage involving abuse and infidelity is a completely different animal. There are cases of rightful divorce. I was told before that I could have easily filed for divorce. Even an Orthodox priest told me that. In my case, it was my ex-wife who filed for the divorce.
No one should listen to Oprah on anything related to morality. Actually, we could cut out “related to morality” and it would still be a true sentence. Unfortunately, Oprah is the high priest of our culture and having a lasting impact on it. What she says here fits in just fine with an anti-family agenda that many people have today.
Oprah is creating more narcissistic women like Adele. These women might be able to provide men temporary joy in sexual passion, but they sure won’t be the wives that they will find joy in. They sure won’t be the mothers that their sons and daughters can admire. Sons won’t want to marry a woman like their Mom and daughters won’t want to be like their Mom, at least let’s hope they won’t!
It is often said that if you want change, be the change. Now that would be an empowering message for women. Tell women they have the power to bring joy and happiness into a marriage even if it seems dead. They have the power to fight for the promise that they made to their spouse and to show their children what a loving family is to be like. If a woman leaves a husband just because of her own happiness though, it will happen again with the next guy. Marriage is not about living for yourself. It is about dying to yourself and living for the good of those beyond yourself.
Men. Stay away from Adele and women like her. Women. Don’t be like her and don’t bother listening to Oprah please. There are plenty of good and godly women you can listen to instead. Show Oprah and Adele what real women are supposed to be like and how they are truly powerful.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What was the point of concubines? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Our next look will be further ahead at the life of Abraham as we study what the Bible says about marriage. Abraham is told by God that he will have a son through him he will bless the world. I had a pastor once who said you can picture Abraham going home that evening, turning on some Barry Manilow, and telling Sarah that they had to do their part in faithfulness to the promise of God.
Yet despite whatever might have happened, that promise didn’t seem to be being fulfilled. So Sarah decided she needed to help God fulfill the promise. Isn’t that nice of her? Technically, God had said Abraham would have a child. That doesn’t have to be through Sarah. Here. Take my concubine Abraham and have your way with her and let the promise come through her.
Now in the biblical account, this doesn’t end well. Some people claim that Ishmael’s descendants became the Arabs and that led to Islam, but I don’t know if we have any hard data on that one so I won’t accept it now, but there was still enmity many times between the Ishmaelites and the Israelites. The home life at the start was also disrupted as Ishmael was hardly friendly to Isaac.
But why would God allow concubines?
Something we see in Scripture is that people fell and they fell and often seemed to hit rock bottom immediately. God is a gentle teacher and sees that they are progressing so He allows certain borderline practices that He does not consider ideal as they go on their journey. I consider Israelite slavery to be better than the surrounding nations, but still a practice God tolerated but never considered ideal.
We also need to keep in mind that in those days, infant mortality was high. Not only could children die at a young age, before the advent of better medicine, but mothers could also often die in childbirth. That can still happen today, but normally, expectant mothers don’t worry that they will die in the delivery room as they are giving birth.
In those cases, it was often thought that this was a way of keeping the wife alive and increasing the number of children that could come about. Later in the history of Judah, we will see, for example, that Joash is given two wives when he becomes king, which makes sense since most of the Davidic line had been wiped out by his grandmother, even if it wasn’t ideal.
Does this constitute a change in marriage? No. You still have the man-woman unit being central. What we do see is the numerous problems that develop. Fortunately for Hagar, Sarah’s concubine, the story works out for her. After all, she is the innocent party and was just doing what she had been told, although there was the exception of her possibly being rude to Sarah. God indeed blesses her and she is actually the first person in Scripture to see the angel of the Lord specifically.
Concubines will show up later throughout the text, but there is no need to discuss their role further, though we will mention at times when they show up.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Is there more for Christians to talk about than Heaven. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
It’s the time of year where Vacation Bible School is going on and the emphasis is to try to get children to make a decision to follow Jesus. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with how it is done and what we are telling them. We get them in the classroom and then we tell them that they need to accept Jesus to make sure that they can go to Heaven when they die.
I do realize that tragedies can happen and children can die. From my class of 99 in high school, we have already had a few deaths. Some were to suicide and at least one was to a car crash. It happens. However, if we were betting on the odds, we would say that these kids are likely to live a few more decades.
And we’re to tell the youngest among us that the goal of life to focus on is to focus on what will happen to them decades in the future?
What do they do now? Why are they here for these decades that they have? What is the point of living?
Our “Christian” influence would have them think that the only point of life is what happens when you die. They need to know this life matters. Christ told us that He came that we might have life and have it in abundance. There’s no indication that He meant that you will have that life when you die. One of the fruit of the Spirit we are to have now is joy. Nothing indicates that you will have joy when you die, but you won’t in this life.
What are we teaching children about the hear and now? Eternal life doesn’t begin in Christianity just when you die. It begins when you trust Jesus right now. You are to begin holy living right now. Are we teaching the children about the resurrection of Jesus, or is that doctrine only a means to talk about Heaven? Are we teaching them about holy living now, especially when they will face temptation in the future and bluntly, our children will especially face sexual temptation in the near future? Are they ready for that?
This isn’t just for the kids either. We do this with adults. Adults are taught intentionally or unintentionally that the whole goal of Christianity is to get to Heaven. They are not taught about the hear and now. The overwhelming majority of people I fear could tell you about Heaven but they will also confuse that with the Kingdom of Heaven. They don’t realize the Kingdom of Heaven is a teaching for here and now.
If this is the case, we should not be surprised if people aren’t excited about their Christianity or know what to do with it. All they have to do here is to be a “good person” because we know that absolutely no one else in society has that goal at all. For many, it’s like this life is just a sort of trial run and the real purpose of life comes when you die. This life isn’t a trial run, but it is a trial in a sense and it is here we determine if we are really focused on the matters of God or not.
So what do we teach children? I am not saying don’t teach them about Heaven and I am not saying don’t teach them to live good lives. Teach them why. We are to live holy lives here because Jesus came and by His death and resurrection revealed Himself to be God’s King. We are to live our lives as servants of the King and how we live them will reflect how we see the King and in turn how people will see the King through us.
Salvation is not a one-time decision. It is a lifetime. When you marry someone, you make a decision that you publicly announce at once, but it is a lifetime decision to be faithful and true to the person you have committed to. Why do you then go out and live a life of faithfulness to that person? It is not so that you will be married. You do it because you are married. In the same way, salvation is a decision made at one time, but it is also a lifetime decision. You don’t live a good life before the King because you want Him to take you to Heaven when you die. You do it because He is your King and it is not about what the King does for you, but it is about what you do for Him.
I would like to hope that someday the church will realize this, but I keep fearing that our future focus is getting us so caught that we don’t realize what we are to do in the present and we are not giving our young people anything different for the here and now than the world has. If anything, we feed into their individualism and selfish mindsets where the goal of Christianity is all about them and what happens when they die. Christianity is about every facet of your life, and that includes the here and now.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Are we robbing children of their childhood? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Over the weekend, I went to visit a friend for some dinner and gaming together. My friend’s wife was away for her job and one of his daughters was home with him who is ten years old. As we are having dinner, I don’t remember what led to it, but somehow, she started talking about pride month. She excused herself for some reason and I turned to him and said “I wouldn’t have been able to tell you a thing about homosexuality when I was ten years old.” Heck. Most of us were just then starting to learn the facts of life when I was that old. Today, I suspect many kindergarteners already know.
When I was ten, my great thought I had when coming home was what video game am I going to be going through today. Today, if kids need to be making difficult choices at all, it really should be something like “Which Pokemon is going to be my starter Pokemon?” Of course, some of us still ask that question today.
Kids are being raised now to take a side on certain issues when they don’t know enough about the sides to make an informed decision. A child’s youth should be spent on playing games and having fun and getting to enjoy being a kid, something that they can only do once. Why should we steal that from them?
Let’s be fair. It’s also not just pride month that is doing this. Heterosexuals are doing the same thing. What does it do when we see ads with women pretty much in their underwear on TV during shows that kids could be watching with parents? Imagine a kid riding with his parents in the car hearing radio ads and saying “Mom. What’s erectile dysfunction?”
C.S. Lewis once wrote about a book called The Green Book by him in his book The Abolition of Man. His first chapter in it was called Men Without Chests. No. He is not referring to guys like myself who are physically small. He has something different in mind.
Lewis wrote about a boy and his dad walking together and seeing a beautiful waterfall and the boy saying it was sublime. The authors want it to be known that there is no such thing as a sublime waterfall. Instead, the boy feels small compared to the waterfall and says it’s sublime, but he is really making a statement about his personal feelings and not about the waterfall.
Lewis said the boy learned very little English that day, but he learned a lot of philosophy. He was drafted to take a side in a war he didn’t even know was going on. If we extend this further, it will be a world where we all go by feelings alone and those feelings are really just glands secreting juices in us and there’s no ultimate reality out there to them. It would lead to moral relativity eventually. The result then would be a generation of men without chests, no heart.
Now we have gone a different route where we listen to our feelings on everything and children are told to trust their feelings. Hardly good advice. Now instead of a generation of men without chests, we have a generation of women without chests where women are having top surgery to remove their breasts not because there is something unhealthy about them, but because they want to think they’re really men. That is not a decision that can really be reversed. Oh you can make something with plastic surgery, but it’s not the same as the real thing with several intricate nerves.
Kids are being told to try to find their gender identity and being enlisted in the battle the adults are having. None of us need to really be doing this. If we have to teach them ideas, teach them on a child’s level. A child in Sunday School does not need to be learning adult lessons on sexuality. Start off with basic truths that you want to teach them and then proportion it as they get older. The number one thing we need to teach any child though in all of this is how to think. We spend too much time teaching them what to think instead.
While many of us in debates on Facebook and other places will have our sides and debate them vigorously, I hope we can agree that we really should be keeping the children out of it. Let them grow up and make their decisions in the proper time, but let’s not steal their childhood from them to meet our own desires. Children only have one shot at being children. Let them have that.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)