Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sin on a Bun

I am working on a couple of posts right now but I came across this post by Joe Carter today that deserves a few minutes perusal and reflection. He blogs on the forgotten vice of gluttony. Check this quote to whet your appetite (pun intended).

Gluttony was once listed among the seven deadly sins. But now it's considered, when it's thought about at all, as a private health matter. We may realize that overeating has led to weight gain, a change in appearance, or diminished health. But we never recognize it as a spiritual problem.

Oddly enough, with the exception of those related to sex, American Christians tend to take an antinomian view of "physical sins." We act as if corrupting our bodies will have no impact on our souls. Such an un-Biblical view, however, must be rejected by anyone who acknowledges that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Maxwells on Sibling Relationships

Maintaining good relationships between siblings is difficult. I read this section of the Maxwells' book with great interest and gleaned much insight from it, unlike some of the areas of the book I have already blogged and commented on in the threads. Having five children, situations can get pretty tense at times yet I do desire that my children have good relationships with one another.
We want to build strong relationships between the children. This can happen by encouraging them to spend time with each other rather than others. When our older children were younger, before we began sheltering as we now do, we found that the more they played with friends, the less nice they were to their siblings. They seemed to always prefer to be with a friend rather than their own brother or sister. Their attitudes toward each other were more unkind and sarcastic. Through sheltering from the negative influences of friends, we have gained the benefit of solid brother and sister relationships.
As per the Maxwells' ideology, they go a little far for my comfort. I have seen the things the Maxwells describe in my children's lives, but also have seen some benefits. I wish the Maxwells had made some delineation and not a blanket statement as it seems they are making; "all friendships are bad" or "all friendships have negative results."

I have seen this play out with my children, that when they were around less than kind children, their attitudes and demeanor tended to rub off on them. Water does run downhill, after all. However, some friendships have had positive impact upon them. Needless to say, all relationships involve an element of risk--opening your heart, to use their terminology, and it seems they are unwilling for that to occur.

There are times when parents should make hard decisions; that perhaps the child should not be playing or spending time with another child, for whatever reason. There may be times when a child may have to be told that they do not get to spend time with another child. However, eradicating any hope of positive influence for the sake of protecting them from some negative seems to me to be an overreach that could have less than beneficial results later in life.

Ultimately, I share the Maxwells' hope that my children have hearts that are turned toward one another, that they would desire to spend time with one another and develop those bonds that last a lifetime. However, to discount the possibility of friendships is neither healthy nor biblical. I think of Abraham being called a friend of God, David's and Jonathan's relationship, Christ's relationships with His disciples, and ultimately, that Christ is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

It is my prayer that my children develop solid sibling relationships, but I believe that they can be cultivated without precluding any other relationships that could be of potentially lifelong benefit as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Some Funny

Talk about a paranoid parent. This exclamation actually happened.

One of my daughters was pushing the stroller around the yard today. I did not have a clear line of sight on either her or the stroller, but I could see that she had the stroller tilted up into a "wheelie." I yelled, "Leah, stop! You're gonna dump Michael out of there! He will get hurt!"

My other daughter, Lily, said, "Uh,'re...holding...Michael."

Yep. Paranoid.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Maxwells on Sports

More from Steve and and Teri Maxwell and their book, Keeping Our Children's Hearts. Up to this point in the book I have agreed with the Maxwell's take on several areas. However, there is a subtle flaw in their thinking. They dedicate a short section to sports and this is the quotation:
There is another danger in sports that can cause you to lose your child's heart--the coach. It is a fact that those under a coach's authority are highly influenced by him. In other words, the hearts of the team members are drawn to their coach. Even if the coach is a positive role model, if your child's heart is pulled to him, it is being drawn away from you. When that happens, your ability to guide your child's life is potentially diminished. Why allow this?
After reading this section of the book, it finally became clear to me what the needling sensation was that has overridden the entire course of the book. Something had been prodding me about the Maxwells' general attitude toward their children and though I agree with the general principle behind sheltering, the key premise of the book, as well as how essential sheltering is to keeping your child's heart, it became clear to me that the Maxwells are pushing for an authoritarianism I am not completely comfortable with.

My seven-year old daughter plays soccer so my ire was not provoked simply because I have a daughter playing a sport. However, the Maxwells are following a "b necessarily follows a" pattern. Just because my daughter plays soccer does not mean we will lose her heart; quite the contrary. I can see their concerns and how that might be troubling for some parents, but if I have my child's heart, can I not delegate authority unto another and not feel as if my sheltering has been done in vain or fear "losing" her?

I believe that authority can be delegated in such a way. God delegates authority and I believe this is a general principle the Maxwells have overlooked. God has delegated authority to several institutions; He has given some unto government, some unto the church, some unto the family, divided upon the mother and father.

The government has authority in areas the church doesn't have; the church in areas the government does not. The family has authority the church does not have. God has delegated authority unto the husband that the wife does not have. Even Jesus recognized Himself as one under the authority of another. When my daughter plays soccer, it is necessary that she is under the authority of the coach; otherwise she will not play the game well. The Maxwells' position seems to cross the line of pure authoritarianism and not loving parenting.

Parents can effectively delegate their authority unto another without the threat of losing their child. The authority delegated to the coach is not necessarily an authority that should concern a parent. His responsibility is to teach the child to play a game--that is what I expect out of my daughter's coach. I do expect him to teach sportsmanship but that is about as close as I expect him to get to teaching values, morality, and ethics.

Authority is not a tenuous thing in my home, so that is perhaps where my umbrage arises. Sports can become an idol in a child's life yet it can also be an appropriate and beneficial activity. Not knowing the Maxwells personally I can only offer this as conjecture, but it seems that their positions on authority seem to be borne almost of paranoia of losing their own kids and that drives their premises rather than a balanced look at the Scriptures.

A family should shelter their children from horrible things in the world, but to completely disengage from society is neither healthy nor biblical. A parent ought to be comfortable delegating some authority out to another, particularly in areas where the parent has no experience (I cannot effectively teach my daughter to play soccer). If this is done correctly, the child will see no confusion there and that that person's authority extends only into the realm into which it has been delegated.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Pertinent Quote

In light of a post I recently wrote at sbc Impact, Holy Competition, I came across this quote from Jared Wilson via Joe Carter:
Warning: If you treat your church like a business, you will treat other churches like your competition.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Pertinent Quote

Too many unsaved see Christianity as a clique that meets for self-congratulation or theological debate or purely social activity, and has little to do with the struggles of everyday life.
Eric Wallace, Uniting Church and Home

Monday, May 12, 2008

My New Favorite Commercial

Seeing as how we just had a little boy, that makes this all the more meaningful. Plus, seeing as how the little guy squirted me at just a few days of age. Enjoy!

New Post at Impact

I have a new post at SBCImpact! I hope you will check it out.

Thoughts on Breakthroughs in the SBC

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Maxwells on Television

From Steve and Terri Maxwell, Keeping our Children's Hearts
"I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes..." (Psalm 101:3). Television is filled with wickedness and evil. Even if there are shows that would be okay, the commercials won't be acceptable. How can we expect to keep our sons' hearts if they are continually exposed to immorality and immodestly dressed women on television? Will our daughters want to be morally pure when continually exposed to romance that is idolized on television? Won't our children's hearts be drawn to being entertained if they are allowed to spend their time in front of the television? Will we grow an appetite in our children for laziness by letting them watch? Consider well the spiritual outcomes of children watching television.
I share the Maxwells' concerns about television, and they go on to suggest that nothing good can come of any media experience. Though I have enjoyed many of the premises of this book, several of their ideas about sheltering seem a bit overstated.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Our Example as Parents

I have been reading the Maxwell's book, Keeping Our Children's Hearts, and I came across this quote in my reading today from J.C Ryle, a quote the Maxwell's reference in regards to the example parents need to be to their children.
Instruction, and advice, and commands will profit little, unless they are backed up by the pattern of your won life. Your children will never believe you are in earnest, and really wish them to obey you, so long as your actions contradict your counsel.
Sound advice that may have a more broader application than just the relationship between parent and children.