Monday, March 22, 2010

Biblical Family?

My title at the church is Pastor of Life Development. People ask me what that mean all the time. Usually, if I don't figure that they really care what I do specifically, I just tell them that I'm a family pastor. That is sort of true but not really.

Family is a complicated thing. What is a family? Many, or most, evangelical Christians that I know lament the loss of the the traditional family. I might agree that family as our grandparents understood a family to be is going away, but what are we really lamenting? Most people would say that we are loosing the biblical family. But is that true? What did the family look like in the Bible? Was it more like the Duggers or like the Osbounes?

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at North Park University, has an interesting post today about a book by the Scottish theologian Stephen Holmes. I would suggest that these men will paint a different picture of the biblical family for us.

In my role of pastor of Life Development, I want it to be more inclusive that just managing the spiritual lives of nuclear families. I hope that Life Development is about challenging all people to a great involvement in mentoring and disciplining the next generation. First, with parents taking a greater part in their children's spiritual development. But just as important is that all people all people--married or not, old or young, with children or without--see that they have an important part to play in the spiritual development of the next generation.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Never eat zebra and sponsor a Kenyan girl because they count

Compassion is doing a blogger's tour of Kenya right now. I'm glad they are especially since my daughter began to sponsor a Kenyan child a year ago. Her child's name is Margaret. In a recent letter to El, Margaret asks my daughter if she knew what a census was. It seems that the census was taken in her village. Margaret seemed very excited because "she was counted too."

All kids count. We just need to help them to know that. Sponsoring one with Compassion will make that known.

I know you're wondering to read Shawn Grove's post to find out why you should never eat zebra. The pictures are great, too.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

PT: Perfectionism leads to miserable children

Dr. Jim Taylor writes on Pychology Today's blog that children suffer when they feel pressure to be perfect. On the heals of our "All In the Family" series where I talked about ways that parents provoke their children to anger, this article could be helpful for understanding some ways that parents can cause this kind of pressure in the lives of children. Is it possible that you are sending messages, either explicitly or implicitly, that your love is contingent on their success? Here are some ways that parents may to that.

  • Rewarding success and punishing failure.
When children succeed, their parents lavish them with love, attention, and gifts. But when they fail, their parents either withdraw their love and become cold and distant, or express strong anger and resentment toward their children. -Jim Taylor

  • Model perfectionism by be unduly frustrated at yourself when you fail or overly competitive. 
Children see how their parents hate themselves when they're not perfect, so they feel they must be perfect so their parents won't hate them. These parents unwittingly communicate to their children that anything less than perfection won't be tolerated in the family. -Jim Taylor

  • Projecting your flaws on your children. 
These parents project their flaws onto their children and try to fix those flaws by giving love when their children don't show the flaws and withdrawing love when they do. Unfortunately, instead of creating perfect children and absolving themselves of their own imperfections, they pass them on to their children and stay flawed themselves. -Jim Taylor
Taylor goes on to suggest that parents need not be perfect, rather they should strive for excellence. That's a confusing statement, but what he means is work hard to do good as much as possible but allow yourself to fail. I would add that you should let your children fail as well. Bs, Cs, Ds, and even Fs are OK. Big a benchwarmer on a second rate team isn't the worst thing. Not having the whole Bible memory packet complete isn't spiritual suicide. These things don't signal that children are failing at life. They should be a challenge to know where to improve or maybe a signal that the child has a different path in life.