Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts

Monday, May 13, 2024

Anonymous Asks (302)

“How should parents who are divorcing/separating deal with child custody issues?”

How does one do a bad thing in the best possible way? This the dilemma for divorcing Christians. Finding the will of God in one area of your life when you are already rejecting the revealed will of God in another area is always going to be a losing battle. The Lord never intended Christians to divorce, and his word does not provide a great deal of direct guidance to those in the process of demonstrating they don’t want it.

The best we can do is derive some general principles from scripture about behavior patterns that are always good, and leave it at that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (19)

I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Do the souls of aborted babies go to heaven? Do babies and children go to heaven when they die? These are questions of deep concern both to believers and even to the occasional agnostic, who might be willing to risk finding him- or herself before the great white throne one day, but not their children.

And yes, people like this do exist. I know one.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Anonymous Asks (184)

“As a parent, where would you draw the line with allowing your children to read/watch/play video games about demons, wizardry, etc.?”

This sounds a lot like the famous Harry Potter question that was bandied about in Christian circles twenty years ago when the Rowling books were at their most popular and the movie adaptations were just starting to come out. Christian parents were all over the map on that one, from mindlessly legalistic at one end of the spectrum to imprudently casual at the other.

Still, there is probably a more biblical answer than “Let’s split the difference.”

Sunday, August 29, 2021

What Constitutes Biblical Evidence?

“The Bible gives clear, direct guidance on many topics of morality, but not on birth control. Thus, any inferences from the Bible are opinions and not Biblical evidence.”

Where the subject of the morality of birth control is concerned, this quote from the Christian Bible Reference Site is probably as good a place as any to start.

The question it raises in my mind may be framed different ways. One way: Are direct commands from God our only real source of unambiguous moral guidance? Another way: Do inferences drawn from established biblical principles really constitute such an ephemeral and debatable source of spiritual direction that God may as well have given us nothing at all to go on?

In short, what exactly constitutes legitimate biblical evidence?

Friday, May 14, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Rethinking Sunday School

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: I have a confession for you, IC. I was a terrible kid in Sunday School. I made everybody’s lives miserable, from the guy tasked with leading the singing to my individual Sunday School teachers. I really didn’t like it much.

The odd thing is that I had nothing against church particularly, or the Bible. I even believed it was true. But I was a total cut-up.

How about you?

Immanuel Can: Yep. Dead with boredom, and ready to make trouble.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Anonymous Asks (123)

“Why are birth defects allowed?”

Birth defects are not a small problem. One in 33 children in the United States is born with a birth defect, small or large. That seems like something about which a God who loves children might have a strong opinion.

Some birth defects are simply one of many consequences of living in a fallen world, as are tornados, tidal waves, earthquakes or disease. The vast majority, however, are due to choices made by human beings.*

So before we call on God to eradicate all birth defects, let me ask you this first: How would you feel if God overruled every bad decision you ever thought about making?

Thursday, November 05, 2020

The Next [De]Generation

“There are three types of lies,” Mark Twain famously quipped, “lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

I know he was overstating the case somewhat, but my time in higher education has given me plenty of opportunity to see that he was not far off. Statistics have a way of impressing people with the apparent solidity of the numbers they generate. Many of us, especially the numerically inclined, tend to think they’re telling us something profound, truthful and scientific. But I have discovered that often they are not, and until you know how the numbers were obtained and how they are being interpreted, you can never be quite sure how solid they really are.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Gaming It Out

Nothing makes one explore the implications of one’s own mortality like choosing a beneficiary.*

Don’t get me wrong: the open casket of a close friend or family member always provides a moment or two of bracing clarity, but far too many of us are accustomed to granting the dead their expected tearful due, then moving on as expeditiously as is decently possible.

Sure, we hear the occasional grateful acknowledgement that there but for the grace of God go the rest of us, but most of us are disinclined to let the full implications of that reality really permeate.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Which Sense Makes the Most Sense?

In my internet wanderings, I frequently come across believers who are utterly convinced that the spiritual not only trumps the natural but invalidates it entirely.

There is indeed something to the first part of that: the spiritual is bound to be more important to the Christian than that which is merely natural. If we must choose, for instance, between responding to the promptings of flesh or Spirit, of course Spirit wins every time ... or ought to.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

How Not to Crash and Burn (34)

In raising his children, my father maintained a keen sense of the big picture. He would always encourage my mother when things seemed most hopeless. I can assure you that happened with regularity: my father traveled, and Mom had an unvarnished, highly realistic, frequently-reinforced view of all the basest aspects of male teen behavior.

Somehow she survived. Hope, maybe.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Children, Fathers and Hearts

Concerning New Jersey’s largest city, Steven Malanga says, “An astonishing 60 percent of the city’s kids are growing up without fathers.” According to a recent UNICEF report, “Britain is the worst country in the Western world in which to be a child.” Theodore Dalrymple writes of a British woman with nine children by five different fathers, none of whom contribute consistently to their children’s upkeep.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Semi-Random Musings (5)

Last week’s Too Hot to Handle discussion with IC on the subject of collective identity opened a bulging can of worms, and we could hardly avoid leaving a few of those slimy stragglers wriggling around in the bottom of the rowboat.

One such not-entirely-explored issue is the importance of caring for immediate and extended family, a responsibility that in the New Testament is committed to both Christian men and women.

It’s also a responsibility Western governments have in the not-too-distant past assumed on our behalf — not entirely, but extensively.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Next [De]Generation

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Rethinking Sunday School

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Programming or Persuasion?

I grew up watching something that worked. Not everyone has that experience.

My father loved my mother and vice versa. They were not perfect — nobody is — but they consistently modeled their Christian faith for their children. As a result, I and my siblings grew up conscious there was at least one worldview out there that produced a positive real-life outcome for those who held it.

Some people think that’s programming.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Action, Meet Consequence

Do children bear the sins of the fathers or not? In one sense, absolutely.

Actions have consequences. My body and yours will not last forever because “in Adam all die”. The default mode of human existence is death, and every week, month and year on our march toward futility, decrepitude and (in some cases) eternal judgment drives home that reality.

Thanks, Adam. If it’s any consolation, I have no evidence from my own experience that I’d have done a better job as federal head of humanity.

Monday, July 25, 2016

That Wacky Old Testament (5)

Mothers have this thing about their sons. It’s natural, it’s powerful and it’s often entirely irrational.

Take, for instance, the mother of the Palestinian terrorist who killed an Israeli teen asleep in her own bed. Mom says her son was “a hero” who made her “proud”.

Okay, that’s a little extreme. But the mother of the Bataclan bomber who inadvertently self-detonated told reporters her son never meant to hurt anyone and may have been “stressed”.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Lurking Sentimentalists Beware

At the risk of getting clobbered by the chronically sentimental, I’d like to ask a few hard questions about a relatively recent trend within evangelicalism. Baby dedications are now being offered as a service in churches that claim to base their faith and practice solely on the principles and instruction of the New Testament.

You know what I mean: special events at which new parents “present” their baby and some designated individual asks them on behalf of their church (in front of friends, family and brothers and sisters in Christ) if they are willing to raise their child “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”, or something like it.

I find the logic baffling.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Next [De]Generation

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eden: Beginning of the Family Line

We’ve touched on the fact that God’s character is more clearly seen in the Eden story in Genesis than anywhere else in the Bible with the exception of Calvary. In Genesis 1, we read that God created male and female. Immediately following, we ask this: what is the very first thing they experience that Scripture records immediately following?

It’s there in the first line of verse 28. He blessed them. God blessed them.

The initial experience mankind had of the creator God was that He is and was by nature foremost to be known as a God who blesses. The highest priority he had for us, there in moment one, was blessing — and for us to come to know Him as a blesser.

The New Testament puts the same priority on it: “He who comes to God must believe that he is” — that makes good sense — “and that he is a rewarder” — that he is a blesser — “of those who seek Him”.

God wants to be known as a blesser, and here he blesses man and woman first.

In what way did He bless them? It’s manifold, of course — the blessing of life, the blessing of companionship with each other and fellowship with Him, the blessing of the surrounding beauty of creation and so on and so forth. But it’s interesting also to note not what all the implied blessings of Eden were but rather what the first expressed blessing of Eden was. The first recorded blessing is … what?