raise your voice or a child?
good news weekly 11.6.21
THIS SUNDAY … Join us in-person or online at 9.30a CST for a celebration of God’s goodness in this new building. we would LOVE for you to join us.
(important caveat … my kids are 12-10-8-4. these ideas are from observation of others, not from a certainty that i somehow have it all right)
there’s a fundamental difference between raising a voice + raising a child
wow, big insight right? of course there is. but after decades of participating in + watching the culture of Christian parenting, i’m personally convinced this is where we get it all wrong.
i went to a christian school k-8, i helped lead a different christian school. i went to a christian college. my wife went to two other ones. i grew up in + then led a large youth ministry. i have lived down the street from wheaton, il for 30+ years of my life. i know this evangelical suburban world, i know what it produces.
kids raised on culture war + safety rarely become passionate followers of Jesus.
i know .. i know.
we are supposed to be ‘in the world but not of it.’
if we let caesar educate our kids, they will grow up to be romans
these things are true.
however, often those saying them, are subtly attempting to outsource spiritual formation to someone they can pay and blame.
in our day + time, both political spectrums ask us to RAISE YOUR VOICE about race or the unborn or the patriarchy or CRT or abuse cover-ups or sex slavery in asia etc
all these things are fine, even potentially useful, but they don’t actually DO ANYTHING. awareness isn’t meaningful until it becomes action.
being angry at the culture is easier than helping someone grow.
one of my favorite weapons is the ..
‘did you hear what they are teaching now?’ set of conservative talking points
almost always formed without talking to a teacher actually in a public school, they paint a picture of wild sex-crazed teachers fomenting foolishness at every turn. it becomes a moment to RAISE YOUR VOICE, but interestingly mostly towards people you don’t know + wouldn’t trust anyway.
a different version of this phenomenon is social media shaming… right?
take an unflattering story or a non-nuanced narrative and hang it over someones head for long enough + loudly enough that everything else they have ever done disappears.
we say that’s RAISE YOUR VOICE for justice, but often its bitterness + anger masquerading as morality.
we bring this stuff to our children. we say we want them to purer than we were + more disciplined than we were + more kind than we were, yet fail to understand that the most powerful tool in our toolbox is not who we
RAISE YOUR VOICE against, but who we actually are + teach them to be.
our fury at the culture reveals a deep insecurity in our ability to compellingly show + tell the children entrusted to us the beauty of a Jesus-oriented life.
daniel + his 3 friends were immersed as deeply as possible in a wicked culture, yet their well formed faith allowed to stand strong.
what if the problem isn’t those who won’t raise their voice, but those who won’t raise their children?
train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart
the rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone but for
Abraham comes on the scene of the Bible in the Old Testament. He’s not known for getting it ‘ALL right’ but rather he was and is known for his faith. His story didn’t end in the Old Testament but was still talked about in the New Testament as a testimony of what faith looks like when your circumstances don’t look favorable. And as I stumbled upon Romans 4, I have marveled at the fact that it says, “no unbelief made him waver.”
I could take you to the intersection today where I was in my car with a friend of mine in high school. I was new in faith but trying to daily live it out in a public high school. We had grown up together so she had known me for years and yet couldn’t put her finger on what had changed but asked me one day why I was so happy? And I remember in that moment wavering in my faith. I knew full well that Jesus had changed me from the inside out, that it wasn’t anything that I could conjure up and that it was giving me a deep joy and purpose to live by. And yet I gave her some stupid, ‘follow your heart’ answer and have regretted it ever since.
I wonder, for you, what has made you waver? Has it been like me, when you feared losing relationship over the answer to a difficult question about faith. Have you wavered in faith when you look at what you can see in the here and now and (figuratively or literally) stomp your feet and question God about why he hasn’t answered your prayer yet? Have you wavered in faith when you experience injustice and can’t see anything pointing to God being able to use the pain of it? Have you wavered when other Christians disappointed you? And yet Abraham had some of these same circumstantial reasons to waver and yet he didn’t.
Instead it says that he grew strong in his faith and he gave glory to God. Sometimes I think the most helpful thing to do when we read God’s Word is to ponder the questions that come to mind. What did growing strong in his faith look like for Abraham? Did he wake up early and recite something? Did he spend time each day praying and fasting? Did he only talk to God about his fears and failures? From my experience, I’ve found it difficult to give God the glory when I’m having a pity party for myself. So, how did Abraham keep his eye on the prize of what God said he would do? Scripture doesn’t tell us, but I’d encourage you to think on the ways in the past you grew strong in your faith and reinstate those ways in your life. We often remain fully convinced of the truth when we look at it and remind ourselves daily.
This text that was written a few thousand years ago for the people then was as much for them as it is for you and I. There are things that God has put in front of you that you might not be able to forecast how you are going to get there but he has given you faith to believe it is going to happen. Let’s take Abraham’s lead, let’s believe by faith, let’s pray by faith, let’s live by faith without wavering and let’s give glory to God as we wait fully convinced that God is able to do everything that he says he is and more.
Good News Weekly Episode 23
Super Christian Guy
Monday Morning Book Review
where the light fell - philip yancey
an in-depth look into life in Southern Fundamentalist circles, Philip Yancey paints a vivid picture of stifling + counter-productive religious rigor. with the benefit of years, Yancey is able to be compassionate + honest about the problematic world he was raised in. while so often we see our fidelity as honoring God, when it comes along with a brutality + self-assured certainty, it often damages the work of the God we claim to be serving.
it’s easy to look at the racial insensitivity + culturally strident mentality the book describes as foolish, but i was personally moved to ponder the world i’m living in + church i’m leading in to inspect our ways of thinking for what prove later to others as obvious foolishness. loved this book, highly, highly recommend it.
Things to Click On
the story of Henry Ruggs is tragic. the response of his QB Derek Carr shows a lovely understanding of the Good News. this reporter trying to untangle it was useful i thought …
griff + i have been working to articulate our values as a church … these videos turned out well
have a great weekend …
luke + kristen