Church has changed. What is a Liberal Christian Mom to do?

The world has changed, and I have some thoughts on parenting through this which I would like to share.

The church that my family belonged to had a major rift about the time I wrote my last blog entry. We chose to leave that church because it wasn’t the right place for our children. We visited and settled into another church, but it too was a poor fit. We joined a third, a Methodist church with plenty of children and family activities where our children could grow in their faith. Suddenly the membership started to decline and the remaining members started fighting about homosexuality. (More on that another day.) Then we joined the Church of the Nazarene, simply because our friends attended. It was too conservative for us, but it didn’t matter because this was turning into an old country song full of woes – everybody left again and then the pandemic hit.

We tried attending on Zoom, but my eleven and thirteen year old children complained, then fell asleep on the couch. I have never met a pastor who could make the right message for everyone in the congregation at once, including the children, and preaching remotely on the pandemic was no exception. So, I let them sleep. (I wonder why there are so few children in churches? Maybe I should ask a preacher.)

I found some messages on Youtube and compiled family church. My children complained and watched the clock, which aggravated me because I put hours into preparing for this. (Sorry Preachers, for complaining to you in previous paragraph.) Youtube is always risky. The ads, the suggested suggestive videos… Pentatonics Hallelujah is not a worship song by the way. When we got to the line, “she tied me to the kitchen chair,” my family shared a very awkward moment while I fumbled for the remote.

In my opinion, it’s time to evolve. Church is open, but it’s not the same, and probably never will be. I must keep my objective in mind. I am trying to raise children with big hearts for Jesus and their neighbors. I was raised with beautiful traditions, but like parasols and hoop skirts, those are gone with the wind. (No kids, I’m not that old. It’s just a metaphor.) I must make a plan that suits the needs of my children.  

I know forcing tweens and teens to participate in Zoom meetings will not work. I know worshipping in the living room is not working for my kids. Since we have to do school at home, I signed my children up for a Bible class on-line. They don’t want to do this either, but I told them it is a part of a basic education and one cannot intelligently make a judgement on that which one does not understand. In other words, learning about the Bible is just part of life. Once you learn about the Bible, Kids, you can make some intelligent decisions about how you want to proceed with your faith life from there.

In all our church hopping and time spent in dying churches, our children have not received a basic foundation in Bible 101 and Christianity. Letting go of control is hard. I could to force them to be a part of my faith, but their hearts won’t belong to it. Maybe this way I can give them the tools to grow their own faith.

How Do I Justify Suffering To My Children When They Are Suffering?

048_editChristians often ask “Why does God allow so much evil in the world?” and “Why do good people suffer?” There are some pretty good resources out there that attempt to answer these questions and defend God’s creation. I like the book “Letters From A Skeptic” by Gregory and Edward Boyd for tackling these heavy issues. But as a parent I have to break it down for my children.

Continue reading “How Do I Justify Suffering To My Children When They Are Suffering?”

Agnes Raises a Good Question

How far would you go to make your children happy? Would you buy them everything they want if you could? Would you let them do anything they want so long as it is safe? Would you forfeit your own dreams or aspirations for them? Some people would turn to the Bible for answers to this question. Some say the Bible tells us everything we need to know to live. Continue reading “Agnes Raises a Good Question”

Let’s Humble Ourselves About Our Parenting Triumphs and Tribulations

Before I had children I knew everything about parenting. My husband and I would observe families with children and make lists of behaviors our children would never exhibit. We thought parenting was scientific. We believed. If we train them in the way they should behave then they will not depart from it. I didn’t recognize how critical and judgmental I was. It was just plain stupid of me to think that I could actually control how my children grow up. Continue reading “Let’s Humble Ourselves About Our Parenting Triumphs and Tribulations”

Liberal Christians Are Not Exempt From Being Kind

Christians are supposed to be kind to others. Everyone! I teach my children what I believe. I want them to believe: It is OK to put your foot down when someone tries to take advantage of you. Still, treat everyone with dignity and respect. This is the art of diplomacy. I don’t expect my children to be masterful, but I do insist they practice it. Continue reading “Liberal Christians Are Not Exempt From Being Kind”

Does a Wife Have to Obey Her Husband?

Before obeying, read with discernment
Before obeying, read with discernment

Nope! As a Liberal Christian I believe that the Bible is subject to historical and contextual interpretations. I like the explanation that Wikipedia provides of Liberal Christianity. And it is a good thing I am a liberal because this is what the Bible says on obedient wives:

 

Wives submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now  as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Continue reading “Does a Wife Have to Obey Her Husband?”

Gentle Parenting

Parenting seems to be twisted up with Christianity in some strange ways. There is a certain logic to the notion that God is our heavenly parent, just as we are parents; therefore our relationship with our children should reflect our relationship with our Lord. This is a great metaphor, but it is just a metaphor. We cannot literally take on a divine role with our children. Continue reading “Gentle Parenting”