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Purple Politics

Most Americans are really purple. Certainly, they are card-carrying red or blue, but when the rubber hits the road, most are conveniently red or blue depending on how it immediately affects them. Thus, for example, conservatives who rally and vote and huff-and-puff with scandalized sensibilities over the fiscal irresponsibility of liberals who refuse to cut programs find themselves rallying and voting to oust any city official that may want to cut their favored program. Doves who marched against the hawks find themselves championing war.  Continue reading


Growing Kids God’s Way – Not Ezzo’s

I wrote this last year….

I expressed doubts  four years ago. I still hold to my main concerns. One of the problems with Ezzo-ism is that it is abusive to the parents! Abused people often become abusively hyper-judgmental of other people, particularly parents who don’t apply the same measures of discipline to their children that they believe is right. They need healing. Continue reading

Sabbatarianism & the Rod

Since I’ve stirred the pot, I”ll keep up the  ἐρεθίζω (stirring up of Col. 3:21) that we are forbidden to do with children, but may do for the use of edification (I hope) in the blogosphere! 😉

I’m getting ready for a conference and so I will merely insert this as a comment and question:

How is it that the very same arguments that anti-sabbatarians muster to repudiate the legalistic keeping of First Day Sabbath fail to impress them when they are applied to challenge the fact that the Bible commands parents to use the rod?

Non-sabbatarians defend honoring Sunday and some even refer to it as the “Lord’s Day.” But they stop short of saying that it is commanded that they observe the Sabbath in a legalistic rigidity proposed by many Puritans. Yet so many of these very same non-Sabbatarians cry anathemas on the same kind of action taken toward the “rod” passages of the Proverbs. And the “rod” passages are not even a part of the Decalogue!

Go figure.


The “rod” Proverbs

I received a sarcastic little note suggesting that I didn’t believe God’s Word because, according to the critic, I don’t take the proverbs about disciplining children “literally.” My strong admonition about extreme caution in spanking was not taken well and I got smacked with the “you don’t believe the Bible because you don’t take it literally” charge. However, I do not know a single person (even among the radical pro-spanking group) that takes all the proverbs of the bible with the same rigid literalism that they claim licenses them to strike their child with repeated severity. I offer a few tongue-in-cheek examples of some biblical proverbs and a similar rigid literalism they use: Continue reading

Shepherding a Parent’s Heart

Perhaps I should give caveats and qualifications to this excellent critique by friend Anne Sokol on a book that I have heartily recommended but found myself accompanying said recommendations with caveats and qualifications, many of which are similar to Anne’s concerns. Anne raises some issues that have become matters of of concern for me as well. However, I may not be as strongly dismissive of the book because I think there are emphases that are good for certain people. Pastoral experience has taught me that a pastor is much like a pharmacist who mixes and concocts various sources to apply to particular needs. Often there needs to be a big dosage of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart,” however I do think that it should always come diluted with an awareness of problems that Anne has respectfully raised. Her four concerns are succinctly stated here and then expounded on in her article.

  1. The book’s focus on requiring obedience as the primary component of the parent/child relationship and emphasis on parental authority as the right to require obedience.
  2. Tripp’s teaching that spanking is the means the parent must use in order to bring a child back into “the circle of blessing.”
  3. Tripp’s interpretation that the “rod” in Proverbs equals spanking, that spanking is even for young children, that spanking is the God-ordained means of discipline (which parents must obey) and that use of the rod saves a child’s soul from death.
  4. His portrayal of any other style or method of parenting in a derogatory manner and training parents’ consciences that failure to discipline as his book teaches is disobedient to God.

It is not an uncommon experience among many Christian families that the youngest child has a more intimate, loving relationship with the parents than the oldest child. It is also not uncommon that the youngest child had far less spankings in his or her lifetime. This is often flippantly explained as a result of the youngest having the benefit of learning from the consequences suffered by the eldest. Or it is bitterly opined by the older children that the parents got soft. It is also a fairly common observation that older parents are less inclined to spank than younger parents. This is explained by saying that older people are sometimes overly indulgent and lack the energy required to be disciplinarian.

There may be some truth to the above statements, but I really think that another major factor is that maturing of Christian people to the realization that the parent-child relationship does not necessarily have to be defined by, as Anne says, the “rubric” of authority/submission, but by a loving relationship that accepts as very real the fact that a parent does not have the power to make a person change and that “spanking is not endued by God with such spiritual power, nor, in fact, is a parent endued with the power to restore the child.”

I do think that pain is sometimes necessary in discipline. But I also agree with Anne: “In His dealings with us as His children, God does nothing like reaching down and spanking us each time we disobey.”

I think thoughtful parents should carefully read Tripp. They should also carefully ponder critiques such as this.

Before & After

This will blow your mind.

Music for the Soul

“So Saul was refreshed and was well. . .” (1 Samuel 16:23). Continue reading