A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Integrating the Bible in Our Family Life

When I popped into Koorong (Christian bookstore) today, I happened to notice a book entitled, The Christian Atheist: Believing in God But Living As If He Doesn't Exist by a chap called Craig Groeschel. I am not familiar with Mr Groeschel or the book but over the years, on the odd occasion, I have heard that term "Christian atheist" or "atheist Christian" bandied about. It's a provocative epithet, no doubt... a kind of oxymoron meant to stimulate thinking and discussion in the Christian community.

I mention this because last week at MOPS we had an edifying conversation about values. We talked about the things that each of us valued and then proceeded to talk about what kind of values each of us would like to pass on to our children. There was a lot of great discussion at our table and some time during this exchange, I mentioned that one of the things I really appreciated while growing up was daily Bible reading around the dinner table and weekly devotions with the family. These moments were precious to me because it was during these moments that I learnt not only about the Bible but how to think about it. To my surprise (and slight amusement), one of our group members, who is a Christian, exclaimed passionately that she hated Bible reading as a child since it was crammed down her throat after dinner and has thus far refused to do it with her own children.

For a few seconds, everyone fell thoughtfully silent. Immediately, I felt a bit embarrassed and wondered if I had said something controversial. (I've been known to stick my foot into my mouth on a number occasions before) But I'm always embarrassed because I'm one of those people who always wonder if I should've said what I said an hour after I've said it. A closet gadfly perhaps.

A week later, I continue to find that subject playing around in my head.
Not that I'm still embarrassed, of course.

This post, however, lest you get the wrong idea, isn't about me... or about my MOPS friend, who's going through some tough times, bless her.
It's about the Bible aka The Scriptures aka The Word of God.

 My observation is that years of being brow-beaten by our non-Christian friends about Bible-bashing televangelists, of imbibing godless mainstream media talking points, and of brainwashing from the entertainment industry about hell-fire, psychopathic evangelicals has led Christians to feel secretly embarrassed about the Bible.  Like it or not, I don't think we (I include myself in this) quite believe that the Bible has any real relevance for life and living in the 21st century.

For a long time I was one of those brow-beaten Christians... but I have come to see that a world without Judeo-Christian principles is not a good place to be.

Consider this...
If we seriously thought that the Bible was the living word of God, it would form the basis of our parenting and the values that we pass on to our children.
Reading the Bible daily to ourselves and to our children would be like breathing, eating and sleeping.
We wouldn't think twice about reading the Bible at meal times or singing hymns in the shower, bopping to "Doo baa doo baa baa" or praying at meal times. It would be second nature.
Of course our friends would think we're "extreme" or "religious" but they would anyway because
"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."  (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

While I'm not suggesting that we need to be obnoxious to everyone around us, it seem to me that if we're followers of Jesus Christ, shouldn't we be following his commands? But how can we follow his commands or expect our children to follow his commands if we don't read them?
Ignorance is not bliss... it's a problem.
It's a problem... an enormous one... when Christians don't know their Bible... at least not enough to give themselves and their children a foundation to build their lives on.
But equally important is teaching your children to have a biblical worldview. To see the world through the eyes of Yahweh. So that when the world pushes at them, they can push back, with confidence.

Don't leave it to your church Sunday School... good as it may be. That's once a week stuff. As parents, we need to take control of our children's spiritual nourishment as much as their physical one.

Either we believe the Bible is the Word of God or we don't. If we do, then the question is... what are we going to do about it?

(Egad... this turned into a mini-sermon which was not my original intention but I plan to follow this up with a few tips in another post)

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