Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Woman's Role in the Home pt. 3

Okay here's the third installment in our series. (Check out the second one here.)
M – Mold Your Children. When I think of the word “mold”, I think of The Potter, God, molding the clay, us, into useful vessels as it speaks of in Jeremiah 18. As Christian mothers, we can and should be instruments that God can use to mold our children. Our desire should be for our children to grow up to be vessels fit for the Master’s use.
Okay except, I'm not a lump of clay. Or an instrument or a vessel, and I don't want my life to be for some master's use. And I don't want my son to be a molded lump either. I want him to make his own choices and find his own path, and be his own person. Of course I'll try to influence and shape him, by expressing what I approve of and what I value and what I find reprehensible. But I don't ever want him to think he is meant to be shaped to someone else's design.
Molding our children into these vessels is a continual process. Our teaching and training time with them cannot be “here a little, there a little”. If a potter works on a lump of clay for a while and then sets it aside, intending to come back to it at a later date, what is going to happen to the clay? It will become hardened. So it is with children. If we neglect to teach and train them daily according to the principles found in God’s Word, there is danger of them becoming hardened to the things of the Lord.
If you don't indoctrinate early and often, they'll think these tales are ridiculous and this morality inferior. Find out how brainwashing can work for your family today!
How can we as mothers be used by God to “mold” our children? Deuteronomy 6:6,7 says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:” What you teach your children must first be in your heart. If you are not allowing the Lord to speak to you DAILY through His Word, you cannot effectively teach your children.
Uh, the Lord isn't speaking to me daily or even semi-annually, yet I am effectively teaching my child. Hell, Blue's Clues is effectively teaching him*. Do you think Joe's right with God?**
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” These verses tell me that I need to be speaking of the Lord and His Word throughout the day….while cooking supper, teaching math, folding laundry, playing, cleaning, etc…
Sounds like argument ad nauseum to me. Say it over and over again, and anything sounds possible. "God is all these contradictory things at the exact same time and the entire Bible is true, even the parts that disagree with the other parts. Amen." Stamp out doubt, stamp out doubt...
I need to be sensitive to opportunities God gives me to apply Biblical principles to “day-to-day” situations. I have found that the more time I spend in the Bible, the easier this is to do. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Whatever I have hid in my heart is going to naturally come out in my conversation.
This is where Christianity can get really oppressive. I remember feeling like I could express too much appreciation for something, or it would become an idol and then I wouldn't get to have it anymore. I wasn't allowed to actually feel proud of my singing voice, and I could like fantasy books or plays or friends too much, because God was supposed to be my primary focus. Every minute I spent playing video games or watching Monty Python or smoking cigarettes down at the park with friends was a minute I wasn't putting God first. A guy told me in a video recently that "atheism sucks the life out of its followers". Thinking I was cheating on my god anytime I spent a minute on an activity that wasn't completely about him - (like worship, or church volunteer work, or youth group activities, or devotions time) left me feeling like a battered lover.
There are many principles from God’s Word that we need to be teaching our children as we are used of God to mold them, but I would like to quickly name a few.

1. We need to teach them of their need for a Saviour and God’s wonderful plan of salvation. Salvation is only through repentance and faith in the finished work of the cross. Romans 10:9,10 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Right, can't have your kids thinking they're okay the way God made them. Gotta teach them that they're wicked, and in need of salvation for their dirty humanness.
And, II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” I cannot save my children…they must each trust Christ as their own personal Saviour.
If He doesn't want any of us to perish, why did he set up a system where so many people are guaranteed to? After all, merely repenting towards your fellow human being isn't what's required here. Rachel says salvation "is only through repentance and faith in the finished work of the cross." She can't save her babies, so she has to raise them in fear of themselves, so that they won't tarry in getting "saved."
2. We need to teach them the importance of reading God’s Word. Tell them how precious God’s Word is and how we need to love and treasure it. Psalm 119:97 says, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” Our attitude toward the Bible will affect their attitude.
Ah, yes. If you don't convince them at an early age that the Bible is holy, and if they actually read it, they might not come to the conclusion that the book is the Word of God or divine or somehow inspired or even good. And that would be a tragedy, after all. I can't fault Rachel for indoctrinating her children, much as it pains me. Remember, she was indoctrinated as a child herself. The fear she used to feel about her own immortality is now for her children. Given that set of propositions, telling your children over and over that they need a savior, and that the savior wants them to read this book, is the loving thing to do. It's just not true.
But, we not only need to stress the importance of reading their Bible, but also to live it. James 1:22 says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…”
Okay, well, I gotta give her points for avoiding hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the word that she is being faithful to is genocidal, fear-mongering, and insane.
3. Teach them the importance and privilege of prayer. Teach them, by example, to go to the Lord about everything….every burden…every decision to make.
Well, it's what she looked for in a marriage, so it's hardly surprising she desires a submissive, following role with her god as well. Why make decisions when you can just trust the menfolk and the man-god?
The last part of James 4:2 says, “ye have not because ye ask not” and then II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” How many times have we missed having a burden lifted, or lacked wisdom in making the right decision simply because we didn’t ask? James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally…” Teach your children the power of prayer.
So do you suppose people dying of disease and starvation, malnutrition and political strife and war, do you suppose those people never asked God to improve their lot in life? Certainly some of them may not believe in the Christian god, and so I can see they'd be screwed (although this hardly seems to mesh with a god who doesn't desire for any to perish), but there are Christian amputees and Jewish amputees (and atheist amputees.) Do they "have not" because they ask not? Or do you suppose they asked, and god just didn't answer them? Was he "slack as some men count slackness" during the Nazi Holocaust or the genocide in Darfur? Ah yes, the power of prayer.
4. Teach them to be faithful to the Lord’s house. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Psalm 92:13,14 says, “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” Teach them, once again by example, the importance of faithfulness to God’s house. Psalm 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Are you “glad” when Sunday morning comes? Children learn much by example.
Especially when they're not permitted to see any other examples. Church is largely boring. The exceptions tend to be on the crazier and crazier ends - rooms full of adults dressed in business casual, jumping up and down to some incredibly simplistic GCDC music; handling snakes; or else writhing on the floor "slain in the Spirit" or being delivered from demonic activity. Beyond those frightening displays, it largely consists of sitting or standing in a room for an hour or hours, listening to someone read and explain a book that doesn't actually apply to your modern-day life, desperately trying to make it fit, like solving a jigsaw puzzle with a razor blade and a roll of scotch tape.
5. Teach them to choose godly friends. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” How many Christian young peoples’ testimonies or even lives have been destroyed simply because of a wrong friend? Psalm 119:63 “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” The right kind of friends will encourage and build you up in the faith. I heard a preacher once say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you what you are or what you soon shall be.”
Ah, well, if a preacher said it, it must be true! No, wait that's scientists. Oh wait, no, that's not anybody. Nice argument from authority there, Rachel, but I don't actually respect the authority of clergy. When you say "teach them to choose" do you mean, instill them with values you cherish and clearly state your expectations for behavior to your children, or do you mean TELL them "Don't hang out with those godless kids down the block. They'll lead you to Hell"?
6. Teach them that they can and should be godly examples to others, even in their youth. II Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Don’t believe the lie that it is “normal” for every child to “sow their wild oats.” Yes, some children will rebel. “…a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15, but children do not have to go through a time of rebellion. Proverbs 20:11 says, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.” We should expect godly behaviour even in our children if they are saved.
Well, separation or "rebellion" actually is a vital step in child development. The early years are the enmeshed absorption years, where your child basically emulates you and generally likes you and wants to please you. Then comes puberty, sexual identity, and the beginnings of self-definition. If you're permitted to form a more individual identity at this point, you "come into yourself." If you're not given this freedom, then you struggle against nature and yourself to stay a child.
7. Teach them the blessing of obedience as well as honour. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
And here I was planning on teaching my son compassion, and ethical decision-making skills. I'm not raising my son to be a sheep, a sacrifice, or a lump of clay. I'm raising him to be a man. When we describe a man we admire, how often do we start by saying, "Oh well he is so obedient!" (That we still consider this a positive trait in women bothers me, but social change takes time and I can read & vote & divorce & own property & sue for sexual harassment, so things are moving in the right direction.)
But not only teach them the blessing, but warn them of the danger of disobedience and disrespect. Proverbs 30:17 says, “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” Proverbs 20:20 says, “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”
Listen to your mother, and I'll set the birds loose to peck your eyes out. Oh, and mommy & daddy & Jesus love you.
The obedience and respect that we are to teach them should not be only toward parents. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” We need to stress the importance of respect and obedience toward our pastor, teachers, etc. It’s a sad day that we are living in. I’ve never seen so much disrespect for elders among children. The saddest part about this is that much of it goes on in our own churches.
Ah, the appeal to simpler times. You know who always told me kids needed to respect their elders? My elders. Seems like there's a conflict of interest there, really. And of course, it was this unquestioning obedience and deference to elders which left me so unprepared for the sexual molestation a neighbor put me through. As a septuagenarian, he was certainly my elder, and I had been taught to obey my elders. I try to teach my own son to be nice to people, but to defend his body. (If somebody tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back.)
I’m reminded of the story in II Kings when the little children came forth and mocked Elisha. God brought swift punishment on these children. If you love your children, you will teach them the importance of obedience and respect for their elders.
Respect your elders, or God will sic bears on you! So, why are you teaching your children this book is holy?
8. Teach them to one day teach their children. Psalm 78:1-7 says, “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” A favorite example of this is found in II Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Our desire for our children should not just be to see them grow up and remain faithful to the Lord. We should teach them to instruct their children also…and so on.
Because religion is hereditary. And I did the same thing. I prayed the Lord's prayer a few hundred times during my 98-hour labor, and I brought my son to church. I put him in Sunday School & read children's Bible stories to him. I was trying to share something important to me with my son, and did not recognize the brainwashing path I was leading him down. Fortunately, I woke up before any strong belief in Jesus was instilled. Still, this generational-faith description does make me tend to agree with Dawkins' statement that "faith is a virus."

That's all for today - come back tomorrow for E- Encourage Other Women. For now, enjoy my latest video :D

* When I get pissed, Little Man reminds me "Angry mommy? Stop, breathe, and think!"

** No, Steve did not die of a heroin overdose. The actor quit because he didn't want to go bald on national kid's TV. Seriously. I saw it on the 10 Year Anniversary Blue's Clues Special, which I absolutely did watch. Also, since there are two transition episodes featuring Steve and Joe, it's amazing that urban legend is still going around.