Yesterday, I promised a better blog.
So Here Goes
From oldest to youngest, believers don’t know how to relate to unbelievers. We don’t know how to be friends, and we’re not sure we want to.
Parents don’t know how to keep their kids safe and still teach them to care about others who are different.
Well, I think it’s because many of us were raised in rules based religion. We grew up with: do not smoke, drink, dance, use drugs, have sex, or do anything sinful, under penalty of divine punishment. That’s code for going straight to hell. It’s how Christianity was taught at church and how it was applied at home. It’s what we knew.
Think about it: Rules enforced by fear. Behavior controlled by threat. Disobedience punished by God.
Generations of faith based parents were controlling their teens and pre-teens with rules and fearsome consequences.
Here Are Some I Grew Up With
- Can’t dance: it leads to unwed pregnancy
- Can’t drink: alcohol causes car wrecks
- Can’t smoke: tobacco is dirty and destroys your health
- Can’t have sex: sexual activity results in STD
- Can’t take drugs, they will destroy your life
- And others
To Be Sure
At their worst, those threats and fears were well grounded. We’ve all know people who have lost their lives, damaged their health, or hurt themselves and others, by abusing such things.
But Here’s Our Problem
To be honest, the number of those who’ve destroyed themselves are infinitesimally fewer compared to those who haven’t. It’s unbelievably disproportionate. Most of us didn’t reap the whirlwind for having a beer, going to a dance, or for kissing our date. Some key results:
- Kids grew up realizing their parents controlled them with fear and damnation.
- We emerged without a healthy faith and struggled with guilt and shame.
- Rule based religion, no matter how well intended, fails miserably every time.
The Mosaic Covenant, with its 613 laws, was a catastrophic failure. It’s why Jesus came, to put an end to law based religion, and replace it with a grace based covenant. We were raised in rules the fear of breaking them. We transferred it to our kids. Then here is another key result.
A Key Result
Having emerged with rules and fear, we’ve struggled to love others who are different. We see them as threats. We look down our noses and we dislike them. Our kids watch us. They may even learn to hate as some of us do. When they grow up, they will struggle with loving others who are different, with those who didn’t follow the rules.
We are ill-prepared to share the love of God. Do we even want to? Is the gulf widening, the gap increasing? The world is getting scarier, we are struggling with our kids, and we don’t know how to lead by example.
I’m going to write some blogs about this. It will be a struggle, so hang in there.
Upcoming Blog Posts:
- Learning how to reach out, to care, to love, without judgement or condemnation.
- Teaching your kids to love others while keeping them spiritually strong.
- Helping them to love those who are different without falling into their behavior.
- Teaching your children to cope with bullying, how to stand up for themselves.
And others: Stay Tuned