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Archive for July 9th, 2008

I thought this might get some good laughs out of you all… remember… it is comedic not serious. đŸ™‚

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In light of recent events, blog posts, and discussions, I’ve been thinking about the Pearl’s with their To Train Up a Child book and No Greater Joy series. I have come to see how Vision Forum Ministries sells an ideal with it’s products. For them it’s an upper middle class nice family with godly children, and obedient wife, and a strong leader of a husband. The Pearl’s don’t sell an image like that, but I’ve come to believe that they do in fact, sell an image.

When I think of Michael Pearl with his long white beard, or their daughter leaving her wedding in a meadow on horseback, or the stories they tell of strong Christian women making a godly home with very little, I see that they’re selling the country ideal. Their ideal is a strong leader husband with a wife who is submissive, yes, but can probably butcher her own meat if need be, or shoot a gun. The children know which plants to touch and which berries to eat, and it’s okay to not teach them to read until they’re ten if they’re busy learning about their environment.

Vision Forum Ministries sells people on a family that is run under the guidance of the husband. No Greater Joy sells people on a family that is run with the the “rod”. Doug Phillips shows us an upscale pilgrim family ruled through simple faith and a family firmly under the dominion of the father. Michael Pearl gives us a simple pioneer family, who understand the dangers of the godless government, and rules the family through good honest fear and frequent trips to the woodshed.

Both want to convince us that there is something out there to be afraid of. For Vision Forum, it’s womens lib and feminism, and for the Pearls it’s the danger of parents who don’t discipline, and any discipline other than what they prescribe is plain permissiveness.

Both want us to be scared enough of what our families might become that we will look to them for the solution. Buy their books, buy their materials, and at all costs, buy their lifestyle. And both couch their teachings in biblical language and cherry picked scripture to bolster their arguments.

I remember being very confused when I was a Pearl follower. After reading their books I knew I had to be vigilant or my children would never learn perfect obedience and could be pulled away by the sin of the world. Then I read Michael Pearl say that we weren’t to parent in fear. Well, color me confused. As I read on, his idea was that we didn’t have to parent in fear because by doing what he said, we would be parenting God’s way and that we couldn’t go wrong. But it was hard to erase the fear that he had spent so much time building up with his dire predictions for my children if I did not switch them, and often.

Ultimately, I have decided that I don’t need to follow anyone who wants to lead through fear. Whether it’s fear of not being submissive enough, or fear of not parenting my children the right way, or fear that if I die before going to confession, I might not go straight to heaven.

I don’t have to be afraid anymore. I will never have perfect obedience from my children. I will never submit myself perfectly to the needs of my family, the authority of my husband, or my God. I will never have a day where I don’t sin in some way, fall short in some way, or fail in some way. But God will make up for my shortcomings. He knows I’m not perfect and He loves me anyway. I don’t have to buy an image, or a solution for the worlds ills. Because He is the answer, the way, the truth, and the life. He gave me this family and we just have to be who we are, imperfect and ever striving to be all He created us to be. How wonderful is that?

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In Christ Alone

I was listening to one of my favorite songs tonight and was buoyed by it’s strong and faithful lyrics:

“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

(bolding mine)

Suddenly it occurred to me that this is my faith. By faith alone, through Christ alone. And suddenly I realized that I’m done with all the pondering on whether or not I could remain a Catholic. I can’t. The problem is that really, deep down, I’m a Protestant.

There is much I will always admire about the Catholic Church. I love traditions that bring peace in times of chaos. But ultimately, at the core of everything, my faith is in Christ alone. And not only am I at peace with that, but I feel real joy because of it.

And this is not to condemn the Catholic Church or Catholics. But the most scholarly, well read, educated, and faithful Catholics I know all have something they want to change. I wish them the best. Now the question is, where do I go from here?

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