Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Is Parenting Really That Complicated?

I’ll admit it, I don’t really read too many parenting books.  Or any, for that matter.  That probably stems more from my arrogance than anything else.  But it is, partially, because everyone has a theory and can back up their theory with all sorts of statistics and anecdotes.  They can’t all be right, but they might all be wrong.  My approach has generally been to watch the families I admire and learn from them.

But I loved Kevin DeYoung’s post from yesterday, Parenting 001.  It’s probably the most level-headed thing I’ve read on parenting in quite some time, and highly recommend it.  Did I say “highly?” 

Now, his post deals more with older kids than what I currently have (we have a 2 year old girl and a 5 month old boy), but I can easily apply his thoughts to my situation (again, go read it right now).  I’m thankful for my church community where there are varying styles of parenting babies and toddlers, yet very little pressure from people to do it “their way.”  Among our close circle of friends we have attachment parenting folks, hard core schedulers and everyone in between (of course, we have the perfect balance, right?).  Yet my wife and I have never felt judged by those who choose a different approach than we do.

The fact is that if your kid learns to sleep in a crib from Day 1, or doesn’t leave your bed until Day 1001, chances are it won’t determine your child’s future.  Thankfully, our God is bigger than a parenting philosophy.

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I have two young boys, and every year my wife and I face the question, “What do we do with Santa Claus?”  Harmful?  Innocuous?  Demonic?  Idolatrous?  Innocent fun?  I would gather that most readers of this blog have had enough contact with contemporary Christian culture to know the threads of debate that surround the rotund gift-giver in red.  The Santa question really stems from a larger, more general question:  What do we do with American holidays?  Dare I mention the Easter Bunny, or even (gasp) Halloween?

The holiday issue is ultimately a “Christ and culture” issue.  How are we “in” but not “of” the world?  Consistent with my desire to run against Danny’s grain, I submit a holiday edition of 4 orderly nonentities (contra “5.5 random things”).  With a little more time, I could extend this list ad nauseum, but they are among those on the front-burner of my mind this season (and I needed an even integer to counter Danny’s odd decimal):

1. To level the field, let’s remember that a good amount of American Christian culture has non-Christian roots.  We cannot deny that the West has put a stamp on how we express Christianity.  From art (e.g., halos on saints) to (most) worship services being held on Sunday to the very dates we observe Christian holidays, none enjoy Biblical support, and most have legendary or pagan origins and influences.  We also tend to celebrate, in varying degrees, plenty of secular days without compunction: birthdays, the 4th of July, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother’s Day, etc.

2. I would wager that few of us are consistent with how we celebrate the holidays, with our personal preferences weighing more heavily than our theology.  Perhaps you will play along with Santa Claus, but the Easter Bunny really chafes you.  You won’t buy gifts during Christmas, but you will buy gifts for birthdays.

3. Abuse does not preclude proper use.  Perhaps Christmas has become a hopelessly corrupt orgy of consumerism, insincere well-wishing, and other vices that de-Christ Christmas.  That doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the Lord’s birth in a God-honoring way.

4. We must be mindful of Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 8, and consider how our actions affect those around us.  Perhaps for you Halloween has always been a harvest-themed celebration involving costumes and candy; that’s all you practice, and it is little more.  For others, Halloween may be the very picture of overt occultism.  By extension, consider your witness outside the Church.  What distinguishes you from the rest during Christmas time?

When all the chips are on the table, I am always suspicious of pat answers to “Christ and culture” questions, especially those of the knee-jerk variety.  There are numerous factors, some of which are quite subtle, worth bringing to bear on decisions about how to be “in” but not “of.”  In large measure, I believe that the process is more important than the result.  What’s driving our decision one way or another?  What is our ultimate goal or focus?  Are our decisions Biblically informed, prayerfully considered, and gospel-centered?  Are they rooted in self-righteousness, self-justification or pride?  Are we seeking God’s glory above all else, or are we after comfort, fitting in, or some other lesser – however noble – good?  Do we consider alternate viewpoints with charity or swift condemnation?  To paraphrase a recent quote from the beloved D.A. Carson, “Are you contending for the gospel, or are you contentious about the gospel?”

I’d be interested if any readers would like to comment on how they handle the holidays, secular or religious.  Even better if you have a few principles that you use as guides to decision-making.  You may consider Christmas only if you need a narrower scope. Gifts?  Santa?  Tree?  Stockings?  Fancy dinner?  Midnight vigils?  Tell all.

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Welcoming the Newest Boston Bible Geek

My wife, Lisa, and I welcomed our first child to the world last week.  Mary Margaret Pierce was born on 4/15; both mom and baby are doing well.  You can check her out at our family blog.  At some point I’ll resume posting here, but I’m sure you’ll forgive my inactivity in the meantime.

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Introducing Mary Pierce

Okay, so this is a completely selfish post, but 50% of this site belongs to me, so I can be selfish at some point. 

Believe it or not, by some strange oversight in the laws of our country, I, Danny Pierce, am allowed to procreate.  Thus, I celebrate in the manner most appropriate to my generation: a family blog.  Go check out the first pictures of my daughter, Mary, who is actually still in the womb.  I suppose you’ll also see pictures of my wife and me.  I’m the one with the beard.  She’s the one who is with child.  Enjoy.

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