Unfundamentalist Parenting Round-Up
June 28, 2016
Most of you may know, at the end of February this year, I started a new blog over with Patheos blogging on the subject of Unfundamentalist Parenting. I am keeping my blog here at cindywords, because I still have internet thoughts and opinions that aren’t related to parenting. But the Patheos blog is a great way for me to share my message about raising kids with a faith worth passing on.
I’d of course love for each of you to hop over there and check out the blog. I have regular contributors and guest contributors as well as my own work. To give you a primer to it, I thought I would round up the top ten posts from the UP blog.
Why should children (and abuse survivors like Tamar) not express the same emotions that God does to evil? Allowing children to feel emotions, even negative ones, and to express those emotions is a fundamentally important part of healing from abuse. It is also fundamentally important to child development in general.
One of the most damaging things we can teach our children is that they’re supposed to be scared of God. This often happens in the context of teaching them about heaven and hell. I teach my sons that hell is the loneliness of always running away from God. Heaven happens when we are sensitive enough to hear God’s still, small voice of love.
Every single time my toddler watches Frozen & we get to the scene where Kristoff wants to kiss Anna, I say the same thing. “Lilly look! He asked for consent! That’s so awesome!” And we cheer. Every. Time.
White Christians have a long history of going into foreign countries and ridiculing and destroying other belief systems and cultures.
Being infatuated with judgment leads fundamentalists to thrive off of fear instead of hope or any other form of positive inspiration. They’re religious pessimists who view God as a Divine Grouch that is just waiting to destroy humanity because of its incessant sin.
What will I tell her about God? How will I teach her about Hope and Grace and Jesus without passing down some of the fear-based teachings I absorbed at church as a child? I felt an urgency to figure it all out so I can give her all the Right Answers Right Away.
The constant stress of categorizing good vs. bad brings about a faith crisis which ends in them either rejecting their childhood faith OR a rigid persistence that the only God that is real is the one inside the bubble, who begins to look vey small and irrelevant indeed.
One significant problem I have with fundamentalist parenting models is that most of them deny children, either implicitly or explicitly, the right to their own decisions on their own terms—even with regards to deeply personal, spiritual matters.
We know what we don’t want. We don’t want to heap shame and guilt upon our kids for natural sexual desire. We don’t want them to think that their worth rests soley in the choices they make with their body. We don’t want our kids to experience the massive amounts of shame we did.
And so it begins, even as kids develop and eventually learn the nuances of Christian life, they are bearing the invisible baggage of fear that had them gripping for Jesus. The genesis of a relationship with a good and loving God is a child’s nightmare.
I am plugging away at my Unfundamentalist Parenting book this summer. I hope that when it is finished, it will be a valuable resource for parents who are seeking to raise children in a faith that looks more like Jesus, and a lot less like those seeking to win culture wars. If you’d like to stay posted on the news of when the book will come out, please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter by clicking on below button, and as a bonus, you can get my first book, Outside In, for free. Thanks very much!