I'll Never Understand This

Christopher Hitchens
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, it is time for me, once again, to put on my “naive religious person” hat and wonder why on earth people get offended over the stupidest things.

It has nothing to do with the recent decision to ban cross memorials for fallen state troopers in Utah because it allegedly is Christian proselytization forced on innocent motorists driving down the highway. That was a bit outrageous, and those judges should have their heads examined. The cross isn’t a Mormon symbol, and both the folks who erected the monuments and the troopers to whom the monuments were dedicated were Mormons. The cross has come to mean “grave marker” just as much as it symbolizes Christianity. For more information on that, see the related links below.

No, the subject of this post is one of far greater concern to me. Vjack of Atheist Revolution has written a post decrying prayers being offered for Christopher Hitchens’s recovery from cancer. He discusses why prayer, in this specific case, is offensive, then treats the broader issue of why prayer in general is offensive. Continue reading “I'll Never Understand This”

Pastor Dad

First off, before I forget, I have a post scheduled to appear on Wednesday on Josiah Concept Ministries analyzing the atheist argument that religion is inherited from parents and culture so it can’t be true. The final word count was 666. Omen? I hope not.

Recently, I had been reflecting on how I’m doing as a father. I think that I spend enough time with the kids; after all, I’m now taking care of them on Mondays and Wednesdays since we can no longer afford full-time child care. I’m looking at the book Geek Dad perhaps later on as we determine the permanence of the Monday/Wednesday situation. That will hopefully help me with some more activities for the kids, as I really don’t want us to sit around and watch TV everyday. That gets old quick.

Ashleigh always wants to play with me. She’s genuinely excited when I come home from work. She’s always waiting for me when I come in the door. She’s as proud of who I am as I am of who she is; she is quick to introduce me to everyone as her daddy.

Gabriel, in his own way, shows me love. He gets a big smile on his face when he sees me, and starts kicking his little feet. He likes when I hold him up high, and when I tickle him. I can make him smile real big even when he is in the middle of crying hard.

I take all of that as signs that the kids love me, and that I’m meeting their emotional and physical needs to whatever expectations they may have.

But I don’t think that I do enough spiritually for the children. I don’t read the Bible to them or pray with them. The only time I mention God at all is when we’re getting ready for church. I’m essentially sending the message to them the God is someone we only think about on Sundays. This isn’t so, and I know that isn’t true. I now need to teach the kids what is true.

Justin Hyde posted a great article on The Resurgence about pastoring the family. He said:

Husbands/dads, don’t clock-out on your way home; be ready to be present and engaged; don’t let your kids or wife expect to hear your formulaic: “I’m tired;” turn your phone off (I recently read something like this: “If you touched your wife as much as you touch your iPhone your marriage would be in a much better spot.”); cancel your cable TV; repent of your addiction to new projects, hobbies, and distractions.

This is good advice. There are many days when I come home and I just want to crash. But I should be ready instead to spend time with my kids. The advice on building a routine doesn’t apply to me, since I don’t have a 9 to 5 job. I will have to make as much time for praying together and Bible study with the kids as I can. This means some prep time on my part.

Through that article, I was able to download a copy of Mark Driscoll’s e-book, Pastor Dad. Good starts, both of them. But, I want to dig a little deeper. So I found some additional books on introducing the Bible to children:

To apply all of this, I will need to set aside some time each night to read and study the Bible with Ashleigh, Gabe, and Jody. Of course, Gabe’s not going to be able to participate just yet, but that will change later on. The reading will have to be short, because I know Ash is not going to sit for a long time and listen to me read. Then, we’ll have question and answer time. The key is to be interactive and engaging.

Then, we should have a family prayer where I ask each their intentions, and then offer praise and thanks for God and his blessings, along with the others’ intentions.

I want to make something like that as close to a nightly thing as possible. With my schedule, that’s not always going to happen, as I work late nights and closes occasionally (read: more often than not). But I will still be able to set aside some time to do all of this.

Getting Jody on board shouldn’t be a problem at all. Part of me thinks that she has been waiting for me to take the initiative in doing this, since it is the responsibility of the husband to teach his family in the ways of the Lord. I know she’ll be supportive, as a Proverbs 31 woman should: “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (vv 10-12). I know Jody fears the Lord: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (v 30).

She will help me, and help I will need always. I need to take more responsibility in the spiritual development of my own children, else I could lose them to the rising tide of skepticism. I know this tide all too well, fighting on the front lines as a Christian apologist. Up till now, I’ve been concerned about the spiritual welfare of complete strangers on the Internet. It is time to turn that concern to my own house, and channel at least some of the energy I’ve been using online into helping my children know the truth of Jesus, and help them place their faith in him who saves “to the uttermost all those who draw near to God through him” (Heb 7:25).

Explaining God to a Two Year Old

Until I attempted to explain the concept of God to my two-year old daughter, Ashleigh, it never occurred to me how complex some of this really is.

I was strapping her in to her car seat to go to church, and she said that we were going to see Mimi and Papa (that is, her grandparents). I said, “No, we’re going to church to see God!” I realized my blunder (Jn 1:18), and hoped that Ashleigh wouldn’t notice.

Of course, she seized the opportunity right away and as we were driving kept saying, “We go to church. See God.”

I finally said, “We can’t actually see God, sweetie. But we can see Jesus! Of course, he isn’t going to be at church. But we will learn about him.”

After considering that statement for a moment, Ashleigh asked, “The bad man get Jesus?”

“Nope,” I said. “Jesus defeated the bad man. For good!”

After a few more minutes, Ashleigh said, “We no see God. God no at church.” Laugh now, and laugh hard, my atheist readers. She’s only two and doesn’t get concepts like “immaterial,” “spirit,” or “omnipresent.” Don’t read too much into her statement.

I said, “No, honey, God is everywhere. We just can’t see him.” She seemed to consider this, but didn’t ask any more questions or make any additional statements related to church or God. Sometime, I need to have a more detailed conversation with her about God and Jesus, but not while I’m trying to concentrate on the road.

New Stuff!

Rook Hawkins has posted his commentary on the Resurrection (3 months ago… nothing like covering current events!) over on his “Blog of a Critical Historian.”  I’m planning on reviewing that and writing a response to it.  Assuming that there’s anything to actually respond to.

Deludedgod has written an essay about morality in the absence of God, which I will also read and write a response to.  Look for those under the Articles tab soon.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I will begin work on the NIV Quiz that I’m so tired of KJV Onlyists passing around uncritically.  That should hopefully be up by the end of the week.

With the potential of receiving some donation money from church, I also need to work on a ministry outlook for the rest of the year so that I can figure out a budget.  It is really difficult to write, post in forums, work on management tasks, and also work at Burger King.  One might say that I have my hands full compared to others who just do this work full time and don’t have a day job!

On top of all that, I also need to spend time with my wife!  Naturally, this takes priority over everything else.  The sad part is, I don’t get to see her nearly often enough between my work schedule and ministry time.  I miss her.  😦