The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
How to Be a Revolutionary Mother
Ann Voskamp writes at A Holy Experience about the power of revolutionary parenting, the kind of parenting that leans in, that listens, that cares, and that doesn’t leave a child to follow his own path, but draws him closer to the path of Christ.
- This is what good mothering, what good parenting does: We don’t say, “Do whatever you want, just be you.” We say, “Become whatever is the best version of you — just be like Him.” We will lay down and sacrifice and serve you with our lives — so that you can have the best kind of life. We will be the mothers and the fathers who are like Jesus, Jesus who reaches out to the woman caught in a mess: “I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” (John 8)
“Here I Raise Mine Ebenezer”: Ancient and Modern Outrage
At the end of 2014, Slate magazine dubbed the year, “the year of outrage.” As we seek to foster holy imagination in the children we love, we must somehow do so while we live in a world that is full of pain, horror, and destruction. Sarah Hudspeth reflects at Christ and Pop Culture on 2014 and 2015 about ancient and modern outrage—reminding us that we are not alone in our outrage against the brokenness of this world.
- Whether outrage in 1100 BC or outrage in 2015 AD, there’s physical and emotional torture at the nonsensical actions and injustice. I start throwing stone after stone onto a new Ebenezer, turning my face up to the sky, asking God, “Why? Are you seeing this?! Did you see that then?”Stone. Stone. Help. Stone. Help us, Jesus. Lord, have mercy. Come, Lord Jesus, and have mercy.“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21). And I realize my outrage isn’t the only outrage.Perhaps hashtags, righteous anger, piles of stones, watchtowers, and Ebenezers aren’t man-made testaments of our outrage for God to remember where God intervened but the way God asks us to remember: this is the world without me. This is the world without me as King. I am the Lord your God, and I am outraged. To remember what God wants us to remember about this world—and about who he is.
Loving Difficult People
We all have difficult people in our lives. While there is a measure of wisdom in protecting ourselves from some of them, others are just simply difficult, but not malicious. Some of them are our own children. How then, do we love them. How do we teach our families to do so? Stacy Reaoch addresses these questions in her piece at the Desiring God blog.
- It probably isn’t hard for you to think of a difficult person in your own life. In our broken, sin-filled world, they are everywhere. The co-worker who is willing to do anything to get ahead, including taking credit for your ideas. The in-laws who always seem to be peering over your shoulder, critiquing your parenting skills, and offering “suggestions” for improvement. The child who knows exactly how to push your buttons to leave you exasperated and flustered again. The person in your ministry who is constantly complaining about your leadership, who thinks he has better ideas and communicates them with a sharp and biting tongue. The passive-aggressive friend who is kind one moment and gives you the cold shoulder the next. The list can go on and on.So what do we do with these people? With constant strained relationships? Our natural tendency is to want to run the other way, to avoid them as much as possible. But is that what honors God in these hard situations?
Parenting in the Valley of Dry Bones
Ever feel like you’re in the Death Valley of parenting? Things aren’t going well, and haven’t for a long time. Kim Ransleben writes at the Desiring God blog about these seasons of parenting, reminding us that God was with Ezekiel when he faced the valley of dry bones.
- I have found it helpful to remember another hard place, a place where a man faced a dead, barren valley, helpless to change anything on his own. In Ezekiel 37, we read that God himself set Ezekiel down in the middle of the valley of dry bones. There was no sign of life, which is a lot like we can feel when faced with our children’s sins. Sometimes there are so many it’s often hard to even know where to begin — whether squabbles over a toy no one wanted the day before, or the refusal to say “thank you” when they should, or the incessant complaining when they don’t get what they want. It seems that everywhere you turn there is no hope to be found.As they age, the subject matter only gets more complicated and the consequences more life-altering. An attitude of superiority and callousness towards another’s suffering makes you wonder where your tender-hearted son went. They have friends who trouble you, tweets that alarm you, secrets that worry you. It all combines into one big valley of dust and death. Imagine gazing at a valley full of it and hearing the Lord ask you as he did Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”
Around the Warren:
Julie Silander shares this week about the dark side of “good” parenting.
- The origin of my daughter’s knack for messiness and love of all things creative and comfortable isn’t a mystery. The shiny little apple doesn’t fall from the proverbial tree. There’s a certain fulfillment that comes with seeing a smaller version of ourselves forging new territory in the world. In it’s purest form, the fulfillment reflects the heart of our Maker, who created His children in His own image. It was very good.But as the story unfolds, the simple enjoyment of our children’s image-bearing has a dark side.
“…too little impressed with the small…”
Words from Robert Capon. Paul Boekell’s graphic art.
Books that Build Character
My mom used to tell me that walking to the bus stop on cold winter mornings built character. I’m still not completely certain what she meant by that, but I’m quite certain that she didn’t leave the building of my character to those chilly early morning walks. Liz Cottrill give us some thoughts on books that build character, something beyond just the obedience and respect of our parents or simple, “love God, love others” mantras.
- Frequently, I am asked by parents in my library for a book on “character.” They want help in teaching their children about right and wrong, about virtue, about knowing how to make wise choices. Sometimes, they want a book specific to encouraging a certain character trait or overcoming a bad one, such as lying, or selfishness, or dealing with anger. Most often, they want some book that will impress their children with the need to respect and obey their parents.Important as these are, taking a child to Sunday school, reading the Bible, surrounding them with good role models, and talking to them about becoming a moral person doesn’t always seem to be enough. And, it truly isn’t. Thankfully, our wise and good Heavenly Father endowed us with some special capacities that help us naturally learn to live as He intended us to do, namely, learning through story, and, essential to it, the gift of our imagination.
Something to Do with Your Kids:
The folks over at KinderArt have some great ideas for fun things to do with milk cartons or milk jugs. So, no matter how your family consumes their cereal accompaniment, there’s something for you here: Learn more.
And Something to Watch
What do you get when you combine Josh Groban’s voice, Lindsey Stirling’s violin, Miss Piggy’s attitude, and Beaker’s ineptitude with electricity? Pure imagination:
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.