While we’re on the subject of parents learning as they go, starting from the early naivete of being a new parent and having your early fears and idealism exploited by some author’s misbegotten plan that’s more analogous to obedience-training your dog, growing prize tomatoes, or losing 10 pounds in 14 days on the peel-a-pound banana diet than analogous to how Jesus calls us to treat other human beings, especially those who are small and inexperienced in the ways of life, I wanted to pass on a great set of observations from Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk. (He’s not really a monk. He has taught high school English for many years at a Baptist boarding school in Appalachia, is married and has two adult kids.)
Sometimes I hear things Christian parents do (hot sauce on the tongue was the last one) and I have to wonder at what point we gave ourselves permission to think like this. We aren’t training dogs here. It’s a whole different matter. This is someone made in God’s image. There are no buttons and levers.
“At what point we gave ourselves permission to think like this” is a phrase that’s been ringing in my mind. I appreciate him saying it because there is so little else to be said about the casual brutality that, for example, Michael and Debi Pearl promote in their books and magazines. They have a breezy, folksy, even warm-hearted “take no prisoners” approach that leaves me at a loss for words. If you think breeziness, warm-heartedness and “take no prisoners” don’t belong in the same sentence, then you grasp some of the difficulty of rationally deconstructing their advice. It boils down to, “how in the world did you get from point A to point Q without tripping over the big flashing insanity barrier?”