Manhood at the Master’s Feet

The Psalms and Matthew 18-19 tell us that manhood is more than bullets, brawn, and beast-killing. Jesus was the manliest man who ever lived, and he bounced children on His knee:

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Matthew 19:13-15, ESV)

Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,” but American men say, “Leave the children to the women, I’ve got hunting to do,” – as though killing animals, even to feed your family’s bodies, is more important than spending time with them to feed their souls.

Jesus says, “Children are a blessing;” American men say, “Children are a burden,” – as though pouring one’s life into someone else’s is not the best use of our relational time on this earth.

Cultural views of manhood reduce children to annoyances, play-toys, or “choices.” Jesus has a better stance: children get blessings, and they give blessings.

Dads and would-be dads out there, maybe instead of listening to Planned Parenthood, mainstream media, or hip-hop artists, we should sit at the Master’s feet.

How to Produce Wet, Spineless, Feeble-Minded Men

Why are Western churches full of women, spineless men, and fewer and fewer children? Robbie Low, a vicar in the Church of England, investigates this trend in his Touchstone article, “The Truth about Men and Church.” After explaining a Swiss survey linking a father’s influence to his children’s church attendance, Low illumines various connections between fatherhood and the church: the church’s mission, feminism in the culture, the disintegration of the family, and the training of church leaders.

On the last connection, he drops this hammer of a quote on Western church culture:

One does not need to go very far through the procedures by which the Church of England selects its clergy or through its theological training to realize that it offers little place for genuine masculinity. The constant pressure for “flexibility,” “sensitivity,” “inclusivity,” and “collaborative ministry” is telling. There is nothing wrong with these concepts in themselves, but as they are taught and insisted upon, they bear no relation to what a man (the un-neutered man) understands them to mean.

Men are perfectly capable of being all these things without being wet, spineless, feeble-minded, or compromised, which is how these terms translate in the teaching. They will not produce men of faith or fathers of the faith communities. They will certainly not produce icons of Christ and charismatic apostles. They are very successful at producing malleable creatures of the institution, unburdened by authenticity or conviction and incapable of leading and challenging. Men, in short, who would not stand up in a draft.

The feminized church produces feminized men.

Though the characteristics named (“flexibility,” “sensitivity,” “inclusivity,” and “collaborative ministry”) don’t seem at first glance to be emasculating, Low explains what a feminized church really wants from their leaders: malleability, spinelessness, feeble faith.

In case we have forgotten, sensitivity, flexibility, inclusivity, and colloborative ministry aren’t fruits of the Spirit. Neither are they characteristics of Christian leaders. The Bible does tell us, however, of elders who “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Three of the primary jobs of the Christian leader are to hold fast the word, give sound instruction, and rebuke false teaching. Collaborating with false teachers in the name of “flexibility and inclusivity” won’t get that job done.

As Low puts it, then, the historical timeline for producing wet, spineless, feeble-minded pastors goes something like this:

  1. Fathers begin leaving families.
  2. Feminism (a “lie direct” in its name) takes hold in the culture.
  3. The Protestant church at large follows feminism as a controlling worldview.
  4. The church seeks more female leaders and more femininized male leaders.
  5. Unbelieving men leave the Protestant church en masse.
  6. Unbelieving men seek alternate views of manhood, exampled in womanizing, materialism, violence, and/or homosexuality.
  7. The Protestant church ignores these developments and continues in its unbelieving feminist ways, slightly tweaking its language to suit the culture.

Point #4 is where we want to zoom in. How exactly does the Protestant church tend to seek out female leaders and feminized male leaders? In my experience at least, it looks something like this:

  1. Manhood qua manhood is devalued and quickly neutered.
  2. Church language (contrary to the Bible’s language) becomes emasculated or neutered.
  3. Men, the local church, and families are soon evaluated in women’s terms.

If that seems a little far-fetched, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are men in the church more often lauded for flexibility rather than strength?
  • Why is conviction seen as a sign of rigid bone-headedness rather than faithful service?
  • Why are churches more concerned with the soft skills of counseling and customer service rather than the hard skills of rightly dividing the Word and refuting sound doctrine?
  • Why do more and more worship songs sound like sappy high school poetry than the marching hymns of the King of Kings?
  • Why has church discipline, the protection of Christ’s body, been so often traded for quiet conversations and the overlooking of apostasy?
  • Why do our churches feel more like coffee shops than battlefield hospitals?
  • Why do we ask pastors to rightly manage their homes but are repulsed when they actually discipline their children? (Both, after all, are in the same passages.)

When we begin to pick at the surface, we quickly see that with manhood everything is at stake. As Low puts it, rejecting God’s good order of patriarchy rejects all three persons of the Trinity. No wonder our churches are full of convictionless men when we train convictionless leaders in a convictionless gospel.

Stories and the Parental Power of Influence

It dawned on me tonight that, every time I tell my children a bedtime story, their story closely mirrors mine. That is to say, each child tells his or her own version of mine.

My story becomes his story coming out of his mouth, but I said it first.

Such bedtime stories are a perfect example of what it means to be a parent. We teach, lead, serve, and speak; and, one way or another, our children follow.

This is not to say that our children don’t often miss the point, or disobey, or squander sound instruction.  But they do get big chunks of what we tell and show them. They mimic our flaws and sins just like we do our parents, and they react against some just like they copy others.

Positively, however, our influence on and over our children is powerful. God has given parents the power and responsibility to teach their own children how to think, love, and live. We show our kids the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong, what family and service and love are, and what beliefs truly matter for the present and to eternity.

In short, parents mediate reality to their children. The way we start our days, speak to our spouses, and act at the dinner table (if we even have dinner) shapes priorities and an understanding of prominence for our children.

In so many ways, a parent’s life-story dictates the life-story of his children.

There’s a reason my children repeat my bedtime stories, and it’s not because my stories are so amazing. They repeat me because I’m their dad.

A Family Better than a Billion Bars

Working the late-night shift lately I’ve seen how easy it is for single men (and, sadly, too many married men) to architect shaky “friendships” with women. These men drink, they party, they say dirty things to these women and their friends. Despite themselves, they might even get a few phone numbers.

But what they never get is a real relationship. Not out there, at the Irish bar at two in the morning anyway.

What’s more is this: I know that I could easily be out there with them, if not for the mercy of God.

I would be out there with them because I enjoy hanging out with women. God made women beautiful, but not mainly on the outside. Ladies have a kind of joy, gentleness, compassion, and love for people that men like me find baffling.

So instead of leaving me to seek such false friendships in an unsafe, foolish, and evil way (read: flirting and fornication), my good Lord gave me a mother who exemplifies each of those. So I was blessed to know and grow up with my godly mother.

Through her prayers, God brought me my wife, whose beauty shines in her character, full of love, compassion, and service, then it shines through in her appearance. She is my glory, and I am blessed to know and be known by her better than anyone.

Though my wife, God gave me daughters to know and love. In their lives, I see how God has particularly shaped young women to show off Jesus.

And through the rest of my family, grandmothers, my mother-in-law, aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins, and nieces to boot, God has give me a family literally full of godly women. In such a family, He graciously protects me from my sin while showing me the beauty of Jesus in the character of these godly women. I am truly blessed.

The Bible teaches the same principle in places like 1 Timothy 5:1-2:

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

While there is always more to the Scriptures and never less, one of the things Paul is teaching Timothy is that, in the Lord, we have safe familial relationships in the church. Men, we are meant to treat younger women as sisters, not lust-targets. We know this because God says we are to encourage these ladies “in all purity.”

In the Lord, I have a family better than a billion bars. I praise Him for my wife and the so many more godly women in my life.

To the Wicked, Grace Doesn’t Come First


[photo by Mr. Stein on flickr]

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a fellow school administrator about how to deal with our lawless students. She firmly believed that we, as educators, ought to give students as much grace as possible before giving them law. This, to her, was exactly how we “show Christ’s love.” I disagreed then, and I still do. Here’s why: this principle is the exact opposite of God’s.

God gives law to the proud and grace to the humble. As Ray Comfort says, “You will never see the Lord Jesus giving grace to a proud, arrogant, self-righteous person. He doesn’t do it.” But, where Ray applies it mainly to evangelism (and we should), I’m applying it to all of our dealings with others, particularly with children.

Thinking Like a Child
When I was a child (I might say with Paul), I thought as a child. I hated law. And as a young adult, I mostly still did. I remembered my angry chaffing at “legalistic” teachers and principals and didn’t want to be like them. But, even as a child, I knew it was worse for teachers to give a pass to a prideful child (sometimes even their own child!) instead of giving them their lawful consequences.

But as time in the classroom went on, I became a father, too. And I learned the truth that, in this fallen world, everything still runs on rules and regulations. It’s just the way things go, because that’s the way God wants the world to operate. He wants us to learn the principle of sowing and reaping. He wants us to learn His economy of sin and consequences. He wants us to know about motives, actions, and just deserts.

False Grace Barricades True Righteousness
Isaiah makes this perfectly clear when he preaches in Isaiah 26:9-10:

    When your judgments are in the earth,
        the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
    If favor is shown to the wicked,
        he does not learn righteousness;
    in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
        and does not see the majesty of the LORD.

Here’s the proposition: If grace (“favor” in verse 10) is given to the wicked, then that false showing of grace obscures the wicked man’s ability to “learn righteousness.” In other words, to the arrogant, a lying grace barricades true righteousness. And, since true righteousness is the display of God’s glory, this lying grace further blinds him from “see(ing) the majesty of the LORD,” (verse 10).

Therefore, any insistence on grace to the proud is:

  1. A lie. Grace to the proud is not true grace.
  2. Dishonorable and degrading to the name and character of God. It mangles His majesty and rends His righteousness.
  3. Harmful and dishonest to the proud student. This slithering, mangling “grace” teaches no grace at all, but pictures a cuckhold of a God who winks at our sin.

Law Isn’t Evil
But it feels so “mean” to use the law, right? The law is good, Paul says, when it is used lawfully. It is for the evil, adulterous, dishonest, greedy, sexually immoral, violent, and oppressive people in our midst. We ought to use it. We must use it.

But using the law doesn’t mean that we must use it with a legalistic spirit. The law must be the tutor to bring people to Christ. So use it, teachers, to show your own conscience and that of your students that we have all failed before God’s holiness and stand in need of His mercy. Then, your consequences must be fair, just, quick, and loving, given with an eye toward repentance and restoration.

The Use and Consequences of Law
Consequences should match the crimes. For example, when a student skips class, she should receive a zero for the day and come back after school to make the class up, missing any extracurriculars or other commitments. When a student steals something, he needs to return it, pay it back again, and receive a in-school manual labor suspension. When a student cheats on a test, he has earned the right to get a zero on that test, no opportunity to replace the grade, and a short-term suspension. Anything less than these consequences teach students a lie about God’s character and His economy in the world.

But all of these very fair consequences must also be used redemptively, with the stated goal of repentance (reparations and consequences aren’t necessarily repentance) and restoration. Once the student deals with her consequences and returns, she must be as full a part of the school as her own attitude will allow.

The Economy of God
These things must be so because this is how God has structured our lives in a fallen world. We need the law to teach us right from wrong, we need it to establish boundaries and standards in our lives, and we need it to teach us that we are unable to live up to God’s holiness. Indeed, we must never think that anything but the blood of Jesus can save us.

Proverbs 22:15 says it this way:
    Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
        but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

And all the parents, youth workers, and teachers say, “Amen.” We must discipline and apply the law and its consequences, as is appropriate regarding our calling and relationships, in order to teach people the majesty of God.

When a law-breaker learns to stand before the enthroned King and say, “Woe is me! I am undone!” then he is well-positioned, the Bible says, to cry out for mercy to the Son of David, the King of Israel, the Christ of God, who kept the law in the place of everyone who repents and believes.

So don’t give the wicked in your midst a false grace, give them the very real law and its consequences, that it would train them toward Jesus Christ.

Want Your Child’s Heart?

Show them how to give it away, says Doug Wilson, just like our Father shows us how.

The 2nd-Most Misquoted Verse (Not) in the Bible

…is Proverbs 13:24 (at least in my estimation. I’ll leave #1 for another time). So how would you finish the famous saying that misquotes this verse?

Try it for yourself:
“Whoever spares the rod ______”

Most people reply, “spoils the child.”

Nooooo. Let’s read Proverbs 13:24 together:

Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Winking at a child’s sin isn’t just “spoiling” a child. God isn’t saying lazy parents are the same as gift-happy grandparents. He says that lazy parents hate their children. Lazy parents are the opposite of loving parents. Lazy parents actually aren’t parents at all.

Contrary to pop-psychological opinions, however, loving parents are precisely the ones who are “diligent to discipline.” They don’t tire over discipline because they truly love their children. They don’t give up when the discipline gets tough; love gets them through it. They aren’t quitters when their child’s sin threatens to break their resolve. They discipline because of love.

This is important because, to their children particularly, parents picture God. Parents model the Almighty before their children. This is the parent’s charge.

No wonder we have so many grown children who have no concept of sin! Their parents never taught them through discipline the gravity of offending the King! Their parents never taught them God’s holy hatred for sin! And, in sparing the rod, these parents hated their children’s souls.

So, don’t misquote Proverbs 13:24. Sparing the rod is one big way that parents hate their own children, but diligence in discipline is love. It’s happy in the long run. It’s good.

Farley, His Father, Being Funny, and the Facade

This post isn’t necessarily timely to any current news, except that I read The Chris Farley Show, a 2008 biography on the beloved late comedian by his brother, Tom Farley Jr., and Tanner Colby. From nearly every eyewitness account in the book, the first act of Chris’ life goes like this: he had every material advantage, but his father preferred the false strength of silence to truly caring for his son. This created massive holes in Chris’ young life that he quickly used comedy, and later alcohol and drugs, to fulfill.

Tom Farley, Sr., by accounts from his own children, was a man addicted to appearance, food, and alcohol. His son Chris soon followed, except that he used humor to cover his own fears about his stocky build. As Chris grew up, he learned that laughs could gain him everything he wanted: lasting friendships, barroom memories, pick-up lines with women, and even his father’s approval. As his brother Kevin says on p. 19, “What was most important to Chris, really, was that he made people laugh.”

What followed is well-chronicled. Chris became another cliche: the troubled actor who couldn’t curtail his drug-fueled steamroll to death. He died of a cocaine and morphine overdose and a massive heart attack, probably weighing at the time over four hundred pounds. He was thirty-three.

Lessons Learned
Reading such a book might lead us to despair. “What can we gain from all this destruction?” Much, in the way of warnings:

1. Being Fake Can Be Fatal. From the beginning, the Farley family was conditioned to avoid, cover up, and joke about their own very real problems.

…And when Chris almost went out the window, . . . We acknowledged that Chris had a problem. Except for Dad. He would never even mention the incident. And of course there was no discussion that Dad’s drinking might be a problem. Never. [p.129, Kevin Farley]

Again:

In Chris’ case that aversion to dealing with matters openly would be even more multiplied, because if Chris had an eating and a drinking problem, that would mean somebody else in the room (his father) had an eating and a drinking problem. [p.130, Father Matt Foley]

2. Idols Come Back to Kill. The Farleys were raised to avoid and cover up their problems, but within thirteen months both Chris and his father died early deaths from alcoholism and overeating:

We lived in a make-believe world. We were living with the elephant in the room – the literal elephant in the room – that no one wanted to talk about. My dad weighed six hundred pounds by the time he died. But Dad wasn’t overweight. Dad didn’t drink too much. Dad was just Dad. [p.34, Tom Farley]

But time would tell the truth:

The Farleys had this image they projected. . . They would do a lot of different things to cover their problems up. But when you look at the family now, you can see how much of a facade it all was. [p.34, Robert Barry]

3. A Father Really Does Matter. In many ways, everything Chris did was to please his father. But, as the earlier quotes show, this father had all the wrong goals for his son.

You cannot understand Chris Farley without grappling with the relationship between him and his father. That was the dominant force in his life. He talked to his father every day on the phone, and was constantly trying to please him. [p.279, Father Tom Gannon]

4. Your Sins Are Still Yours. Ultimately, Chris Farley is responsible for what Chris Farley did.

You can’t blame your circumstances, and after a certain point you can’t even blame your father. You can’t blame him; you have to have compassion for him. It all comes down to you, and you’ve got to be a man about it. [p.282, Tom Arnold]

As Ecclesiastes 12:14 says,

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

5. You Can’t Build Your Life on People. Chris lived to make his dad happy and to make others laugh, but in the end it left him lonely, helpless, and suicidal.

The first people we know as God are our parents. And if you don’t get approval from your parents, eventually you can mature and find that from other places. But Chris was never able to do that. He was never able to find it from God or anyone else. [p. 279, Tim O’Malley]

And there’s the lesson most worth learning: when you trust in anyone other than Jesus for your approval, your life will forever be ruined.

Son, Get Ready to Carry a Load

Ten Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me, Pt. 2:
Son, Get Ready to Carry a Load

In part 2, we turn to finances. Working at home for an allowance and getting a high-school job are just baby steps, and living as a single college student and then a grad is kindergarten stuff. Providing for an entire family is the real deal (I’m assuming here that, for the health of your future marriage and family, you want your wife to work really hard . . . in your home).

Here’s what changes: when you’re a child and a young man living at home, you pay zero of your own bills. Your parents do it all (see where this is going?). When you’re a single man in college, and even after, you likely split your bills with your many roommates. Even if you don’t have roommates, it’s very unlikely that you’re supporting anyone else.

When you get married (“stop test-driving your girlfriend“) and subsequently have children (and you should), that all changes. All of it.

You are no longer “an army of one,” making cash and going out to play. You are now the captain of an army, all of whom depend on you to lead with love, provide with responsibility, and protect with thoughtfulness. Your home-army won’t be working jobs outside the home –  and, even if your wife does, it’s still your job to provide.

All of the financial responsibility for your wife, your children, yourself, and anyone else you should take in along the way now falls on you. Just you.

So what do we do? Three things:

  1. Ask God for help. We can’t faithfully lead and love our families without special grace. Unbelieving fathers may do it here and there, but they can’t even lead their own children to Christ. We need Jesus to help us, gentlemen. Learn that in prayer first.
  2. Be on the lookout for your calling as a worker. This is known as “vocation,” and you find it not by looking mainly inside but outside at the places and ways you can best serve. I used to be afraid of having a career, as though it would define me. Now I see it as a service to others.
  3. Mentally prepare yourself for raising a family. This takes deliberate thought and preparation. Am I going to spend this money on another movie or save it for an engagement ring? Am I going to buy another shirt or spend it on books for my son? Even if you’re young yet, these thoughts will help you prepare.

I could wish that I had known these things, but God has been gracious. Leading a family is a load of work, but it’s a happy burden when carried along by Christ.

****
Ten Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me:

  1. Son, You’re Going to Get Dirty 
  2. Son, Get Ready to Carry a Load

Ten Ways Children Are a Blessing

In reminding our pro-death, self-centric culture that children are a blessing, not a curse, I wanted to also show several practical ways children make our lives and world a better place:

  1. Children teach you that you don’t know it all.
  2. Children force you out of your comfort zone.
  3. Children teach you that you still need a Father, a Comforter, and a Savior.
  4. Children remind you that there are very many real things to fear.
  5. Children make you slow down.
  6. Children help you to enjoy life.
  7. Children remind us that our souls are made for more than this life.
  8. Children flip your world upside down and remind you that it’s not about you.
  9. Children remind us to make the most of every moment.
  10. Children remind us that we are always as helpless as they are before God.

Son, You’re Going to Get Dirty

Ten Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me, Pt. 1:
Son, You’re Going to Get Dirty

Today begins a ten-part series on advice I wish my dad had taught me. First up (only because it’s been on my mind lately): being a dad means cleaning up waste, junk, unclean matter. You get the idea.

From about the ages of seven to marriage, guys don’t deal with a lot of waste matter. We know how to eat meals without throwing milk on the floor (most of us), we don’t like to clean our bathrooms (mostly everyone), and we keep our clothes neat (okay, 60/40 split). All these come from the same desire: avoiding dirt, junk, and excrement.

But when you get married and have children, gentlemen, that all changes. Children volley food onto kitchen surfaces like it’s Wimbledon, drag all manner of sticks and stones into your living room a la James Audobon (“ooh, look at this!”), and (sooner or later, new parents) have many potty accidents all over your house. I mean all over your house.

A few months ago, our potty-training child had accidents in the closet, in the hallway, in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, and beside the toilet (!!!) all in a span of three weeks. I’m learning that I can’t control it, but I do wish my dad had taught me. So I’m telling you: it’s going to get dirty.

Your house is going to get dirty and your kids are going to get dirty, so you’re going to get dirty. You’re going to do the dirty work because you can’t conscientiously ask your wife to do it all the time. You just can’t. It’s not fair and it’s not right. You need to man up, grab the bucket and rags, and get to work.

So dudes out there who think you’re ready to marry that girl and start a family, know this: you’re going to get dirty. And, if you love the sacrifice of Jesus to take on all of your dirty sins, you’ll love this little gospel-picturing sacrifice, too.

You Can Take the Woman Away from the Daddy . . .

But you can’t take the Daddy out of her heart, writes Wall Street Journal reporter Peggy Drexler in “Daughters and Dad’s Approval.” Drexler found that even the most professionally-accomplished feminists still longed for their fathers’ approval:

Good father, bad father, indifferent father, absent father: In my work with the women whose stories form the heart of my book, I encountered them all. The stories are as different as the women themselves. But I found one thing time and again: Our fathers are a potent and enduring part of ourselves.

And it’s all a reminder of the stamp on every heart to long for the Father who will never leave His own.

On Teaching and Parenting Boys

As long as our country’s young men and grown men are in masculine confusion, we all are in need of help from all angles. Here are some direct suggestions for parents, teachers, and children in this Scholastic.com article, “Boy Trouble?“:

Encourage more boys to take leadership roles in school. By the time boys get into high school, girls dominate in all kinds of extracurricular activities—newspaper, chess club, yearbook, dramatics, student government—except for sports. Yet, participating in these nonacademic school activities ensures that students are an active part of the school community. They also teach leadership and responsibility and give students an opportunity to practice time-management skills. Get more dads involved in school…

Dads boast about never missing their sons’ soccer games, but when teachers invite parents into the classroom, it is mostly moms who show up…

Moms shouldn’t be the only ones checking homework, signing the report card, and reading the bedtime story, either. Little boys need to see men reading in order to understand the importance of becoming literate men.Hire more good male teachers.The number of male teachers is now at a 40-year low. What keeps men out? Male teachers, particularly those in the lower grades, complain that they are often treated with suspicion. When male teachers do get hired, they tend to move into administration faster than women.

In other words, the article says schools should:

  • Put boys into leadership (like the Bible says).
  • Teach boys to round out their character beyond athletics (like the Bible says).
  • Teach boys leadership, responsibility, and time-management (like the Bible says).
  • Call on grown men to live out their responsibilities as husbands, fathers, and leaders (like the Bible says).
  • Encourage fathers to lead in reading to their children (like the Bible says we should do in reading the Bible!).
  • Look for male teachers of character and integrity, and treat them as such (like the Bible says we should treat male leaders worthy of honor).

Again and again, the Bible speaks timelessly to these issues. Now we must listen.

How would your home, church, or school change for the better if young men and grown men lived out their God-given roles?

The Most Traumatic and Harmful Event for Children: Divorce

From The Wall Street Journal‘s review of the book,The Longevity Project

Some of the findings in “The Longevity Project” are surprising, others are troubling. Cheerful children, alas, turned out to be shorter-lived than their more sober classmates. The early death of a parent had no measurable effect on children’s life spans or mortality risk, but the long-term health effects of broken families were often devastating. Parental divorce during childhood emerged as the single strongest predictor of early death in adulthood. The grown children of divorced parents died almost five years earlier, on average, than children from intact families. The causes of death ranged from accidents and violence to cancer, heart attack and stroke. Parental break-ups remain, the authors say, among the most traumatic and harmful events for children.

So apparently issues like marriage and divorce do matter, if only to our children.

Parents, Your Little Girl’s Premature Sexuality is Your Fault

LZ Granderson says, “Parents, Don’t Dress Your Girls Like Tramps” over at CNN.com:

And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the “Ashley”, the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergartners if they didn’t think people would buy it.

If they didn’t think parents would buy it, which raises the question: What in the [edited] is wrong with us?

It’s easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what’s appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

So he raises a good question: why do parents continue to buy their little girls clothing that can only be described as overtly sexual? Here are three reasons:

  1. These parents love popularity more than purity. The call of the world and instant fifteen-seconds-of-fame drums louder than the quiet whisper and coming judgment of and for purity.
  2. These parents love fame more than faithfulness. As Granderson says in this video interview,
    “We have a generation of cowardly parents. They don’t want to be
    uncool. They don’t have the courage and the thick skin to say ‘no’ and
    deal with the consequences.”
  3. These parents love ease more than eternity. It’s hard to say no when your child continues to ask you the same question over and again. It’s easier to say yes, sending them on a path of impurity that, Proverbs 5 and 7 teaches, leads straight to spiritual death. So who cares about eternity for your child?
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