Monday, August 20, 2007

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

by Mary E. DeMuth

Available in paperback. Harvest House Publishers, 2007; ISBN: 0736918620; 250 pages.

Do we need another parenting book? Well, this is a different kind and so the answer is yes --- but not any more. Mary has done a fantastic job looking at parenting outside of cultural definitions. This book is not about modern vs. postmodern parenting, though she does touch on that. This book is about consistent Christ-filled parenting in spite of the culture. It is a timeless resource for parents of this generation and many to follow.

What is meant by "authentic parenting"? Rather than brutal honesty, it is simply a lack of hypocrisy. Christianity in America often favors the picture-perfect family. Appearances matter. We want everyone to think we've got it all together. We also cling to our sub-culture, our Christian bubbles, rather than engaging the lost culture around us. Well, the truth is we're human and so no one has it all together. Secondly, Scripture tells us to be in the world, but not of it. We can't be in it, if we refuse to acknowledge it. Mary's book encourages believers to be authentic, not just in their Christianity, but in their parenting as well.Authentic parenting (as detailed in this book) is conversational in nature. Children and parents learn together and from each other (a truth laced throughout this blog and my writing from the beginning). Parents create a haven where children can be children safely. They seek out the treasures hidden in their kids and encourage them with optimism.

"Whatever we believe, we will pass, overtly or subliminally, to our children, who will then use what we have taught them as a filter through which they will view all of life," (p. 49). The difference between this book and other parenting books discussing culture is the persistence of absolute truth. As Christians we know experience may be relative, but truth is not. Society is moving closer and closer to having no definition of truth whatsoever. But God is truth. He is the definition. As Christian parents, we must instill the knowledge and respect of this Truth in our children while preparing them to live in a culture that refuses to acknowledge it.I highly recommend this powerful book. You can read an excerpt from the book by clicking here.

Here is a glimpse of Mary's heart via quotes from this book: "What bothers me [is] all the pontificating. It's as if we've lost Jesus in the midst of our very intellectual discussions about postmodernity. ... And all the while we write and talk and parent, using words, but not living them out. ... Jesus is a person. He is more than mind. He is even more than words. Perhaps we do ourselves a disservice by if we allow our minds to intellectualize everything. I preach this to myself. I love words, make a living from them. But I don't want to be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus. I don't want to forget Him -- He who rescued me from myself, sin, hell. ... I pray that [when asked how I feel about Jesus] my heart would be so knitted to His, so grateful for His life, that all I can do is weep. Or maybe laugh." (pp. 54, 55)

Final Thoughts: A must-read for Christian parents whether culturally savy or not. Definitely recommended.

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