I grew up with Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel teaching me how to “be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope,” first Peter three fifteen. It seems to me hope should not require so much effort to defend, but who am I to argue with a proof-texted piece of Scripture? As parents tasked with stewarding the spiritual instruction of our children, some of us might revert back to our own upbringing… Read more

This is a view that I only see in progressive Christian circles. According to some progressives, children are born as angels—innocent, pure creatures. That can mean one or both of two things: that children are born unaware or unshaped by human imperfection or that children are born unaffected by the human experience. Basically, children are born “whole”—as one writer says, as “unaltered human nature”[i]—and it is life, sin, or other humans that “break” their wholeness. If those things did not… Read more

*This is part of Ask Unfundamentalist Parenting series where I answer real life parenting dilemmas. You can submit questions to cindywords@icloud.com* Tanya asks Unfundamentalist Parenting: My 13 year old daughter wants to attend her church’s summer youth trip this year. I am not opposed to her exploring her faith journey with her peer group of friends – however this trip is to the beach, and one of the requirements is that all girls are to wear shorts over their one-piece swimsuit…. Read more

  What is the central identity that Jesus took upon himself? Surely it was his identity as the “Son of God.” That identity is what got him crucified. But what does that mean? While many theologians have interpreted “Son” to mean a divinely chosen king of an earthly kingdom, child liberation theology suggests we need to interpret it literally: the child and offspring of an adult. In becoming the Child of God, God decided to take on the full implications… Read more

Image: Unsplash Dear Children’s Ministry, First, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do for our children…and for us, their parents. The millions of unseen and unappreciated ways that you pour into the next generation is astonishing to me. Your patience, commitment, passion, and creativity seem to have no bounds. Knowing that you love our kids even before you know them, that you have our backs and we’re not doing this baffling work of… Read more

I am honored to interview Carol Howard Merritt today on the blog for Unfundamentalist Parenting. Carol is a Presbyterian pastor and the author of Healing Spiritual Wounds. For those of you who have experienced abuse at the hands of church or Christian institution, I hope you will find solace and healing through Carol’s words, as I have. What did the faith of your childhood look like? I was raised in a conservative Southern Baptist Church, then my parents got the… Read more

Image: Focus on the Family In 2009, during the aftermath of the economic crash, Brio, the conservative Christian magazine for teenage girls published by Focus on the Family, folded alongside many other print publications. However, as we speak, it is unfolding and making its way into the hands of a new generation of teenage girls looking for answers to whether Bruno Mars is worth a listen and how to find “Mr. Right.” My first question is this: aren’t the girls… Read more

Image provided by Disney In fundamentalism, when a child misbehaves, it is to be expected because every human child acts according to their sinful nature. They need to be saved, corrected, and brought under the authority of God. I am convinced this theological paradigm is harmful to children. How can any good parenting fruit come out of resigning our children to inevitable failure? If at the first glimpse of misbehavior, we say, “Aha! There it is. Sin. You’re showing your… Read more

Image: Unsplash “Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” ~ Elie Wiesel The biggest problem with friendships in fundamentalism is the inability to see people as human beings rather than an agenda. When a person’s eternal destination is of urgent priority, the nuances of their personality and humanity pales in comparison. This is the kind of baggage some of us may bring to adulthood and into parenting…. Read more

Image: Unsplash Holy Week can sometimes be thought of as Humility Week. Stories from this week are often preached and taught as moral examples of Jesus’ humility, that according to Philippians 2:7-9 God became nothing. On this week Jesus rode triumphantly on a pathetic donkey, did a slave’s job and washed his disciples’ feet, and endured the ultimate humiliation of hanging naked on a cross. It is a beautiful illustration that those who are powerful can lay down their power… Read more

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