Probably Parenting (Carla Barnhill)

Probably Parenting (Carla Barnhill) December 30, 2008

Filling in for Tony this week means I have to charge up a few parts of my brain that have been in sleep mode for about a decade.

I will post a more involved blog later today, but I wanted to get a quick intro up before the week gets away from me (as weeks so often do). 

My guess is that Tony asked me to be part of the fill–in team this week because he knows I’m a sucker for people in need and that I usually say “yes” to requests for help. But I think he also asked because we have known each other for a very long time. We have watched each other shift from seminary students to mainstream ministers in well-known evangelical organizations to participants in the emergent conversation. We are both working to find a voice and make our way in the midst of a faith that we can’t quite get a hold of.
So this week, I will be blogging about what this journey looks like on the family front. I am the mother of three and the wife of one. I work part-time from my house editing books for various Christian publishers. I am deeply involved in my church (Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis) and   deeply frustrated at how messy this neat little life is when it plays out each day.
Just so you know where I’m coming from, I was raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, attended a BGC Bible camp every summer until college and then spent 6 summers working for the Baptists. I attended Fuller Seminary and the University of Edinburgh. I worked at Christianity Today, Int’l. for 9 years, 6 of them as Editor of the now defunct Christian Parenting Today magazine. I have edited a ton of books and written a few as well. My book, The Myth of the Perfect Mother, is now out of print, but maybe that will change if people start ordering it again.
I am both a participant in the evangelical world and a bit of an outsider. I wasn’t raised evangelical and for the longest time, I wasn’t really sure what that word meant. Then I jumped on to the mothership and found out just what the evangelical world is all about (or at least what it writes about itself). So I like to think I am able to look at the evangelical world with a mix of affection, understanding, and skepticism. I don’t buy in to the whole package and yet I get why people do and what’s at stake when someone starts poking at it.
And yet I am also one of those doing the poking. Most recently, my friend Caryn and I have been blogging about The Mommy Revolution–our name for the new breed of women who are parenting in ways that look nothing like our own mothers’ methods. We are challenging the assumptions of motherhood and encouraging women (and men) to define it for themselves rather than living with the guilt of not measuring up to someone else’s definition.
So this week, I will be hi-jacking Tony’s blog to talk about what parenthood looks like for today’s moms and dads. If you read my chapter here then you have some idea of where I’m going. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll still join in on a conversation about the changing models of parenting.
I look forward to our week together!
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  • DaveSheldon

    You rock. Cannot wait to see and read your posts. All hail to the hi-jack! Peace

  • Kevin Sweeney

    Thanks for filling in Carla. Sounds like your input will be a great contribution.

  • Carla: Did I ever tell you that a few weeks after I started working at Christianity Today, I called my dad to ask him if we were evangelicals? He said probably not in the “official” sense. I didn’t know what one was (and I still am trying to figure it out, actually). So, I just liked to hear that you were confused too. This confusion probably explains a lot about where we are.

  • Sounds perfect–I love to discuss parenting and faith that goes beyond the stereotypes. I’m really looking forward to your contributions and more on the Mommy Revolution!

  • Cherie Peake James

    Hi Carla, I wasn’t certain how to get in touch with you, so I’ll try this route. As I was walking on my treadmill this morning I was flipping through channels and for some reason stopped on the morning show, which I never watch, and I saw your photo. Being that I am a peri-menopausal mom of four, I had to clear out the cobwebs to figure out why you looked so familiar. I said to myself, I know her. Anyway, I think how we know one another is through Pier I in Minnesota. I can’t bring back your maiden name, though. If you could help me remember I would so appreciate! What an exciting time for you. I wish you all the luck on the contest and will be watching the morning show to follow you. Life is strange, isn’t it?