Thursday, November 21, 2013

Parents Night

For Confirmation at Central we've started having an almost-monthly "Parents Night" when, you guessed it, parents come to be with their 9th & 10th grade confirmands for the evening.  It starts with some killer music played REALLY loud.  Parents tend to sit in the back of the sanctuary.  Then announcements -- last night it was a few details about upcoming stuff in December plus a promo for the Honduras mission trip next summer.  All this happens with middle schoolers and 11th & 12th graders in the room.  Then everyone else is dismissed and I get to talk with parents and confirmands.

I love this format.  I love to talk with parents and students about a topic that is (or should be) of interest to both of them.  So a month ago we talked about how to raise kids in a post-Christian world. Last night we talked about how to prepare your son or daughter for college.  After I get about 25 minutes to talk with them together, the confirmands and their Journey Group leaders head out for 10-15 minutes of discussion, and I get that time with the parents alone.

I love this format because my hope is that we can open doors for some faith conversation in homes.  I know that if parents are willing to talk about these things with their kids, it's likely to have a huge impact on everyone involved.

Last night we talked about how to deal with biblical truth, basically anticipating the Freshman Biology class in which a six-day creation is going to be nailed to the wall.  If all a student has experienced for faith formation is Sunday School stories of Adam & Eve, a biology prof's withering sarcasm can shred their faith and convince them that Darwinian evolutionary theory disproves the Bible.  (Actually, you're far more likely to encounter a Christian in the Biology Department on most campuses than you are in, say, the Philosophy Department.)

So we looked at options.  Last night we laid out four options of how you can view the Bible:

Option 1
Hide our heads in the sand, believe what we believe and that’s the end of it.  When we encounter hard questions, try not to think about it.

Option 2
Make the Bible our source not only for religion, but also for science and history.  At the same time, find as much evidence as possible to say that science can’t be trusted.

Option 3
Say that the Bible is a book full of inaccuracies and fables, but today we know better.  Trust science to teach us the real truth.

Option 4

Figure out what God is saying through the Bible to its original audience, then apply it to ourselves.

As you might expect, I am an advocate for #4.  All too often families operate, intentionally or not, in Option 1 or Option 2, neither of which will get you through college with your faith intact.  Option 3 is what most college campuses default to, and what most college graduates end up believing by the end of school.  Option 3 is our culture's overwhelming belief about truth.  

Option 4 is tricky because you need to acknowledge that the Bible isn't written directly to you (though I certainly believe that when your read it the Spirit of God informs and enlightens your reading, and may use the text to speak directly to you).  You have to do a little work to understand its original context.  You have to make the leap to apply the text. 

It's work, but it's worth it.  Which option do you use most of the time?

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