Archive for category parenting

Offended yet?

Rest assured that she didn’t intend to offend.

Lady Gaga has released a statement to ease the concerns of Christians upset at her latest release.  Don’t worry; the music video for Judas was never meant to be “a biblical lesson.”  Even though it features a biker gang who wear the apostles’ names on their leather jackets and a leader with a sparkling crown of thorns.  In fact, she never even viewed the song as a “religious statement.”

Still, it’s difficult to overlook lyrics that reference Mary’s humble act of washing the feet of Jesus, Peter’s three-fold betrayal, and Judas as “a king with no crown.”

Now we know that it’s only a “metaphor” and “cultural statement.”  Does anyone else feel better?

For decades I have heard the cry, “Just change the channel.”  If you were upset by the glorification of sin…watch something else.  If a song’s lyrics offended you…listen to another station.  If you found an image distasteful…simply look away.  Yet a contemporary society that professes to want little to do with Jesus Christ continues to return to Him as a theme for artistic endeavors.  Paintings, books, songs, films…so many avenues to denigrate, ridicule, and profane.

May I return the same advice to an unbelieving world?  Find another subject.  Don’t believe in a Creator God?  Exclude Him from your book.  Refuse the authenticity of Jesus of Nazareth?  Find another historical figure to deride in your film.  Reject the thought of Christ as the Savior?  Leave Him out of your profane song.

However, it may come as a surprise that my real conflict is not with Gaga.  Why should we expect anything else?  Since when has the world been reverent toward the sacred?   The genuine fault is with Christians and our responses.

We chuckle at her dress made out of meat or another outrageous, attention-grabbing stunt.   We get excited when Glee promises to cover Born This Way and adjust our schedule so we don’t miss it.  (Certainly enough fodder there for a separate article).  Teens download the latest offering because everyone else is listening to it.  Never mind the message of the lyrics.  Christian parents offer only a mild frown of disapproval and declare, “It’s not my style of music, but the kids seem to like it.”

Where is the discernment?  Isn’t there enough in what entertains us to disqualify it by scriptural standards?  Should it take a blatant slap across the face like seeing your thorn-crowned Savior sitting with a  six-pack and a scantily-clad woman draped across Him?

Yes, there really was One who wore a crown of thorns.  He sacrificially wore that crown as He hung on a cross.  He did that as payment for sin.  He did it for you and me (and Lady Gaga, too).

In the song she concludes “I’m just a holy fool.”  As long as she (or anyone else) rejects a God who loves her and a Savior who died on her behalf, she’s half right.   For that matter, perhaps the title more accurately describes any Christian who’s content to sing along with the world’s message.

Philip. 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Fatherhood means…

In 1970, the film Love Story produced the popular statement “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  I completely disagree with that sentiment, but that is a topic for another article.  However, in a similar vein I have discovered a personal summary of parenting.  “Fatherhood means enjoying your children’s success more than your own.”

I recently noticed this during a football game when I heard the voice from the booth announce, “Tackle made by #56 Justin Trill.”  I realized that the feeling I experienced was stronger and more gratifying than if I had heard my own name announced.  I have recognized this through the years as I watched my daughter congratulated for serves that stymied the opposing team or a big basket that turned the tide of a game.  I have felt that emotion when Aaron held up his blue ribbon at a regional art competition or his first-place medal from youth league basketball.  The same thing applies to their academic achievements. Thankfully, I also realize that I receive even greater joy from seeing my son stand in front of a congregation to present a song or testimony than in his opening up a hole in the defensive line for a running back.  The same is true for each of my children.

Therein lay the challenges for me.  First, my job as a parent is not to live vicariously through my children.  I have to remember that although their accomplishments may cast a reflection my way, they are still theirs. Second, and more importantly, I have to remember the relative value of their life’s work and consistently reinforce what is truly important.  (That’s tough for a guy that cheers as heartily as I do at their games.)  However, if I don’t do this well, they will be prone to fall into the same trap that many of us do; placing more value on popularity than on purity, more weight on success than on service, more focus on money than on ministry.  We should rejoice in every talent, ability, and gift that God gives to us.  However, we must recognize that real success in life is using them for Him.  Only then do they have genuine significance and eternal value.

Sure, I’m proud of my kids for their academic and athletic endeavors.  But, I’m even more grateful for spiritual successes.

By the way, a high school friend pointed me to this great article by Scott Linscott that reminds parents of the proper perspective we must maintain to encourage enduring faith  in our young people.