I desire for my children to be life long learners. Becoming a life long learner with a love of learning is in the top five of my vision for homeschooling. I realize that a BIG part of teaching such a skill is to model such a skill. I teach my kids to follow their interests…. to recognize what they want to learn and go after it. So… why can’t I do the same thing?? I have had so much on my mind lately. So many questions. So many observations. So many wonderings of the Lord… mainly… “Really? This is the ‘such a time’ moment for which you created my children?” I have always loved apologetics and talking theology. I love learning about history and archaeology and maps- especially when it comes to the Bible and Christianity. I have been reading more and more books about our current culture and listening to podcasts trying to sort all of this out and how I can play a role in this moment in history. How can I (led by the Holy Spirit and in partnership with my husband) teach our children to stand firm and anchored through this age of wokeness and relevance and post-modern, post- Christian, your truth is your truth … well… you get my point? Are you tracking?
I am in a season of learning. I am not going to even begin to claim that I am an apologetics teacher or fully aware of the far reaching implications of the woke culture. I am not well versed in all the different philosophical movements that have permeated our world for centuries. I am learning. I am trying. I am often wondering what is even the point. Do you even want to read the musings of a middle age white woman who lives in the mountains of North Carolina when there are so, so many amazing speakers and writers already on the scene? Solomon says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It almost seems defeating to try to add my voice to the noise. And I guess I am, but I’m not trying to add my voice to the big dogs. I’m just trying to take my little corner of the interwebs and my little circle in this world and speak truth.
I feel like I am rambling, but I promise I am going somewhere. Our world is moving at a rapid pace… running… outright sprinting away from the Bible and our kids are getting swept up. Without an anchor, they will be carried off.
I am not interested in sheltering and cutting off from the world. That just isn’t an option. When my oldest was about twelve years old, it came to light that he had been watching YouTube videos for hours. The content wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was the fact that he was being secretive and disobedient. He was rabbit trailing off as one does… video after video. He was watching gamers play game (I have no idea what the appeal is, but apparently this is a thing)… and found himself exposed to a myriad of words that we do not consider worthy of everyday conversation… if you get my drift. Well… it all came to light and we had a long talk about the heart of the issue. We talked for a long time. Our family has a lot of words. At the end of it all, I told him there would be consequences. The consequences would look like losing technology privileges for a time and then being under supervision. I told him that it was unrealistic for me to cut him off from technology all together. The world we live in is saturated with all things tech. Tablets, Nintendo Switch, TV, iPads, Television… just to name a few devices that reside in our home. It was unrealistic and also missing the point of his heart. I could have taken everything away, but he needed to learn how to have boundary… how to operate within this current world and hold conviction. When he is an adult, he won’t have mom and dad to take away his tech when he rabbit trails off. He needs to know how to engage the culture through a Biblical worldview.
I want to write a series of posts taking you along this journey with me. This journey of Christian parenting in an age or culture of wokeness.
Let me define my terms.
From Dictionary.Com- “Alert to injustice in society, especially racism”
From Wikipedia- “Woke is a term, originating in the United States, that originally referred to awareness about racial prejudice and discrimination. It subsequently came to encompass an awareness of other issies of social inequality, for instance , regarding gender and sexual orientation.
Do I think awareness of injustice is wrong… certainly not! Do I think social justice and biblical justice are interchangeable terms… no… and that is some of the unpacking I want to do over the next few weeks. I’m not going to lie… when May 2020 hit and there was a lot of attention on Black Lives Matter and the idea of white privilege and systemic racism and justice for _______________ (fill in with any number of names) was on the rise… I was battle ready. I was ready to play my part. I have always had a strong sense of justice and was ready to jump in. I had so many conversations with different people. I talked with black and brown friends. I tried to figure out what I needed to own and how to get involved.
But somewhere along the line, I felt like I had been deceived… duped… I dare say… led astray by well meaning Christians. I fell for the idea that Biblical justice and social justice are the same thing. They are, in fact, not. There are some overlaps. There are some core principles. But at the heart of it… what we know in today’s culture as “social justice” is far from Biblical. I was beginning to have some suspicions that when I was talking about social justice and my friends were talking about social justice that somehow, we were talking about two different things. This came to a head for me when I went on a mission trip with my teens and our youth group to Nashville, TN. I won’t say which group we went with because I think they have a long history of doing good things. I don’t want to tear down an organization, but I do want to expose untruths and half truths. I’ve recently read Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer. They are all about destroying the messege, not the messenger. And by message, they mean ideologies that do not line up with Scripture.
We went on this trip to Nashville. I already knew there would be a message of social justice. At the time, I was still using the terms “Biblical Justice” and “Social Justice” interchangeably. I knew there was a free book about social justice we could request from the organization, but opted not to. Part of our experience through this trip was listening to “Theology Talks.” The first of these talks was all about justice… but really it was about racial justice. There were a lot of really great points… really great points. It was inspiring. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t really Biblical. It was a man sharing his experiences of being marginalized and oppressed because of his skin color. To be clear, I do think racism is awful. The next morning, for our devotion, we again looked at this word “justice.” The writer again shared about racial injustice. A quote that stood out to me in the reading was, “I could give you a basic Webster’s definition of justice, but I believe the most important definition of justice forms in your own heart.”
What??? Um… we don’t have to guess or try to figure out what justice means. God gives us his word. We can freely read it and know what justice among other things means. That quote sniffs of Humanism to me. Humanism emphasizes the individual. It consider human beings as the starting point for serious moral philosophical inquiry. Or maybe it is a little bit of Relativism- an idea that truth and morality exists in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute. Or maybe… to put it in the terms our kids are hearing- live your truth.
So you see… I came into this Christian walk in the nineties as a teenager. In every church, fellowship, or missions trip I’ve ever been part of, I’ve carried with me a certain set of assumptions. There are base things we as Christians must have in common… central core beliefs. My bubble has been shattered this year. I realize that I cannot assume that because we are on Christian mission, we are speaking the same language…. or because someone is in leadership in a church, they must know Jesus. Or when we say the words love, tolerance, acceptance, justice… we have the same definition. I realized on this trip with my kids that I cannot make assumptions. I cannot just assume that because something is labeled Christian or has some Bible verses or Bible sounding language in their description that they are actually Christ following, Bible honoring kind of folks.
I am in learning mode. My spiritual mama bear has been poked and she sees the dangerous ground her kids walking on. I want to equip myself as I equip my children to live 1 Peter 3:15 kind of lives:
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
Will you join me on this journey of learning? I’ve found some great resources that I’ll share along the way.
By the way… some people are woke and don’t realize it… and might be really hurt or offended to know that I would classify them as such. I recognize that I might offend or frustrate some friends. Please know that I love Jesus. I’m clinging…. desperately clinging to his word. I’ve learned recently that churches often lean either to the social justice or social Gospel side where there is a high emphasis on caring for the poor and marginalized in practical ways…. or they lean to the Gospel and evangelism side where sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and emphasizing a person’s spiritual poverty and needs is the focus. Spoiler alert… I think God wants us to value both. I’m really just trying to figure out how to live in such a time as this… trusting God’s sovereignty and being a good steward of what he has given me.