Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Raising Christians

At lunch yesterday I finished reading Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner. The book is, as it promises, themeless. It is the examination of several interesting social phenomena using the statistical tools of economics. It's interesting and I recommend it.

Among the phenomena it examines is "parenting strategies" - at least as far as academic performance is concerned. That is to say, it asks the question, "What can parents do to insure their children's academic success?" Now they are very careful to point out that the data set they have can only result in correlations, and not determine actual causes, but the results they obtain are fascinating.

They conclude that the best corollary to academic performance is not reading to a kid when they were young, or stay-at-home moms, or baby Mozart tapes. They conclude that the only reliable predictor of academic performance in a child is the academic performance of its parents. That is to say, if you are a good academic performer, odds are, your child will be as well. This is even true for adopted children although the characteristics of the adoptive parents appear much later in the academic career of the kids than in birth children.

In other words, the best way you can make sure your kids perform well academically, is for you to do so. You want smart kids? - go to college, read a a lot, get good grades yourself.

I wonder what this says about doing church and raising Christians? I wonder if the best way to make sure we are doing good mission is to make sure we are personally doing well in our relationships with Jesus?

I found this post from Unveiled Face fascinating. Mick is reviewing a book The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero. Mick's review is very mixed, with what appears to be good reason. Here's an interesting bit
Scazzero bursts forth with almost unsettling candor regarding the efforts he put in to building his church, and the subsequent fallout for both church and his family as massive problems eventually appeared - problems that the author directly attributes to a focus on "spiritual health" at the expense of "emotional health".
I would love to know how that author defines "spiritual health." I cannot help but believe that true spiritual health will result in emotional health. I am betting that he, as I know a lot of people do, are confusing "spiritual health" with "growing church." They are not synonymous.

"Success" is a difficult concept. I also think it is the concept that God most challenges in all of human existence. As fallen creatures, can we ever truly have any success? Certainly not apart from Him.

This is, I think the real lesson. If you think success is having good academically performing children, then the best way to get that is to be successful academically yourself. If success is a growing church, then we see that that has some unhealthy consequences. If success is making disciples of Jesus, then we see it appears the best thing to do is be successful disciples ourselves. Maybe it's time to spend less time worrying about the church and more time looking at Jesus.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Feed


eXTReMe Tracker

Blogarama - The Blog Directory