Friday, July 27, 2007
Review: Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture
This is one of the most challenging parenting books I have read. And I’ve read a few. From Dobson to Leman to Shepherding a Child’s Heart to Babywise to Tricia Goyer’s Generation NeXt Parenting to Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying Mom, I’ve read a ton. Each have valuable things to take away from them.
But Mary DeMuth’s new book is making me think. So much that my brain almost hurts --- but in a very good way. You see, I’d noticed some of the cultural shifts she’s talking about without knowing the lens to look through. The term emergent or postmodern is thrown around quite a bit right now, but few take the time to define it. And as a conservative Christian, I wasn’t even sure who to ask.
Enter this book.
I had no idea what to expect, but much like Tricia Goyer does with Generation NeXt Parenting, Mary invites us to come alongside her as she wrestles with the best way to prepare her kids for the culture around them.
How do we be in the world but not of it? She goes as far as to say it’s time to exegete the culture, as we would scripture, and search for the ways that God is revealing Himself through this culture. As recently returned missionaries from France, the epitome of a postmodern culture, Mary brings some hard-won real-world experience to the book.
Here are a few tidbits on the postmodern thinker:
· Experience is key. So experiencing Jesus is richer than our oftentimes overly intellectual pursuit of Him. It’s a question of knowing Him v. knowing about Him.
· I-don’t-have-all-the-answers. In parenting that means that we can be open with our children and explore the world together.
· There is an emphasis on community. Thus, work alongside your kids in the community, a messy but satisfying experience.
· Consumerism isn’t good. And as we turn our hearts from consuming to gratitude our kids learn to enjoy each other and enjoy the free beauty of God’s creation among other things. See p. 18-20.
Postmoderns are also deeply skeptical, don’t believe in absolute truth, and like to ask lots of questions. As Christians we believe Christ is the absolute truth, but how do we communicate that to our kids in a way that they not only embrace it, but are able to communicate that truth to those around them?
The first section of the book addresses the differences between modern and post-modern worldviews mixed with ideas for how those general themes apply to life. Then Mary turns to eight ways that as parents we can use some of those post-modern leanings to lead our children into a walk with Christ that will stand without us to prop them up.
This book is full of thought-provoking questions and applications. I can’t wait to hear some of your thoughts about this book. So get out there and read it, so we can chat about it.