Now, I feel bad writing this post because I am a Christian, I love my church, and I love The Church in general, but today after dropping my daughter off at preschool (isn’t this how my last post started?), I chatted with a fellow mother who was having a rough day. In the course of her self-described “venting,” she dropped a line a few times that raised my hackles a little bit.
After she’d say something about depression, handling tantrums, strong-willed children, and spanking, she threw out variations on, “My church teaches… But I just don’t know…. I must be doing something wrong…”
What got the hairs standing up wasn’t so much that her church apparently teaches her how to mother and takes official positions on just about every aspect of parenting (although, honestly, this is different than my experience with church. We offer only unofficial positions and then talk behind your back about how bad your kids are. Just kidding, sort of).
But what really got the hackles going was the amount of GUILT they were piling on this poor woman for stuff that has nothing to do with salvation or doctrine or of those sorts of things.
While we Christians and The Church should take an interest in parenting and ought to be supportive and helpful to one another as we raise our kids—offering God-honoring wisdom and home-cooked meals, for example—I don’t know that I like the idea of churches taking official positions and then acting like it’s scriptural truth. Especially if we aren’t passing along the thing that’s needed more than anything by the mothers (and fathers and childless and children…) who sit in our pews (emergent translation: sofa or floor or bean bag or whatever you guys sit on)—and that’s grace. Am I wrong here?