Excellent Parenting is Remarkably Ordinary
“As a new parent, when you hold your first child in your arms, there is a swell of emotions. You are humbled by the responsibility to care for this child. You feel a surge of love and an intense instinct to protect. You feel compelled to get everything as right as possible as you raise this precious child. These emotions can stir together and create a sense of fear that we will mess up as parents. Then we begin to hear stories from other parents: various opinions on discipline techniques or overarching parenting strategies, how hard the “terrible twos” are, horror stories about teenagers, and sad stories about how quickly this precious child will be leaving our home as an adult. It is easy to get overwhelmed and think parenting is complicated. Yet, when you talk with an adult who is fond of their parents and grateful for their upbringing, their stories don’t sound exceptional. Their parents of these well-adjusted young adults don’t come across as Jedi masters who daily dispensed profound life-changing proverbs. Their weekends were not filled with epic family vacations. The “moments” we want to create as parents are not usually the focal point of what these young adults appreciate most.”
Preaching in the Age of Expressive Individualism: Telling the Story of Our New Identity
“Like it or not, we’re all swimming in the cultural waters of expressive individualism. This is more than simply radical moral relativism. It’s the rejection of essential human nature for untethered subjective sentiment. It’s the replacement of ethics with personal preference and the meaning of life with the self-creation of identity. Its most extreme expressions are seen in transgenderism and modern identity politics, but its impact is far more subtle and insidious, as the opening example shows. If even our older, more mature church members are affected by the habits of thought of expressive individualism, what’s a pastor to do? Preach the Word!”
Are You Principled or Just a Contentious Jerk?
“The apostle Paul says “an overseer must be . . . not quarrelsome” (1 Tim. 3:2–3). Yet in my experience, quarrelsome people often hide behind the excuse, “I’m just principled” or “I’m standing up for the truth when no one else will.” It’s not a completely unreasonable point. Many people seem to confuse having an opinion with being quarrelsome, hostile, and aggressive. But that’s not right. So how do you know if you’re principled or just a contentious jerk?”