My Musings

Where ARE the parents?

Where ARE the parents?

This is based on a true story.

A church committee, in hot pursuit of a new look, replaced the old wooden pulpit and communion table with Plexiglas products. This did not escape the notice of the children who, after church, swarmed over the stage checking out the fancy new see-through furniture. With a new minister also moving in (me), this new look marked a new era for the congregation. Out with the old, in with the new!

But there was a problem. The corners on the new furniture were as sharp as they are clear (hard to see). The four pointy ends on the table were about as high as a four-year-old’s ears. Several concerned members speculated about possible bloodstains (from children) on our new rug near the communion table. Yes, that table should remind us of spilled blood but not that of our children.

What should be done?

One parent on the committee opined that the safety of our children is the parent’s responsibility. “Children have no business playing on the stage,” he declared, and then asked: “Where are the parents?”

Okay, parents do indeed need to take responsibility. However, the solution to our Plexiglas problem had to go beyond assigning blame even before an accident occurred. We need vigilant parents but we better round off the edges too.

First, we resorted to duct tape, forging cardboard covers and taping them to the corners. Later, we shipped both items to a plastics company to shave off the sharp edges. The new era for the church was preserved! I wish all church problems were so easily solved.

Protecting children is imperative. Good church leaders identify hazards on the front end, including those that do far more harm than just draw blood. Our young people are increasingly vulnerable to pied pipers who promote sexual experimentation, pornographic entertainment, abortion rights, homosexual marriage, anti-Christian stereotypes, rank profanity and more. Our kids are running into sharp arguments from adult teachers, celebrities or politicians and ending up with injured minds that duct tape won’t fix.

The world is after our kids, church, especially their innocence. If we don’t teach them to follow Jesus, the world will teach then not to.

So, where ARE the parents? Who is transmitting virtues, vices and values to our kids? Morality must be taught (and lived), or it won’t be caught. The primary “school” for such teaching is the home (then, the church). Sadly, the American home is falling apart.

Marriage is what makes a home. As Jesus defined it, marriage is sacred. “A man shall leave his father and mother,” he preached, “and cleave to his wife.” He explained, “And the two shall become one flesh.” Then, Jesus added, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6).

Let no man recompose or decompose it either.

Clearly, the words, “I now pronounce you husband and husband,” should never come from the lips of a Christian clergyman. Neither should, “I now pronounce you husband, wife, wife and wife.” Creative contemporary renditions of marriage simply do not qualify–at least not if you follow Jesus.

I do not qualify to play in a Super Bowl. I cannot vote in France. When they ask veterans to stand at Memorial Day services, I qualify to keep my seat—and applaud those who stand. The standards for a PhD exclude me from claiming the title, “Doctor.” In the same way, the definition of marriage excludes a bunch of roommates looking for tax or health insurance benefits or seeking social status. When standards exist, some options don’t qualify. Everyone is free to marry but not to redefine what marriage is: a union between a man and a woman who have mutually consented to live as husband and wife in wedlock.

Homosexuals in America are free to behave in ways that displease their Maker. But forcing others to sanction such behavior with the ordinance of marriage is a desecration of decency. Various experimental constructions of “marriage” must find other names.

As with the dangerous communion table, parents must be the first to take responsibility. Then comes the church. Looking beyond the Plexiglas, children are the first and worst casualties when marriage is decomposed. We all play a part in protecting children from physical or spiritual dangers. Let us teach children to honor marriage on God’s terms. Take tangible measures against the mutilation of marriage. Changing church furniture is fine but changing Jesus’ definition of marriage is deeply dangerous for kids.

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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