I Parent Correctly and You Don't

Amy Chua and the “Tiger Mom” buzz is starting to wane, but the issues it raises are still vital. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s my oversimplified version: 

1. Chinese mother writes hyperbolic memoir about old-school Asian parenting, complete with music torture anecdotes and educational agony. 
2. The book’s most controversial moments become blogged and Twitterfied into a thousand opinions. 
3. American parents freak, self-righteously.
4. American parents pause to reflect, feel secret guilt.
5. American parents get over it, go back to permissive parenting.

Chua’s book is certainly stirring up my students’ discussions about their own home paradigm. I teach AP students in a culturally diverse high school, where Parmvir and Li-Lin (who are forbidden to quit cello or attend school dances) sit beside Jessica and Brandon (who hang out at parties on weekends, play video games, and make due with a casual GPA of 3.2). Chua’s memoir brings to the surface what my Asian students have known for years: their parents are out of the mainstream and dang proud of it. 

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Faith is Dynamite

Dynamite faith is childlike faith.

The other day I was having my quiet time (as I do every morning), and it JUST happened to be the day I was going to sit down and "discuss" with God how He's going to provide for my needs. I mean...

He called me.

Told me to move.

And so here I am scared and asking like a little child...or am I?

A child does not repeatedly ask his parents whether he will be taken to a doctor if he becomes ill or whether there will be another meal to eat (at least, not very often in our culture). The reason he does not ask such questions is that his parents have proven to him over and over again they they love him enough to take care of his needs. It is the same with God...
This is faith. How happy would a parent be if his child constantly questioned him as to whether his needs would be met? The parent would feel frustrated and sad, perhaps angry that the child did not trust him (Billy Graham, Unto The Hills, January 29).
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An Early Valentine

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

I Can't Think Of A Better Word, Sorry

In a world where Christians, in the name of holiness, arrogantly distance themselves from everything "secular"......and like the Pharisees, can't figure out what it means to be "in" the world but not "of" it........

In a world where Christians, in the name of holiness, arrogantly stand back and bash non-Christians for living like, well, non-Christians......

We need to check these actions and attitudes with the scriptures.  I have a word I sometimes use to describe this type of activity.  But I want to warn you, this could be bad.  I only use this word in conversations where people know my heart and theological convictions.  Posting it publicly like this could get me in trouble.  I don't mean to be rash by using this word, but I honestly cannot think of one that better describes this type of activity by the very people that are supposed to be following the example of Christ.

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Isaiah 51

 1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
   and who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
   and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
2 look to Abraham, your father,
   and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
   and I blessed him and made him many.
3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion
   and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
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Home: A commentary about my "next chapter"

I love receiving letters about the book, comments on the blog, and interacting with audiences at different events.  Since the book has come out a funny thing has happened.  I’ve been able to rest into the message as a vocational stamp on my life as well as laugh and cry with other perfectionists trying to find recovery from the madness.  However, there is another introspective anomaly that happens when I connect with others too.

When the book comes up and people have not heard about it, I explain the topic - in brief - if they ask.  They seem interested and nod as if pondering something much deeper.  I blanket the answer as this is “My journey - my story” of how I made peace with the feeling of not being good enough; that I was driven by everyone's expectations of acting and being and doing my life in a certain way.  In no way, shape or form am I trying to project my journey onto theirs (or sell the book, but that's always a perk).

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Norms and What You're Raised With

A posse of young, boys was playing basketball in my neighborhood the other day.  They were gifted and African American, looking to me like miniatures of the guys on TV.  With one exception though, I noticed—their rim was a good couple feet higher than the normal ten-footer!

“What are you boys doin’ playing on such a high hoop!?” 

“What you mean, Mrs. Abbie?  This is our normal.  And we barely ever miss. Watch this,” said the shortest of the bunch, laying-up the ball with a near perfect swoosh.

“Oh,” I said, walking away with two realizations.  Namely, that we are what we’re raised with, and our "norms" aren't always (or are rarely!) the norms of those around us.  This goes for views of sports, health, safety, morality, church, God, self, family, theology, psychology, and the list goes on.

Preliminary Ponderings on Unbelief and Rest

This post began this morning in a prayer time caught by the words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11.28).  I bet I’ve breezed by the verse two hundred times, but this morning it stopped me. As I meditated on the words, feeling their elaborate depths, something in me sensed an appetite for “more.”  Do You mean more coming to You, God, or receiving of Your rest?  Or maybe You want me to open to unrest?  What do you mean by drawing me toward more, Father?

I sat for a handful of minutes, overwhelmed by my needs for reprieve.  And for such repreive needed by others.  Names and faces began illustrating my prayers.  This person and that friend—this family member and that enemy—“How might they be weary and burdened, Holy Spirit, hungry for Your rest?”  Names and faces kept coming.

Palace, Not Cottage

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way tha...t hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." — C.
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Is Christianity Really That Different?


Rambling reflections as I sit in a coffee shop this morning.  Couldn’t help but listen-in on a business conversation setting the table behind me.  “What makes our real estate more desiring than the one across the street?…What makes us more profitable than our competitors?”  And as I settled into my chai and let their gripping words collide with my ears, I realized the relevancy of these questions, as they applied to my stance as a Christian. 

“Why is our message worth more than any other?”  “Is my faith that different from the one across the street, down the hall, or in another building?”  And I’m no apologetic, but allowing God to sift me through these matters left my heart with a truth, transcending any argument, religion, and even reason. 

I remembered that Christian’s belief system stands on grace.
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