Sunday, November 3, 2013

On Being a Parent

Michelle and I were talking at dinner and I realized that I have been parenting wrong.  I have been teaching my child to be a good person, to follow the rules and that going to church is a good thing.  I have tried teaching her morals and to obey her parents.  All of those are good things.  But I am thinking that I am creating a moralistic therapeutic deist. This idea was made popular by Kenda Creasy Dean and has five basic tenants:
  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

While similar to Christianity this is not what we believe.  In the United Methodist Church we have realized recently that we have missed the true goal of following Christ which is to make disciples! We have been making members not disciples.  Now we know our whole focus as churches has to fold into the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  I received an epiphany tonight that, as a parent, I am to make a disciple out of Sophie.  Not a good little rule following child (allow that is not necessarily a bad thing) but a true follower of Christ who will be a disciple maker herself.  A young woman who believes that there is a good God who created the world and is active in reconciling to its original purpose through Christ.  A lady who follows Christ with actions and lives a life of worship.  A woman who sees her mission as co-conspirator with God in creating the kingdom of God through her: to make earth like heaven.  A person who worships God in spirit and truth when she gathers with the Church. A woman who takes learning what it means to be a disciple seriously and engages with a group of people to do so. This is what I believe a disciple does and what I hope to teach my daughter through words and actions. My prayer each night as a parent is that she will devote her life to being a disciple!