Sunday, May 8, 2011

IN but not OF

I read the sermon texts in church this morning. I enjoy doing this because there's something so majestic about reading Scripture out loud.

The second reading was from Acts 2. As I read, this line leaped out at me: "With many other words he [Peter] warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.'"

I'm a history buff, so I'm fully aware that virtually every generation throughout the ages has been called corrupt by someone (usually the elders). And the elders are generally right: every generation has its degree of corruption. We are certainly no exception.

It got me thinking: How can we save ourselves from this corrupt generation? Or more specifically, how can we save our children?

Some groups have taken these words to their literal end and created an entire subculture divorced from "the world." The Amish are a classic example. But we are not Amish and are unlikely to find such a group anytime soon. But that doesn't mean we're helpless against the tide of cultural depravity we see around us.

Don and I have a responsibility to make sure our daughters are saved from this corrupt generation until they're old enough to make their own decisions. To this end, we try to make sure our girls are raised IN but not OF this world.

What does that mean, IN but not OF? The way I see it, it means we're involved in our culture and community, but we do not necessarily adopt its values.

Up to this point, this has been a totally unconscious decision on our part. In fact, I never gave it much thought before. But in retrospect I realize we've been IN but not OF for, oh, about eighteen years now. That's when Don and I decided to give up our easy and well-paying jobs in the city and move rural. That was the first step.

Over the years as our daughters have grown, we've deliberately chosen to keep them out of government schools. Possibly more than any other decision, that has been influential in keeping their characters decent and moral. The rest has been fairly easy. Honestly, it has. We're fortunate that the kids are not "difficult" (and I use that term in the clinical sense; some children are born more "difficult" than others), but for the most part raising decent kids is remarkably easy. All you have to do is withdraw from being OF the world.

Being rural is large contributing factor. Living without television reception is yet another contributing factor.

By no means am I saying that urban public school kids all turn out bad or that rural homeschooled kids are perfect. Please don't misunderstand. What I'm saying is that -- for us -- being rural and homeschooling has made it remarkably easy for our children to adopt the values we hold dear.

This isn't to say the girls will leave the nest and thereafter live perfect lives. Far from it. In their adult years they will have numerous head-on collisions with the real world which will be in direct conflict with their values. Things will not seem as black and white as they do now. They will experience all the gray areas that make up our culture.

What I'm saying is, they'll have in their possession the toolbox we've tried to create for them. The tools in that toolbox built the foundation of their world, and include the morals, faith, values, and choices we've made since their birth. As they become adults, they will have those tools at their disposal to build their own foundation.

As adults, our girls will be living IN this world. They have no choice, of course; we must all live in this world. And for the most part it's a beautiful world and I hope they enjoy it as much as Don and I do.

We can only hope they will choose to stay OUT of this world in other respects.


  1. Keep away from people
    who try to belittle your ambitions.
    Small people always do that,
    but the really great make you feel that you,
    too, can become great.

    Mark Twain

    Happy Mother's day Patrice.


  2. I think you have made the right moves. Just remember that the angels/guardians of the Lord are tailing those people who love and fear Him. The physical world counts for nothing here. It may appear bad but you have to hang on to your faith.

  3. I like God. No wait, I hate God. No wait a minute, I like God. That's what is wrong with you people. Don't you see? Pick a side and stay with it. Mark Twain--Hellsgate. Some where in the universe.

  4. We homeschooled our two girls up to 8th grade and lived in the country. Their Christian upbringing made them stand out in public high school. Our kids were countercultural but they made friends and were considered "model" students and trustworthy. They both attended Notre Dame University and the youngest graduated last May. Both now live in inner city large metropolitan areas far from home. As much as they enjoyed the country life, their professions brought them to large cities. I pray daily that they remain faith filled and so far so good. The Bible verse about training them in their youth and that they will not depart from God is what I have pray is the case for my two daughters. These are scary times - I've told both to make a beeline home if anything goes bad. I wish they could be closer to home.

  5. To Anonymous at 7:31pm, May 8: I get your point. No, wait, I DON'T get your point. Wait, I DO get your point, and yes, I DO see. I also picked a side! The side that says you're as nutty as a fruitcake.

  6. Anon at 7:31pm: Huh?!?!?

  7. Hi Patrice,

    That was very well put. I am especially appreciative of your statement that you don't have TV.

    If I had to come up with the one worst influence on American families, the one thing that brings together all the worst things in our society into one evil package, I'd have to say that thing is the television set that sits like a shrine in most Americans' homes.

    When people comment about how smart and accomplished our children are and ask how we did it we deflect the praise from ourselves (because we are flawed, believe me) and explain that our children are the way they are because of three things:

    1) Our children have never set foot in a public (or even private school).

    2) We are Christians, and raise our children to love the Lord and His Word.

    3) We got rid of television when my 19-year-old son was 3 years old. My 14-year-old daughter has never known television.

    There are other factors, too, like that we live in the mountains far from cities, my wife has been a stay-at-home, nurturing, homeschooling mother for most of our kids' lives, and that we have been very careful of the influences on our children from peers, from movies, from music, from youth groups, etc.

    If I had to put myself in the mind of some evil person bent on the destruction of the independence, the moral fiber, and the freedom-thinking people of this once great land, and try to figure out how that could be accomplished, I couldn't come up with a better plan than to place an object in every single Americans' homes that would mesmerize them and persuade them to give up intellectual thought for entertainment, freedom for "security," and "hope for change."

    I could go on, but I sense an irrational rant building, so I better stop.


  8. Anon @ 7:31:
    Just for you...

    There is but One G-d and he is not Mark Twain's Hellgate.

    There is no "like", only "respectful fear" of The Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth.

    You might obtain a copy of the Hebrew Texts, Rashi Translation of Chumash and study them.

    Then you'll be able to discuss Hellgate, according to G-d's word.

  9. The more distance you can put between your family and the street, the more success you can have in keeping the prevailing culture away from the family. Some of it will seep in, but you can control it better from a distance. I just could never have competed with neighbors, schools, entertainment and the general commotion, so I retreated to the country.

  10. It does not take much action to see or separate the sheep from the goats. Fine! Have it your way. I am doomed. Then why would you care? Live in comfort, mock anyone you choose and then face your judgement day. Think and maybe try a bit of prayer. Take a look at yourself.

  11. I don't know the Lewis Daughters at all, but the few things I have seen about them I notice this: Not only do they possess the right thinking but they also have the courage to back up their beliefs in action......

    It's one thing to know what's right, but it's another even bigger achievement to be able to defend and stand up to those who try and shake them......