More from that Tim Kimmel guy on “safe” kids. He is starting to get under my skin
Yes, I’m suggesting that Christian families would fare far better raising their children in environments where they have to take spiritual risks, but I’m not suggesting that parents raise their children recklessly. A reckless Christian family is one where children are raised in the world but are not shown how to appropriate God’s power to live distinctively from the world’s way of thinking. Too many parents assume that it is impossible to effectively raise kids in the midst of a corrupt world system. Obviously, they haven’t given church history even a cursory look. If they had, they’d realize that we didn’t get where we are today by functioning safely behind the lines of the spiritual battle.
Seeing the word risk and assuming it is “reckless” is a convenient cop-out for people living in a safe, fear-based Christian circles. That’s because they know full well that to effectively raise kids on the front lines of the world system would require a much more spiritually savvy parent. You can’t dump your children on the front porch of the religious professionals or educators and think you’ve done your duty. You can’t prop them up with evangelical clubs or youth programs that have them doing a lot of biblical calisthenics and think they are somehow prepared. You might actually have to lead them across the battlefield yourself. It is not an easier form of parenting-just better. In the long run, this way produces spiritually strong and sound children.
Raising children in evangelical hideaways and creating a spiritual Disneyland works directly against the development of an empowered relationship with Christ. If anything, safe Christianity isn’t about a relationship with Jesus Christ; it’s about a relationship with a Western, middle-class caricature of Jesus Christ. It’s an option that the majority of Christian parents around the world (especially the Third World) wouldn’t consider for their children because it isn’t even a remote possibility. Raising safe Christian kids is as much a product of middle to upper-class wealth as it is anything else. Putting it bluntly, the reason parents choose to raise their children in highly protected spiritual enclaves is because they can afford to. History has shown, however, that God the Holy Spirit has always provided better protection for children than their parents’ checkbooks ever could.
These protected environments don’t allow a system of spiritual antibodies to develop within the character of the child. This produces a generation of people who must stay within a spiritually sterilized environment in order to thrive. These are nice systems that produce nice kids who marry nice kids who go to nice churches and hang out with like-minded nice friends. Meanwhile, the lost people in the world around them continue in their doomed condition. In these environments, there is little spiritual adventure. God is nice, Jesus becomes a plush toy that we cuddle, and we become irrelevant.