Right now, I'm reading the book "The God Who Shows Himself" by Carl F.H. Henry. I hope to be reading quite a bit of his stuff throughout this year, so if you don't know who he is I'll write more about that at a later date. I'm only about a fourth of the way through this book, but I've already found many "gems" which will probably make it into my blog. I not only enjoy most of the subject matter he writes about, even when I don't care about the subject matter, I like the way he writes. So you can probably expect to hear much about him and his writing over the coming year.
Anyway, on to the point at hand. In the first chapter, I noticed a rather interesting remark that fits in with the "Love God. Hate Sin." revolution. Check it out:
Strong love is impossible without also strong hate. Not to hate evil, therefore, means being a traitor to God and to virtue. It must be indicated, however, that Christianity's context of hate is never ultimately anti-anyone or anything. Whatever hate the Christian religion sanctions simply reflects love for God and man, and consequent disapproval of whatever refuses to be pro-God and pro-neighbor.
What is interesting about this quote is that the context is concerning social responsibility: why and how Christians ought to be concerned with social justice and caring for the less fortunate. Henry reveals that the motivation for social responsibility is neighbor love, agape love. During the day in which he was writing (the 1960's), however, the so-called "social gospel" was rampant. The social gospel focused only on social justice and caring for the less fortunate and tended to neglect the true good news of salvation for sinners. Furthermore, the social gospel also tended to be morally liberal, ignoring areas of Scripture where godly lifestyles are outlined. Writing in this context, his point is that in order for us to properly care for the less fortunate of society as God desires, we must have the proper love: a strong agape love. In order for us to have this strong love, we must also have strong hate: hatred of evil or sin. The social gospel, then, falls short because it does not hate sin. And because it does not hate sin, it does not have the love it needs to carry it over time.
So there you have it. Even for us to genuinely care for the less fortunate and to be socially responsible, we must love God and hate sin. I'm telling you, it affects every aspect of our lives.
Love God. Hate Sin.
I just finished reading an oldie but a goodie: How to be a Hero to Your Kids by Josh McDowell and Dick Day. This is one that that I remember on my Dad's book shelf. I probably would have stolen it from him if I had seen it recently, but I picked this one up from Edward McKay for like $3.
This is a great book and an easy read. It's definitely not the best "dad and family" book I've ever read but this one is extremely practical. Almost every chapter left me with some practical ideas on how to be a better dad. Probably the biggest take-away is the books discussion on rules vs. relationship. Your rules are only as good as your relationship. The mistake that many parents (in church life) make is being completely authoritarian: "These are the rules, and you WILL follow the rules, or else." Even at Journey, I recently heard a parent of a teenager say, "I'm not your friend; I'm your dad!" This dad has shifted too far to one side of the scale. Rules will only work as far as your relationship will carry them. Of course, as long as your kids are younger, you can continue to simply enforce rules. But when your kids are older, they will rebel against your authority. Teenagers and young adults want relationship. Those who are open to relationship with them will be the ones they allow to have influence in their lives.
The other side of that scale is where many other parents fall. It's all about relationship and never about rules or authority. These parents are able to have influence in their kids lives, but no authority. The problem with this is that influence is only passive. The only control you have is through a kind of peer pressure. But peer pressure doesn't always work, especially when your kids are teenagers. Teenagers are developing minds of their own, and they are going to make their own decisions regardless of whatever influence you are trying to have. Then when you try to enforce a rule, they reject it and still do whatever they want because they don't respect you as an authority figure in their lives.
The goal, then, is to have the perfect balance between rules and relationship. Rules are necessary and good. But they will only work as far as your relationship will carry them.
It's a good book. At times, it's a little outdated, but still recommended.