Child Abuse in Fundamentalist Parenting Practices

Last time, we talked about patterns of extreme child abuse in some very isolated families. However, a different level of child abuse exists among typical fundamentalists. Rather than criminal abuse, however, this abuse is centered around parenting practices promoted by several authors.

Popular Fundamentalist Parenting Practices

These practices are very popular among fundamentalists and involve corporal punishment (hitting the child) as a primary way to gain control and secure obedience, which many consider abusive (and I agree with them).

Perhaps the most read and referenced authors of these parenting books are Michael and Debi Pearl. A visit to Amazon’s customer reviews of the Pearl’s book, To Train Up a Child is very revealing. Out of 3000+ reviews, 33% are 5-star (favorable) and 62% are 1-star (unfavorable). All the top reviews are 1-star—and worth reading. Yet the Pearls remain popular among fundamentalists; their book has sold more than 1.2 million copies in twelve languages.

Why do so many people object to this book? Let’s take a look at some of their principles and techniques.

What Does To Train Up a Child Advocate?

train up a child

My copy is the 1994 version. The Pearls released an updated version in 2015; Amazon’s description states that, “There has been no editing to modify their stance on spanking. To the contrary, due to the media attacks, they have expanded and strengthened their arguments for traditional, biblical child training.”

From the introduction Michael tells us, ‘This book is not about discipline, nor problem children. The emphasis is on the training of a child before the need to discipline arises.’ Then further: ‘These truths are…the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.’

Note that the book title is not so much about rearing children as about training them. He talks throughout in terms of animal training.

Training doesn’t necessarily require that the trainee be capable of reason; even mice and rats can be trained to respond to stimuli. Careful training can make a dog perfectly obedient…proper training always works with every child. (page 2)

The objective in child-training is instant and consistent obedience. The method is to use a switch on their hand and say, ‘No!’ until they learn from the pain to respond to ‘No’. Michael explains in chapter 1:

Most children can be brought into complete and joyous subjection in just three days…by obedient, I mean, you will never have to tell them twice…Once you train an infant to respond to the command “No,” then you will have control in every area of behavior where you can give a command…swat his hand with a light object as to cause him a little pain…the child will associate the pain with the word “No”.

My Personal Response to Michael Pearl’s Advice

One might think after reading this, ‘Well that doesn’t seem too bad—a little switch; a little pain—and instant obedience is the reward!’ Who wouldn’t like that kind of control over their children!

I am no expert in parenting, but I don’t care for the concept of ‘training’ a child like an animal; and we read repeatedly that, even in animal training, use of pain is not considered the most effective method. Parenting experts say the same—that corporal (bodily) violence is not the most effective method of raising children.

I prefer child development over child ‘training’—development based on partnership, inclusion, and support between parents and child. Michael says that young children cannot reason, and I don’t disagree, but I think getting their attention with focused visual contact and saying ‘No’ is as effective as using a switch. I think using switches and pain is adversarial and a violation of genuine partnership.

Partnership is not adversarial; it is not a parent against a child. Partnership is acceptance, trust, and belonging. We can express clear boundaries by discussing them at the child’s language level, along with a code word as a reminder. Respect a child’s integrity and they will respect it too. Part of this respect is to answer their questions about boundaries; they have the right to ask why—and an authoritarian ‘Because I said so’ is not an answer.

I have friends who think children should be seen and not heard; they become very irritated when children act like children. But I say we should allow a child some room to be a child (and a person). Children are curious; they like to explore. And sometimes they like to touch things they don’t need to touch, but we can set and enforce boundaries without switches and pain.

Michael opposes child-proofing a home; he thinks it is more important to ‘train’ a child not to touch. Michael wants complete control and power over the child, which he does by switch training. But while I want to develop good behavior in a child, I don’t want to be the ‘boss’. I want to develop the child as a person.

I think child-proofing a home makes it easier for the child, though boundaries are still needed. Our family has shelves and shelves of books; you can’t child-proof for that many books. One day when my son was very young, he pulled a very significant book from the shelf and tore a page. Even though he was very young, I explained to him, at his level, the importance of books; and he never damaged a book again.

I Appreciate Much of Michael Pearl’s Approach

Let me be clear that I am not a Michael Pearl basher. He say’s a lot of good stuff—like his stance against yelling at a child or expressing anger. He says to actually drop your voice when you say, ‘No’. I agree that yelling does not promote partnership and does not result in willingly obedient children, but I disagree with his recommendations on hitting children in any way.

We will talk more about his good advice, along with his advocacy of corporal punishment, next time.

***

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81 Responses to Child Abuse in Fundamentalist Parenting Practices

  1. Anthony Paul says:

    Tim, this is a wonderful article which applies to many parents whether or not they homeschool their children. I am fortunate enough (?) to have grown into adulthood at a time of transition between total acceptance of corporal punishment and the more progressive view of child rearing as more of a collaboration between parent and child. Actually, back in the day it was believed that the only way a child could learn was by the use of physical force… I learned this back at home and as a young man in parochial school where corporal punishment was used quite a bit. (I sometimes wondered how those poor kids in the NYC public school system ever learned anything without the benefit of “the strap”). Today, I see my own sweet grandchildren growing up — not without the common problems we all face on a daily basis — but so respectful and kind and lacking much of the anger and frustration which I grew up with even at their tender age… and their parents have never had to physically correct them at any time.

    I believe that the common belief among so many fundamentalists is that a child has the mind of a little criminal — I actually heard this said at a lecture I attended — and they must be “broken” before it is too late. After all, don’t we read in The Book of Jeremiah, “The heart is desperately wicked above all things; who can know it.”

    I hope you have a great week.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Anthony, you said, “I believe that the common belief among so many fundamentalists is that a child has the mind of a little criminal — I actually heard this said at a lecture I attended — and they must be “broken” before it is too late.”

      Some fundamentalist say outright that babies are born with original sin and begin to exhibit it right away. So it essentially becomes a contest between parents and the devil (child) right away. What a way to respond to a new baby in the family!

      I hope you have a great week as well.

      Liked by 3 people

    • ancadudar says:

      “I believe that the common belief among so many fundamentalists is that a child has the mind of a little criminal — I actually heard this said at a lecture I attended — and they must be “broken” before it is too late. After all, don’t we read in The Book of Jeremiah, “The heart is desperately wicked above all things; who can know it.”

      I had an older friend who used to say this all of the time, that the heart is deceitful and wicked above all and who can know it. She used to use that as a reason to spank a child for the smallest infractions. She would also say that a spoiled child is like putrid, spoiled meaning any child under five who would not sit perfectly still during church or when visiting her house. What amazes me is that Christian adults don’t seem to think that they should be slapped for every infraction and sin they commit, only vulnerable little children. My friend got it from the church she went to and where the ACE fundamentalist school I was forced to go to was hosted because that is what the pastor used to say all of the time. Funny how they never quote what Jesus had to say about children. He called them pure.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Anthony Paul says:

        IMHO, I think some of these people are just plain warped, emotionally crippled, bullies who use the Bible as an excuse… I grew up with a father who was both physically and emotionally abusive to us kids and I think he enjoyed beating us while he kept reminding us that he did it because he “loved” us. He wasn’t an alcoholic or anything like that, like any decent child abuser… No! In his mind he was just a good father. (He often expressed his love for my mother too, I guess, when he’d smack her around too at times). Now there’s a man who didn’t even know there was a Bible till he turned 92 years of age. I can’t tell you how many times I vowed in my heart to kill him some day… but he lived to be 101… guess it’s true that only the good die young.

        Liked by 3 people

        • ancadudar says:

          Anthony Paul,
          “IMHO, I think some of these people are just plain warped, emotionally crippled, bullies who use the Bible as an excuse… I grew up with a father who was both physically and emotionally abusive to us kids and I think he enjoyed beating us while he kept reminding us that he did it because he “loved” us. He wasn’t an alcoholic or anything like that, like any decent child abuser… No! In his mind he was just a good father. (He often expressed his love for my mother too, I guess, when he’d smack her around too at times). Now there’s a man who didn’t even know there was a Bible till he turned 92 years of age. I can’t tell you how many times I vowed in my heart to kill him some day… but he lived to be 101… guess it’s true that only the good die young.”

          This is so sad Anthony, I’m really sorry 😦
          Abusers are sick and most of them claim to “love” their victims, or abuse them out of “love”. I personally think they know what they are doing, they know they are wrong.
          Man, he really lived a long time too!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Anthony Paul says:

            Thanks Anca… after posting I thought to myself, OMG this stuff is awfully personal and harsh… but truth be told, I’m fine. I was just reading a wonderful book by Richard Rohr (Falling Upward) in which he says that quite often people who have a lot of pain in their early life do very well in the second half of life in finding their true selves as they dig down to find their true identity. I have found that to be so for myself… I’ve learned that I am not defined by other people’s perceptions of me. So something very good has come out of something awful.

            Thanks for your kind words… yes, he did live a long time but I think the Holy Spirit brought him some peace in his last few years of life.

            Liked by 3 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Anthony, regarding your comment, “he kept reminding us that he did it because he “loved” us.”

          Another statement I heard frequently was ‘this hurts me more than it does you.’ I don’t think so.

          Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Anca, I think that is a terrible way to think of one’s own child. Yet I know that this is true and it is not just a few people who think like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting that he uses a training technique used on animals, since I would think that as a fundamentalist he would oppose such Pavlovian techniques which put human rationality on the same level as a mouse, dog, or mule.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anthony Paul says:

      Not so odd, I think… Actually quite typical of the fundamentalist mentality…
      “Fear not, you worm Jacob…” IS 41:14
      “But I am a worm and not a man…” PS 22:6

      Because of passages like these I actually have known some of them to actually believe that man is little more than a worm and God is gracious just for putting up with us.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There is a difference between the anthropological soteriology of saying someone is a “worm” i.e. total depravity, and saying they have the same reasoning and rationality skills.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Chas says:

      Could it be said that the military use Pavlovian techniques to train recruits to obey officers?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Westpoint used to, but there has been a change in the past 10 or so years where there is an emphasis on respect and having officers be more lead by example rather than lead by yelling.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Grateful, this sounds like a good thing! “there has been a change in the past 10 or so years where there is an emphasis on respect and having officers be more lead by example rather than lead by yelling.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • Chas says:

          Deeply, Yes, fortunately that example has been round for a long time. There was a short extract from the memories of one of the founder members of the SAS (UK special forces)on TV recently. One of them spoke of a leader who seems to have been particularly well-respected and said, ‘I would have followed him anywhere.’ A true leader goes ahead. The bible got that bit right.

          Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Grateful, Pearl comes from a farming community and seems to be impressed with the way some of them train their animals. And now many people are impressed with the way that Pearl trains his kids. I am not impressed. Who would want to do that?

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is a fine line between obedience and subservience. I’ll take your word that he’s crossed that line. I’m currently in the tangles of raising my 1st child who is 21 months old. The terrible twos are coming soon… and then the three-nager state. Oye…

        I am not impressed by a parenting style which does not acknowledge the rational side and humanity of a child. As a coach, I see training more as pulling forth and talent and skill and causing it to blossom– not beating the bad out of something (overstatement of what Pearl is stating…). So I am more impressed by those who can “train” a child to become more, rather than squelching them. It is not a simple task, and one that I am on the very beginning stages of learning how to do.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Grateful, I was going to copy some of the best of you said and respond to it, but everything you said was exceptional. I love what you said from your perspective as a coach.

          I will say one thing though; while I understand your point, I am not sure there is “a fine line between obedience and subservience”. I think there is a massive distance between them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • 🙂 feel free to use what I said. I agree with you on the “massive distance” but sometimes that massive difference is a fine line between tone, time, and temperament. But, that’s me speaking as a whet behind the hears father 😉

            Liked by 1 person

      • ancadudar says:

        jesuswithoutbaggage,
        “Grateful, Pearl comes from a farming community and seems to be impressed with the way some of them train their animals. And now many people are impressed with the way that Pearl trains his kids. I am not impressed. Who would want to do that?”

        I looked into them, and their adult children seem to have some psychological problems. There were some articles about it where some of them would blip in and out of self-awareness and one of them had strange visions. I’m not against visions as I believe God can give them to people, but these were weird ones pointing to possible disillusionment. The Pearls like to pride themselves on how well they raised their kids and how all of them are happily married, yet one of them divorced and they removed all pictures and articles about that particular child to cover it up.

        I had witnessed horrible abuses in one family 12 years ago when one of the Pearls books came out. I was in a ministry school in CA and was friends with one of the families who had four kids at the time. I knew them for one year before they had picked up the Pearl’s book, and they were such a loving family and so tender to their children. Then I noticed they started to change. Horrible changes took place. They had one daughter who was six years old and they had a swimming pool in their backyard. She was in the water with her older brother. I believe he was three or four years older than her. He began to repeatedly dunk her head under water despite her pleas for him to stop. She was coughing a lot between the dunks. She finally began to splash him and throw water in his face as self-defense and then she tried to swim to the edge of the pool and hold on. Her mother who was witnessing all of this ordered her to get out of the pool. She spanked her really hard. I was in complete shock from what I was seeing! I lashed out at my friend and asked her why she would do such a thing, she said that it’s because her daughter was being sassy instead of meek and submissive to her brother! This started a long discussion between us because I did not know where this idea was coming from, as I did not know about their recent indoctrination by this book, I did not even know who the Pearl’s were at this point. So from the discussion what my friend was saying was that girls need to learn to suffer and endure whatever a male does to them, in order to train them to be submissive to their husbands later on in life! Even if it meant her daughter was being dunked under water and chocking, that her daughter should have endured it! This is grooming a girl to become a victim later on in life. That was round one, it got so much worse.

        Later my friend got pregnant and refused any medical care or checkups, everything was to be natural. She had gotten poison Ivey late into her pregnancy that spread all over her arm, and she refused to take any medicine for it because she had also picked up a book on supernatural healing by JohnG. Lake. She kept calling students over from the ministry school to lay hands on her and pray for healing, the healing never happened, and we started to insist she use a cream or something, she never did, instead, she suffered like that for weeks. Finally, she had a home birth, as recommended by the Pearl’s, it was twins, one was stillborn, and they both had down syndrome. She refused to take the surviving baby to get professional medical care. It was at this point I had begun to confront her aggressively about all of the negative changes I notice about them as a family and asked to borrow the book. After I read it, I was sickened and outraged! I barely finished it and had to put it down between pages because my temperature was literally changing as it was so offensive to me. Also, there were strange discussions with her and her husband throughout the previous year about “headship” and their new roles. The wife literally is just docile waiting for him to give her orders. If he did not make a schedule for her, she did nothing and just let things pile up. After all of this, we fought after I told her that I could not accept this type of power structure in marriage and of course I was labeled as rebellious, etc. I parted ways with this family. I don’t know what ended up happening to them.

        This is just one family I knew, years later I saw horrible stuff between another married couple who was reading the Pearl’s book. The married girl’s parents who were fundamentalist themselves were even horrified! This type of theology is dangerous, not just unpleasant, but can literally be fatal to some.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Anca, I ‘liked’ your comment only because there was not a ‘dislike’ or ‘sad’ option. You relate a terrible story about your friend, but I have no doubt that you have shared it accurately. The patriarchy and submissiveness. The harsh spanking. The unbelievable attitude about medicine. I agree with you that it can be fatal; I have read stories to that effect.

          Do you happen to recall the source for problems with the Pearl children? Fundamentalists of this sort (homeschooling, purity culture, quiverfull, and so forth) love to talk about how happy and fulfilled their children are when this is simply not always the case. I am sure there is an excuse as to why it is not the parents’ fault.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ancadudar says:

            jesuswithoutbaggage,
            There are a few blogs on this, that pretty much all say the same thing. I was over a year ago that I looked into this. I remember that there was also a facebook post where Lori Pearl the ex, spoke of abuse from her husband. I’m trying to see if I can find the facebook post again.

            Here is a quote from this blog, apparently they do not do legal marriages, so it is a “divorce” without the court.

            “You see, several months after their fourth child, Liam (Mike and Debi’s unacknowledged* 21st grandchild), was born, Gabe’s wife Lori left him, took the kids back to her parents’ home near Columbus, started working, and changed her name. We could say they got a divorce, but–following Mike’s no-license policy–they’d never been legally married. Thus there was no legal impediment for her to leave him, nor for Gabe to add another wife, Elizabeth, in April of 2017.”

            Here is the link to the blog with the quote above.
            https://whitemail.blogspot.com/2017/05/is-mike-pearl-being-honest.html

            A quote about their view on a marriage license –
            Link- http://www.freejinger.org/topic/27289-gabriel-pearl-divorced/?page=4

            “None of my daughters or their husbands asked the state of Tennessee for permission to marry. They did not yoke themselves to the government. It was a personal, private covenant, binding them together forever—until death. So when the sodomites have come to share in the state marriage licenses, which will eventually be the law, James and Shoshanna will not be in league with those perverts. And, while I am on the subject, there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts.”

            Rebekah Anast, one of the Pearl’s daughter is the one with the “visions”. One of their sons seems to go into dazes and babble nonsense. No longer quivering wrote some stuff about it with quotes from the Pearl’s website. Others have blogged about it too. All one has to do is a google search on their names. This blog below gives some details of Rebekah Anast and how her husband forced them to live in poverty. I know blogs can be a source of opinion and gossip, but in one of their books, Rebekah speaks about how they did not have any food to live off of because her husband decided to quit his job and live off faith and donations, and she as a wife and woman was not allowed to work. They had someone donate them cabbage to live off of for months! This is in their own book, the blogs just comment on them.
            The blog is below.
            https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/freejinger/okay-don-t-forget-it-the-home-of-michael-pearl-s-c-t5187.html

            Sean Pollack and Lydia Shatz, two children that died as a result of Michael and Debi Pearl’s teaching. More followed in the last two years!

            I know the story about my friend sounds unbelievable, but Tim, I did not even write all the details to save time and not make my posts too long. I have so much experience and horrible stories with fundamentalists. I was raised European Pentecostal, attended a fundamentalist southern baptist school, went to a charismatic ministry school by choice in my early 20’s, attended many other denominations and worked on and off in ministries with them through my 20’s. I’m early 30’s now. I’m really done with these groups. It’s come to a point where I get sick physically when I see some of the things they do. I’ll take Jesus in my life without the baggage! If I was not sure already from personal experience and strong faith in Jesus Christ, I would have already left the religion and probably become agnostic.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Anca, thank you for this information. I did google searches on such terms as ‘Pearl’s children’ and found nothing. But I will check out all these links and, now that I know the names involved, I can do more google searches.

            Thanks again for sharing. I do not delight in other people’s problems but I do want to learn more about what has happened here.

            Like

  3. newtonfinn says:

    I think that the fundamentalist way of raising/training a child is not so much a reflection of Bibilcal values as economic values, as are many of the other less coercive ways we go about socializing our young. We treat our children much as our employers treat us, so that our children will become productive, obedient servants of their economic masters, as we are and must be to survive. And the more productive and obedient we can make our children by whatever means (harsh or more gentle), the better the chance they will have to climb higher up the economic ladder and–who knows?–perhaps become masters themselves someday with their own productive and obedient employees at their beck and call. The whole thing, to be brutally honest–from the way we raise our children to the way we compete and struggle to make a living–is at the farthest remove from the teaching of Jesus and the radically humane, egalitarian, and liberating values of his Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is no more of a concrete reality today, as opposed to a visionary dream (or sigh), than it was in the Roman Empire. That’s why so many of Jesus’ parables about the relationship between rich and poor, master and servant, continue to ring so true.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, you might be right about economical considerations. However, fundamentalists refer heavily to a few passages in the book of Proverbs (they are God’s assured word to us you know). I will list the references next time.

      I am glad you brought up Jesus, who is our ultimate example. Don’t you remember where Jesus said, ‘If anyone does not whup his children good, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’? (Matthew 18)

      And, ‘Let the little children come to me…and I will whup the tar out of ’em’? (Matthew 19).

      Liked by 3 people

    • ancadudar says:

      newtonfinn,
      “I think that the fundamentalist way of raising/training a child is not so much a reflection of Bibilcal values as economic values, as are many of the other less coercive ways we go about socializing our young. We treat our children much as our employers treat us, so that our children will become productive, obedient servants of their economic masters, as we are and must be to survive. And the more productive and obedient we can make our children by whatever means (harsh or more gentle), the better the chance they will have to climb higher up the economic ladder and–who knows?–perhaps become masters themselves someday with their own productive and obedient employees at their beck and call. The whole thing, to be brutally honest–from the way we raise our children to the way we compete and struggle to make a living–is at the farthest remove from the teaching of Jesus and the radically humane, egalitarian, and liberating values of his Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is no more of a concrete reality today, as opposed to a visionary dream (or sigh), than it was in the Roman Empire. That’s why so many of Jesus’ parables about the relationship between rich and poor, master and servant, continue to ring so true.”

      I think you are really onto something here! Only I believe that if one studies the Old Testament closely, we find that the Bibilcal values around the Law and treatment of children were formed around economic values! Values that benefit parents, particularly fathers.
      Girls were sold off for money by father’s and used to build alliances. Thus prompting all of the laws about punishment for loss of a girl’s virginity, including being spoiled goods if raped and forced to marry the rapist with a bride price involved. This played a large part into why it was culturally acceptable to marry off girls as young as 11 or 12 years old to old men ensuring virginity was still intact due to her young age as her economic value for the family was in her virginity, and older men had acquired the resources to pay a brideprice and care for a wife. Boys were seen as existing to provide for parents and go to war for them. The OT would allow to kill one’s son for being a glutton because eating too much would cost parents too much expense! Parents could sell children off as slaves to cover a family debt. This is what prompted so much of the OT harsh laws against children and discipline.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Good point, Anca–children as economic assets.

        Liked by 1 person

      • newtonfinn says:

        Excellent points, ancadudar. I also tend to think that the NT, perhaps even more so than the OT, is about economics, as least as far as the teachings of Jesus are concerned. Just count the number of his sayings, parables, warnings, and exhortations that focus on, or are framed by, debt and wealth. And I’m not talking about tame Christian stewardship.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Chas says:

        Ancadudar, that comment about ‘girls being used to build alliances’ has been a recurring theme in European (and no doubt also outside Europe) royal families for more than 1500 years. Kings, emperors and provincial dukes sought to form advantageous alliances with others of a similar (or preferably superior) rank. In recent years, impoverished royals have tended to ‘marry into money’, with rank coming a very poor second to money in matters of desirability.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. tonycutty says:

    Oh, dear God. I personally cringe and shrivel inwardly when I remember that we used to listen to James Dobson parenting videos with our church. We used to laugh along with his ‘jokes’, which were in reality simply thinly veiled child cruelty. And so much more that makes me feel even more embarrassed. But fortunately my dear late wife had so much widsom and natural mother instinct that we never actually applied these things to our kids’ upbringing, and I thank the Lord for that, and for her. So both my older boys are now decent members of society, not maladjusted emotional and cripples. And my daughter, since we had her much later, never had the remotest chance of being in a bad parenting atmosphere.

    But still my loathing of the Dobson stuff remains; not that I will have to bring up kids again, but I am so glad that that toxic stuff was recognised by my wife for what it was, and discarded along with the rest of the stuff that goes down the toilet.

    Liked by 4 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, I think Dobson was probably the grandfather of conservative believers who teach that we should break the wills of our children. I have his Strong Willed Child on my shelf but haven’t looked at it in a really long time. Of course, Dare to Discipline was big.

      Many years ago, I thought Dobson was a good, reasonable leader until one day I looked at a book for my son who was entering adolescence. Good Holy Moley! I would never subject my son to that sort of stuff!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Paz says:

    Surely the way to teach children about cultivating compassion towards others must also begin with cultivating compassion towards oneself!? I think there has to be a “healthy” balance which includes both discipline and following the way of the heart – to help children develop an understanding which is necessary to make sense of love and also to follow and relate to the message that we are all ( and yes, including children!) created in God’s image.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Chas says:

      Paz, In regard to discipline, it is important to set limits to the behaviour of children, having made it clear why those limits are set, as Tim has already mentioned . The limits therefore have to be justifiable, not ‘because I say so’. The other thing is to ensure that both parents are signed up to the same limits and uphold them, so the child cannot play one parent off against the other.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Paz, I agree.

      Like

  6. When will the scourge of the need for being right and compliance/obedience end? Does anyone see the irony of treating children like animals as similar to what was attempted on Jesus by authority figures in his day? I guess he just wasn’t trained up right – he kept questioning authority, talked back, and proclaimed a message that was different and in opposition to what the authorities over him proclaimed. Some people I guess will never learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. newtonfinn says:

    Chas, all we have of Jesus, apart from subjective religious experience, are the ideas of men, what they remembered or imagined about him. Some of these ideas about Jesus seem to hang together closely enough, complement each other clearly enough, to create, at least for believers, a comprehensible and convincing portrait. There has always been and will always be disagreement about the details of the portrait and the overall interpretation, as demonstrated by the four gospels themselves. The entry into Jerusalem, confrontation with the priests/scribes/lawyers, and resulting crucifixion would seem to fall within the category of ideas about Jesus that fit together and illuminate each other, at least for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paz says:

      Newton, I agree! In addition, the way I understand it, Jesus’ gentle and meek character, does not contradict that he was also human and therefore, he shared the same emotions/ feelings just like us, keeping in mind, that his frustration and even anger is also part of a natural, normal human emotion. How could we possibly relate to or find the Christ “within us” if we didn’t see that he also had to overcome the struggles that we (humans) have to deal with (including negative feelings/emotions) in His Human experience!?

      Liked by 3 people

    • Chas says:

      Newton, This is why I have been trying to drill down to find the real Son of God. It seems to me that the Gospels are rather like a staff report form, they tell us more about the one doing the reporting than about the subject of the report form.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Chas, where have you been ‘drilling down’, and what do you think you have found?

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        • Chas says:

          I have told you before. Much of the answer is given in my comment of May 12; 3.04pm.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Do you know anyone else who has been drilling down and finding the same answers you are finding?

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          • Chas says:

            No, I am not aware that anyone else has been taking the same approach. That does not worry me.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, do you think the HS reveals things to other people as well? Would those revelations not be the same for everyone?

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          • Chas says:

            I cannot answer for other people’s experiences. All I can say is that my experiences give me confidence in them.

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    • Chas says:

      It is necessary for me to amplify my previous comment. What we have in the Gospels is a based on the presumption that the Son of God was the Messiah ‘prophesied’ in the books of the Old testament, even though that Messiah was a myth. Since the narrative is shaped around some of those ‘prophecies’, plus others that the writer(s) thought were prophecies of the Messiah (e.g. Isaiah 52/53), we have a great deal of ‘baggage’ to unship before we can see the real Son of God. Those items that show a Son of God who is compassionate and kind, who made speeches about doing good to others, because God provides for all people, and that a person’s goodness will be shown by their actions, can be traced to the Stoics. It is possible that the message of the Son of God was high-jacked by Judaism, or even that Judaism itself could have been influenced by Stoic philosophy.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Well said, Newton!

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  8. Paz says:

    Tim, I also think that Jesus had to make the difficult choice of taking the attention instead – Off (?) himself at the temple, to be put under the enormous pressure that he had to deal with and the struggles that he had to endure, including perceptions about his image/character as he confronted the powers, to fulfill the good work that he had begun (for himself and others) as he continue to move closer to fully accomplish Ultimate Truth and release from death.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Paz, that makes sense to me. Instead of just bringing attention to himself, he also brought attention in a dramatic way to how the temple courts were being misused–which was a big deal.

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      • Chas says:

        Tim, but the temple was man’s. Why would it be important to God what men did with it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I think the temple was important to Jesus as the closest way to approach God at that time.

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        • Chas says:

          If that was his closest way to approach God, then he had no relationship with God!

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            I don’t think it was Jesus’ closest way to approach God, but having merchants in the temple court hindered Gentiles and was disrespectful of them.

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          • Chas says:

            How could it hinder Gentiles, they were not allowed into the temple? and why would it be disrespectful to the Gentiles rather than the Jews, whose temple it was?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, the merchants were most likely set up in the court of the Gentiles–the large outer court. See Mark 11: He said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.”

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          • Chas says:

            The only problem is that the courtyard is not in the house.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            But the outer court was part of the Temple courts. There was the area for the priests, then the court of men, then the court of women, then the court of the Gentiles–which is the closest they could come to the inside of the Temple.

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  9. Pingback: Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child? | Jesus Without Baggage

  10. Not going to read through all the comments here, as I expect it to be more of the same stereotyping of certain folks. My parents spanked me now and then. I’m glad they did, it was always deserved when it happened, and it taught me that there is such a thing as respect for authority. It’s easy to see the loss of that respect in our world today, it’s everywhere. When we stopped teaching respect our society went down hill and it’s to the point now where a large portion of young adults and teenagers respect no one and nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Wilds, I fully agree with you about our not teaching children and young people respect for others in our society, and consequent detrimental effect on society as a whole. It might be that we can now see the effects of a second generation who have failed to do this: double jeopardy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      If it is true that children and youth today do not have proper respect, it abusive spanking the answer?

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      • Chas says:

        Tim, Corporal punishment is certainly not the answer. The primary answer is example. Be what you wish your children to be. The secondary answer is love; however, a parent might love their child as much as it is possible for anyone to love them and be a superb example to them, yet the child might not respond with love and might turn out to be evil . Our genes seem to have much to answer for.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Is spanking abusive? The whole point of your articles seems to be that a swat on the behind or hand is abuse. Whole generations and whole cultures think otherwise and still produce plenty of good citizens.
        We have had close friends in the Mennonite community for example. (Not old order) Here is a generally very tight community of believers who take certain parts of the Bible more literal than I do, (head coverings, certain dress standards) but overall, their children are well behaved, they have a good work ethic and a loving spirit. Should I be judging the way they discipline, or their overall life style, if it’s working? How often do you hear of a mennonite teenager robbing a convenience store? Respect doesn’t just happen, it has to be taught. Sure, they are kids who never require any kind of serious discipline, but then there are the strong willed children. And no, the point is not the break the spirit. That’s not they way you train an animal either, so that idea breaks down very quickly. You strive to point that spirit in the right direction. If it requires the occasional spanking, that is the price you pay. Because, yes, it is more painful for the parent who truly loves his kids. Tough love is always hard, but often necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Wild, you said, “The whole point of your articles seems to be that a swat on the behind or hand is abuse.”

          If I left that impression it was unintentional. I don’t think hitting children is a good strategy, but an occasion pat on the behind to get their attention is not the same to me corporal punishment as a plan.

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          • Well you said you agree with Pearl on some things, but disagree with spanking, so I’m not sure what other impression I was supposed to get. I’ve seen the difference between kids raised with normal disipline that includes spanking as needed, (not necessarily as the primary option.) and actual abuse. One has little to do with the other. One tends to create adults with a strong sense of right and wrong. The other tends to create adults with deep insecurities of many kinds. ” And that’s all I have to say about that.”

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Anthony Paul says:

    It’s interesting to me that the last generation to speak always talks about how the youth have “lost respect” or lack some kind of basic moral compass for one reason or another… in my generation where I grew up in the 50’s (and corporal punishment was totally accepted and practiced) the demon du jour was good old Rock N’ Roll music. Today, in addition to the topic at hand, I’m sure we all have our favorite top 10 causes for this total decline in Western civilization in our time. People are always looking to blame someone or something to explain normal evolution in any culture… I like to blame it all on Socrates for corrupting the morals of the youth of Athens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Anthony, I was thinking much the same thing. It seems that every generation of adults thinks the young people of the day are insufficient simply because in some ways they don’t act as the adults perceive that they did when they were young.

      Like

      • Chas says:

        The reason for saying that they are worse is that they leave trash everywhere they go. We usually did not do that (although there were a few exceptions even then). The exceptions now seem to be the ones who take their trash away with them.

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