Thursday, July 23, 2015

Should We Join A Commune?

I sat down here today to work on a funny blog post about how different it is when Mom is sick versus when Dad is sick, which is really hilarious (by my own standards), and will get written, but I can't seem to get something else out of my mind. 

And since it's my blog and my hobby and my way to process, I can write whatever. 

Someone asked me recently what I am trying to do with this blog. And the answer is "whatever." I enjoy it. I enjoy the process. I enjoy the writing. Every blog post gets a couple hundred hits, some closer to a thousand. It's fun to think about people reading it. I enjoy the conversations it starts. I especially enjoy the parts when moms let me know they appreciate my honesty because this job ain't easy and people who say they have it together and never yell at their kids and never cry in the closet are making them feel terrible about the job they themselves are doing. Trust me, crying in the closet happens here.

So this is what is on my mama mind today. Maybe it's on yours, or maybe you will read this and think we are nuts who need to go live on a commune, but either way it's me being real about the struggle.

And I've had several conversations recently that tell me this topic is on more than just my mind.

So here I go.

Sex. 

The girls wanted to go see a movie as one of our fun summer things. As we were driving home from vacation I started reading and looking at clips of two kids movies that are out right now: "Inside Out" and "Minions." 

I was immediately disappointed by the clips of the Minions movie. I mean, one showed a Minion in a thong, strutting towards a hot tub where two more minions are waiting suggestively. I showed it to Preston, who shook his head in disgust and goes, "Why? Why do they have to put that stuff in there?" 

Yes, why?

Then when we went to the theater to see the other kids movie, the movie poster for "Minions" hanging outside the theater was drawn to give the impression that we were seeing the minions from the back, naked.

Why is this the promotion for a movie directed at kids? Why are they being exposed to sexually suggestive situations? I really and truly don't understand whom it benefits.  

Scripture tells us sex is how God supernaturally transforms two people into one. Mind-boggling. Two people fuse and become one. Crazy! 

So why would I expose my children to things telling them sex is all about pleasure, especially when two of the three don't even know about sex yet? Of course pleasure is part of it - within the context of the joy of two becoming one. Still mind-boggling. There were two people and now there are one? What the what now?

While on our two week vacation we were staying at a hotel where the Disney Channel was available, and I had a sick kid, so naturally I went there. 

Wrong move. Shows and commercials telling my girls that they are only a few years away from an adult romance, complete with drama and kissing. 

Again, why? Whom is this benefiting? I truly don't understand.

And then why are we surprised when we put our 8 year olds in front of shows meant for 12 year olds that they act like 12 year olds, or then later on when our 12 year olds act like 16 year olds? 

Why are we surprised by the hypersexualization of our culture when we approve it by tuning in, buying tickets, and refusing to speak up?

Our girls were watching a movie they knew we really wouldn't approve of, but watched it anyways. When we talked to them about it, one said, "I knew I shouldn't be watching it, but once it started I wanted to and couldn't look away."

That pierced me. Isn't this the case with so much of our sin, especially sexual sin? We know we shouldn't watch porn, but once it starts... Or we know we shouldn't flirt, but it feels fun and harmless...until it goes past flirting. Or (for me personally) I know I need to be patient with the One I Love Most, but it's so easy to fall into the routine of being impatient and irritated with him half the time. 

Sin is usually a spiral, rarely an all-of-a-sudden situation. And once the spiral starts, it's so hard to look away.

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision about same sex marriages, the elders and pastor at our church issued two letters addressing the congregation about where our church will stand when this issue is inevitably raised. They are so full of love, and grace, and also the truth our congregation will abide by. There is a particular paragraph from one of the letters which has stuck with me...

"We will teach our young people about sexuality from a Biblical perspective. We will not dodge the hard questions or issues. We won't be prudish, but we won't be sensational either."

This raises several questions:

At what point do we tell our children about sex? Our 8 year old knows the basics, and interestingly it's because of something she saw on TV that brought up the questions. But what about all the other sexual stuff? 

Really, the biggest question for us we are praying through is how not to be prudish in a world where sexuality is literally everywhere? It seems holding to almost any standard these days is considered prudish by some. And the Bible tells me to be in the world - no communes, and on top of no communes, actively seeking out opportunities to be in the lives of the lost. But the Bible also says not of the world. Be relevant, seek to have influence, to be taken seriously, but don't participate. I also don't want to be sensational, making mountains out of things that are really molehills. So this is the balance I need to achieve. 

How??????

Well, I don't exactly know. We are figuring this out as we go. There is no manual, book, website, blog, anything to give the exact answers to the thousands of parenting questions that arise daily. Daily. But I know I want the girls to be well thought of, to have influence, and to use their influence to bring others to Jesus. Really, that's what I want for our family.

And we have the Bible. 

But even that is being twisted, and taken out of context and used to justify our actions while condemning someone else's. I have said it before, and I really do think you can find a study, a percentage, an undercover video, even a Scripture reference to back up anything you want to back up. Exercising makes you fat. Coffee is good for you. Jesus wants you to be happy most of all, so do what makes you happy. Truth is whatever it is for you.

As I've said in the past, of hypocrites I am the worst. There are so, so many things you can judge about our lives. Judge away. I'll help. I'm impatient. I waste time looking at BuzzFeed. I yell. I spend money on things I don't need while children starve. Our girls like to say "butt." They like "booty" even better. They love "The Little Mermaid" in which a scantily clad 16 year old falls in love and gets married at the end. Barbie, with her giant fake boobs and itty bitty waist, is a favorite play thing in this house. And these things make up the smallest, tiniest tip of the iceberg.

(Put on a shirt, Ariel! And wipe that "come hither" 
look off your face, young lady!)


So I want to be really, really careful about checking the plank in our eyes because it is enormous. Thankfully the sanctification process is real and is taking place every day. I'm not quite as awful as I was yesterday.  

And ultimately, I really believe every mama (and daddy) is doing the best she can for the kids God gave her and whom she loves, with the skill-set and knowledge she has at the time. 

But I want to keep adding to my knowledge and skill set and evolving my parenting as I learn and grow. 

For this, I want the Bible to be my guide, the source of my knowledge, the place to find the truth, untwisted and in context because I have taken the time to read it, not because I read a blog about it or heard a sermon preached. I want the Bible to be the reason I grow...not this blog, not my emotions, or what my neighbor says is ok. Because it only matters what the Bible says is ok. The Bible has to be my standard, or my hypocrisy knows no bounds. 

If you don't agree with any of this, or think we are crazy prudes, or thought the Minion movie was the best movie ever made, that's ok. See my plank? It's bigger than yours. 

And when I stand before the Lord God, clothed in Jesus' righteousness He bought for me on the cross, I only care about one thing: I really, really want Him to say, "Well done with those girls I let you have for a while. They did amazing things to advance the Gospel!" 

Grace,
Martha

P.S. If you are looking for some kids shows that aren't full of sex, "Strawberry Shortcake" (the newer ones) continues to be a HUGE hit in this house. The characters are kind to one another, kindly resolve and work through problems, even having kind confrontations. It is probably my all-time favorite.

Another of our favorites, for girls and boys, is "The Backyardigans." 

And there's always "Leave it to Beaver." The best show ever.  

P.P.S. Also, if you have had it with this deep post and really only come here for a laugh, give me a few days. The Dad sick vs. Mom sick post is cracking Preston and I up. 



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