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Apr
21

Fight the Power!

By

257ccfee-9f13-477b-bd93-913671833bcfI have a wonderful niece that I love dearly. And I hope she doesn’t read this blog. She’s not a dude, so that narrows my chances of her finding it online. She probably doesn’t search out excellent ways on how to be a Work at Home Mom either (she’s still a teen). She’s also not interested in God . . . so I pray for her because she is ‘lost.’ Not only is she lost, she also is a college student at a big, and secular, university.

She’s the springboard for talking about this topic that I foreshadowed near the end of my Dino War! series. Because to be a good Dad, you have to model and teach your kids how to think. Not what to think, but rather TO think. — to participate in the act of thinking.

It seems like, not very long ago, thinking happened in college. College was for thinking. Kids that came out of elementary and secondary education with the ‘basics’ were then challenged with different opinions, and philosophies and other students from differing backgrounds. College students were thinkers, and activists, and explorers.

But it seems like today, college students are expected to lock-step with the same opinion, and not question, and not search.

Wow, I sound like one of those crotchety ‘old fellers’ longing for the old days.

I’m a rebel though. And a conspiracy theorist. I am going so far as to say that ALL dads and Christians need to be rebels and conspiracy theorists. Here’s why this concept (and my college rant) applies to Dads:

The Bible is pretty clear that Christianity involves a struggle between good and evil. They are not evenly matched, but evil still tries to destroy people from having hope and faith in God. Everyone is on one side or the other of this struggle.

Consider for a moment that you are a guard at the gate for a TOP SECRET research facility. One day a car pulls up to the gate. The driver is wearing sunglasses and a fake mustache. You ask for their id, and they hand you a crayon drawing of a picture with the inscription ‘Official Person.’

Do you:

A: Let them in; seems legit

B: Question them . . . with many questions . . . and only let them in when you are sure.

This analogy is what it’s like to be a Dad in the world today. Maybe not as extreme as fake mustaches and crayon IDs, but evil is trying to come into the lives of our kids every day. And evil doesn’t really play by the rules, sometimes evil looks pretty normal; even nice.

The Bible rips the disguise off of evil in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

“Rulers, people in authority, spiritual forces;” and in many cases, they look just like TV personalities, teachers, other religions, and your friends. Rarely does evil look like Voldemort or Darth Vader.

That’s why we need to teach our kids how to rebel against the accepted norm and be suspicious of good sounding, ‘nice,’ things.

How to rebel appropriately

The Bible says that followers of Christ are aliens and strangers to this world and recommends that we be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

There is a good way to question authority and ask questions. And there is a bad way. Honestly either way will probably result in a negative response from teachers, leaders, and authority figures, but it’s important for us dads to show kids how to stay respectful, and still stand up for their beliefs. Show them how to ask questions respectfully, model for them some catchphrases on speaking disagreement. Help them express their passion for truth without having them make things ‘personal.’

When I was in college I took a philosophy class at a large, and secular, university. The professor was expounding one day on the Bible, and, of course, she was misquoting it and misinterpreting it. So, the lowly hand of a college freshman raises slowly from the back of the class.

Me: Actually, the Bible doesn’t say that.

Professor: Yes it does, I’ve read the whole Bible.

Me: [Clearing my throat to speak up because I’m committed to this now] Actually it doesn’t.

Professor: Well, the burden of proof is on you. Do you have a Bible to prove me wrong?

[Suddenly I realize that I’m the only one, in a Freshman class of 30 – 40 students, that believes/knows the Bible.]

Me: Actually, you misquoted it, so the burden of proof is on you. (plus, I didn’t have a Bible at the time — and yes, this was before cell phones)

Professor: Does anyone have a Bible?

. . . . so, three kids dash off to the college library to find a Bible. One finally returns with a KJV Bible and the Professor stumbles around for several minutes before accusing me of disrupting class, etc. and asking me to find the passage she had made up.

For the rest of that semester, in all the Philosophy classes (because my rebellious tale was told over and over), I was known as the radical Christian problem-causer.

The ‘moral’ of that little anecdote is that your kids will probably be attacked for their beliefs. Are you ok with that? If you aren’t, you probably should stop reading now.

The art of asking questions

It’s amazing what I can confront in a counseling session just by asking questions.

“Did your marriage vows include this word, “happy?”

Who would be the first person to notice that you didn’t have an anger problem any longer?

If God came to sit in on our session, what would He say about you?

Questions are good because they seem a little less controversial and challenging. You can prelude them with little catch-phrases like,

“Have you considered . . . “

“I appreciate your viewpoint on that, are you open to hearing a different view?”

“Help me understand . . “

There are those of you whom do this a LOT better than I do. Please share your best methods to question authority without invoking extreme wrath. All our children need to benefit from the community of Dads.

Stand up

The other key ingredient of fighting against the powers of evil is to know what you believe and to stand up for your beliefs.

Ask your kids how they would describe their faith. Make sure your kids know what being a Christ follower means. Help them be ok with being different than everyone around them.

Back in the ‘90’s I worked for a summer as a camp counselor in Colorado. At the end of the summer I came back to my lowly hometown in Indiana and had all kinds of ‘radical’ experiences to share. Because of these experiences, I learned some new lingo (rock climbing terms), and had some new ways to dress (Tevas), and new activities (hacky-sack). I was not looking and acting like the normal Hoosier. I had two choices:

1. Quietly revert back to fitting in. Maybe do a little hacky sack in my basement . . .

2. Bring the newfound experiences to the forefront of life. Anyone want to hack?

There is much more to say on this, especially about being a conspiracy theorist. Here is the summery for this installment.

Help your kids to rebel against cockamamie ideas and pop science. Show your kids how to ‘respectfully’ disagree with those in authority and to appropriately challenge false teachings.

In my next article I’ll ‘speak’ more to being a conspiracy theorist. But I don’t think this topic would be complete without a reference to the popular term “Stick it to the man” – which is another expression for fighting the power of authority. When I think of “Stickin’ it to the man” I had to include a reference to this commercial: https://youtu.be/ZG-VB5xb6KM?t=11s

And, just in case you do read this, darling niece; I love you! I want to be in heaven with you some day.

Fight the Power!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . . .
Find out more at www.pathseekercenter.org

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