May 19, 2011

Book Discussion - Why Christian Kids Rebel - Week 3

Dr. Tim Kimmel is the founder of  Family Matters  and the author of this great book, Why Christian Kids Rebel.  We're on week 3 of our discussions.  I've been doing two chapters at a time, but this week I want to just tackle Chapter 5, Compulsory Christianity.

As I read the pages of this chapter, I quickly realized that this is my biggest fear.  As parents, we feel comfortable that we are individually living out our faith, but our children can also be living out OUR faith, not their own.  As the discussion unfolded about christianity being a family hobby, I began to feel a panic rise up within me.  As my husband and I take part in serving opportunities, our children come with us.  Sometimes they take part, depending on what that service might be.  Other times they may stay home.  But I got the feeling that this could be happening in our family.  Our children are taking part because they really don't have any other choice.  They come with the family to church activities just like we would all go to a day at the pool.  Not exactly the outcome I would be looking for, but a huge eye opener to me.

Dr Kimmel lists several questions on pages 96-98 that can help you discern whether your faith is a hobby or an authentic relationship with Christ.  I liked the list, and it reminded me of many things that I could do better, but I want to know how I can get my kids to that same stage!  When children ride their parent's faith coattails, many cultivate fatal flaws:

  1. Kids don't thing that God is as real as He is.  When we grow up in Christian homes, sometimes we never take that relationship serious, or dig deeper to discover an authentic friendship with Christ.
  2. They don't think Sin is as bad as it is.  We talk about sin in our family, but this really made me think that we as parents have not conveyed how serious it is to our children, and therefore they haven't learned how God feels about sin. We need to do some more serious training here.
  3. They don't think for themselves.  This section was hard to read for any parent!  "Kids need to struggle with their faith.  They need dilemmas that force them to their knees."  Think back to last weeks description of parents, and many of us would fall into the "Rescuer" category on this one.  We don't want our kids to have to suffer.  But suffering brings on more faith and perseverance!
I really needed this chapter, and it has presented me with a lot to think through on how we are approaching "faith teaching" at our house.  I certainly needed the reminder in the closing paragraph that this faith walk for my children is a marathon, not a sprint!

I'll leave you with a couple questions today:  "Has Christ become a hobby to me?"  "Am I more in love with the traditions of my faith than with the Savior of my soul?"


  1. This was me AND my husband. Both preachers kids. I think the danger comes when us kids feel that church or ministry has become more important. You can't miss a Sunday?! Now as adults we are walking with Father but still not in "church" We see our dads working and tired. It breaks both of our hearts. Relationship with Father (as you said) is more important that Religion, as long as our children see this they too will fall in love with the Man that has their parent's hearts! Great post!

  2. I am definitely a Tim Kimmel fan! I haven't read this one yet. My kids are still preschoolers.

    I've been thinking about Christianity being a hobby. I don't think I'm in love with the 'traditions' of my faith, but by my circle of Christian friends that I am so VERY thankful to have! It's easy to not focus on Christ when things are going good and I think that's where I've been struggling!


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