Tag Archives: discipleship

Parental Spontaneity

Have you ever been in the middle of a phone call or a conversation with someone else and been interrupted by your children? I have many times, and I am certain I have not always responded the right way. To say parenting is difficult is a profound understatement. As I mentioned in my little booklet, The Trinitarian Fatherbeing a parent requires that you embody many roles at the same time. Paul Tripp summarized this when he says that parenting demands spontaneity:

Parenting is all about living by the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. You don’t really know when you’ll have enforce a command, intervene in an argument, confront a wrong, holdout for a better way, remind someone of a truth, call for forgiveness, lead someone to confession, point to Jesus, restore peace, hold someone accountable, explain a wisdom principle, give a hug of love, laugh in the face of adversity, help someone complete a task, mediate an argument, stop with someone and pray, assist someone to see their heart, or talk once again about what it means to live together in a community of love. a

We are not just speaking of making up rules as we go, but of a prepared spontaneity. This demands wisdom; wisdom that at times is not available in a handy “how to” book. Wisdom that needs to be gained in community; a community that struggles together with you and is not afraid to consider and learn from their mistakes.

What is easier? To ground a child after an act of disobedience or to speak and nurture a child after the act? What is easier? To separate two children after a dispute and send them to their separate rooms or to engage them each and teach them how to confess sin and find reconciliation? Parenting is hard because dealing with the consequences of our children’s sin is time consuming.

Instead of dealing with each issue the easy way, and instead of treating each sin as an interruption, the ways of God demand that we change our attitude about these things and realize that parenting “is never an interruption.” b We should look at our roles as parents as roles that demand constant interruption. When children rebel that history of rebellion is filled with fathers and mothers (mainly fathers) who did not use wisdom when their plans were interrupted, but who rather chose the easy way out.

We need to be spontaneous in our parenting, but not spontaneous to apply easy-fix answers,  but spontaneous enough to be interrupted regularly, and then choose the strategy of long-term discipleship.

  1. Parenting: It’s Never an Interruption  (back)
  2. Ibid.  (back)

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:21-28; Exorcism and Discipleship, part II

Here is my audio of my sermon on Mark 1:21-28.

People of God, the action-centered gospel of St. Mark continues to bring out the unsavory manifestations of demons. The gospel of Mark introduces us to the forces of evil incarnated in Satan himself. As I alluded to last week, Jesus is going to confront a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue. The demonic forces are coming out to meet the Holy One of Israel. The presence of Jesus draws these demons out. They realize that their territory is being threatened by his presence. They realize that they are going to be crushed. The coming of Jesus is a dramatic blow to Satan’s plans. Throughout the gospels there will be many encounters with evil. In the wilderness testing, we saw the first of the many battles Jesus will have with the evil one. These battles symbolize the promise of a cosmic battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, as told in Genesis 3:15. Good vs. Evil; Purity vs. Impurity; Blameless vs. Demonic.[1]

Last week we read and heard that Jesus began his assembling of a new race of proclaimers. From verses 14-20, Jesus is gathering his army. He does not call soldiers or trained Jewish leaders, rather he calls fishermen. He called Simon, Andrew, James and John. These men were effectually called to serve this new leader. But discipleship is not cheap. These first disciples abandoned everything that they had and followed after Christ. It is not that their tasks were unimportant in the kingdom, but rather that they were called to a greater job in the kingdom; that of establishing the foundation of the kingdom of Christ. They would be fishers of men. These were unimportant men in the community, but their role is to signal a transition in redemptive history. These are men of the sea. Their livelihood comes from the sea, but now they are going to preach the message of the kingdom of God in the land. They are going to echo John the Baptist. They are going to cry out: Repent and believe in the gospel! Continue reading Fourth Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:21-28; Exorcism and Discipleship, part II