Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day. We should never underestimate the critical role fathers have in the healthy upbringing of their children — scripture backs me up on this.
My son-in-law recently sent me an interesting piece from the New York Times, dated March 10, 2015. It’s titled “The Cost of Relativism”, by editor columnist David Brooks.
Brooks sites Robert Putnam’s newest book, Our Kids. Putnam is arguably one of America’s leading political scientists/sociologists from Harvard University.
Putnam’s recent book is about a study he and his team conducted on children growing up in America in homes with college-educated parents vs. high-school educated parents.
Their research discovered that until the 1970s, college-educated and non-college-educated families behaved roughly the same. But since then, family dynamics and behaviour have sharply divided.
Non-college-educated parents dine less with their kids, talk less, encourage less and take their kids to church less frequently. Seventy percent of children in these homes live in single-parent homes. Roughly 10% of children born to college-educated parents grow up in single-parent households.
Does this mean non-college-educated parents behave irresponsibly and the college-educated parents are beacons of virtue? That conclusion would be faulty, simplistic and just plain wrong.
Putnam claims that the family breakdown we see in America over the past three to four decades is the result of other factors… some very complicated realities.
He does claim that the health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues that we agree upon as a culture. One of our current problems is that there are no minimally agreed upon standards for what it means to be a father, according to Putnam.
According to Putnam, for decades we’ve been living in a culture which refused to assert that one way of living and behaving might be better than another way — “Don’t judge me!”. We’ve gotten out of the habit, in the greater culture, of setting standards. And to top off this new reality, people are less likely to be held responsible for their actions than in ages gone by. And so, people live for themselves, their desires, and pleasures and children, families, and our society at large suffers.
These conclusions are not coming from some popular Christian preacher or social reformer, but from a highly respected Harvard political scientist.
The New York Times columnist, David Brooks, concludes:
“People sometimes wonder why I’ve taken this column in a spiritual and moral direction as of late. It’s in part because we won’t have social repair unless we are morally articulate, unless we have clearer definitions of how we should be behaving at all levels. History is full of examples of moral revival, when social chaos was reversed, when behaviour was tightened and norms reasserted. It happened in England in the 1830s and in the USA amid economic stress in the 1930s. It happens through organic communal effort, with voices from everywhere saying gently: ‘This we praise; this we don’t…’ We need ideals and standards to guide the way.”
Dads, mothers — all parents have this God-given privilege and responsibility to train up their children in the way they should go… so they might flourish and never depart from God’s good graces. The outcome is a healthy society; within that, family life flourishes. Happy Father’s Day!
In Celebration of our Pioneer Baptist Missionaries to Quebec
I wanted to inform you of an upcoming drama and music production about the Fellowship’s early missions work in Quebec which will be performed in the greater Toronto area.
It is an exciting re-creation of historic events in which young people left their familiar surroundings in Toronto to bring the Gospel to French-speaking mining communities in Northern Quebec, where they faced arrests, and prison terms — but they also saw God moving powerfully. It is performed by close to 40 young energetic actors from West of Montreal and it uses drama, music, and multi-media elements.
The production will be performed on the following dates:
· Friday, June 12th at 7pm, at Maple Avenue Baptist Church in Georgetown
· Saturday, June 13th at 7pm, at Elliott Heights Baptist Church in Hamilton
· Sunday, June 14th at 7pm, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Barrie
To view a short trailer, click HERE. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the work done by our pioneer missionaries in one of the least-reached mission fields in North America!
Have a blessed week,