As I was sitting on my front porch the other day (before winter arrived back again on May 1st!), I was reminded of one of my favorite country songs, “My Front Porch Looking In.” We live on a fairly quiet street, but our view is not incredibly inspiring. We have always joked that we would love to pick up our house and plop it down in the country somewhere. The lines from the song are definitely true for us …
I’ve seen what beautiful is all about – When I’m looking in, not when I’m looking out!
The song reminds us that how we live life is dependent on our viewpoint. Now I am not the best at painting or drawing (a fact which would be confirmed by any number of my former students!), but I do know that perspective is one of the most crucial elements of art. The way that you look at the piece, how you narrow or focus on one particular image, can transform the artwork. The same is true of our lives. According to C.S. Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew, “For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.”
Our perspective (worldview), how we see life, will influence us. Do we conform or are we transformed? The following two verses strongly emphasize the challenge in maintaining the right perspective.
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” II Corinthians 4:4
The misnomer sometimes is that we think that we have time to change our focus, that our current path can be easily altered. What we do not realize is that the more we surround ourselves with images and thoughts that do not line up with the biblical perspective, the more we begin to think of those as normal. Blinded from the light, rather than by the light. A friend and I were discussing this just yesterday – due to some television choices that she made many years ago, she feels desensitized to some of the violence on certain shows. Her mind reasons out that that seems to be a part of suspense, even though if she separates that action out, she would completely disagree with that violence portrayed.
I promised that I would not spend very much time addressing this subject as many of you do have younger children – surviving the toddler years is your current perspective. Mine is definitely shifting as I pointed out that “I-can’t-believe-I- will-have-a-teenager-in-2 1/2 years!” But no matter how old your kids are, I do want to challenge you in this, one of my few remaining MOPS blog entries, that what you do today will transform how you live tomorrow.
I am really not trying to make you panic. “Oh, no – I was crabby to my 2 year old yesterday – now he is scarred for life!” Or was I too strict? Too leniant? Parenting can be all about second guessing. That is why I know that I want to mother according to what the Bible says. This is not easy at all. In fact the condition of the world continues to make this quest harder and harder. When my parents raised me, morality was at least still a part of most television shows. You have to really look to find that today! Here are some of my own challenging (and possibly controversial) thoughts …
My daughter is so cute & little and would look adorable in a little 2 piece. 7 years from now – my daughter is now a developing young lady – I do not want her showing off that body. Disclaimer: I am not trying to condemn anyone who has a 2 piece – I have never had the body shape that would look good going that direction, so this has been a non-issue for me. But I know that if I were to allow my daughter to wear a 2 piece throughout her growing up years and then try to switch to an extra modest suit (think 20’s Grandma swimwear!) when she is a teenager, I am going to have a big fight on my hands. What I allow today just might determine what I have to allow tomorrow.
All their friends are watching that tv show. Am I wrong to restrict them? Maybe I am too tough. Several years from now: my son can go to that movie if he let him. He says the best actor is starring in it, and I just need to get over it. The violence won’t affect him at all. This one is SO hard. My husband and I tend to be rather conservative, but even at that, there still are shows that I wish my kids had not watched. This is sometimes been because of what we have missed (not realizing the focus of the show) or because we are tired and not wanting to have a fight. We also have had some family members that have let the kids get away with watching whatever shows are on the Disney Channel or cartoon network (not getting the fact that not all shows are created equal).
The world definitely does its best to separate us. How do we live in the world but not of it? Most of the answers are not easy. I know that my next years of parenting need to involve even more prayer and more consulting of the Guidebook that has all of the answers. I want to have a godly perspective, and again that is not easy to come by! This is why we need to mother together – why we need groups like MOPS. To encourage us to keep with the strong stands that we make, if we are convinced that is the direction that God is calling our families to go.
I could write on and on and on about world views. About viewpoint and perspective. I am not sure that my words will ever be adequate. If this issue is also on your heart and is where you are at, here are some additional resources from wiser voices than mine!
World Proofing Your Kids by Lael F. Arrington (A great book from the parts that I have read – maybe this summer I will finally finish the whole thing!)
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian_worldview/worldviews_and_children.aspx (focused toward children)
http://www.thetruthproject.org/about (Focus on the Family has developed a DVD series to teach more about worldview. This page explains about that and also has links to additional resources)
http://www.summit.org/resources/ (A great ministry that has a wonderful collection of resources for all ages)
http://www.characterhealth.com/ (This husband and wife team spoke recently at the local homeschool convention. I filled a page with notes – their ideas are not new, but they are strongly biblically based and so encouraging. You can sign up to get “character health” e-mail that they send out a few times a week. Each e-mail contains a definition of the trait, verses to support the importance and practical ways to live the trait out. Worth getting in your inbox!
The following sites I was not familiar with before writing this article. Their perspectives seem to be right on, but if I missed something objectionable, please let me know!
http://store.str.org/SearchResults.asp?Cat=1831 (They have a book for younger people that sounds interesting)
http://http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4213839/k.1FE9/Probe_Ministries__A_Christian_Worldview_and_Apologetics_Ministry.htm (includes articles and downloadable MP3s)
http://www.worldmag.com/ (more for parents, but a Christian perspective on news!)
This series does cost money to download, but if you wanted to take a mini-course on world views, this might be a place to start. I have not listened to the message, but I do know that R.C. Sproul is a strong Christian speaker. I also wanted to provide the link because evidently they have monthly free downloads. This month’s happens to be a biography on A.W. Tozer entitled A Passion for God.
May your viewpoint be transformed in view of the One who is the point of life!