Sanctuary – Home & Church

     I finished two books this week.  The first deals with the notion of our homes being a place of sanctuary.  The second is a wonderful expose on why so many of those in their 20’s are leaving the church, many never to return again. 
     
    
Sanctuary: Creating a Blessed Place to Live and Love, by Pamela J. Bailey.  I’m not sure where, or how, I first heard about this book.  I purchased it last year, used, for $0.32.  I loved the promise that the title held.  The thought of our homes being a place of sanctuary for our families was certainly appealing.  Mrs. Bailey’s book is set up in fourteen short, easy to read chapters.  Each chapter deals with an idea to apply to our homes – Love People, Use Things (an idea dear to my own heart!); Have a Charitable Home; Make Your Home Your Family’s Haven; Build on a Foundation of Integrity; Stand Guard at the Gate – and so forth. The author uses examples from her own experiences, those of her friends and family, as well as the Bible to explain her principles.  Though her points were, for the most part, wonderful and many of her examples helpful, this little book really just scratches the surface in each of the given areas.  It would provide a good foundation for those that are new to these ideas.  The book is written from a Christian perspective; but you might find some of the author’s doctrine/theology to be not quite your cup of tea.  In these sorts of instances I find it valuable to chew the good meat offered and just spit out the bones quietly.
      Sanctuary: Creating a Blessed Place to Live and Love (* * * 1/2)

     
     Ken Ham’s new book, Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it, would be beneficial reading for all Bible believing parents,  church elders, youth/children workers, and pastors (youth pastors most especially).  Ken Ham teamed up with researcher Britt Beemer on this book, and what they’ve discovered about why young adults leave church will amaze you.  I was amazed!  Believe it or not, the young folks are not looking for better music or more entertainment.  They are not being led astray in college because they are “already gone”, at least emotionally, before they leave for college. 
     The authors have done a fabulous job of presenting their statistics in an easily readable format, breaking down all of the reasons why young people leave the church and why almost half of them plan to never return.  The researchers did not skew their results by polling kids from the more liberal churches, either.  Nope!  Their research was done among 1,000 young people who were regular attenders in Bible preaching,  conservative churches. The fact of the matter is, we are not preparing our children for the world they will leave our homes to live in.  Most amazing to me was the fact that the statistics were the same whether these kids were educated in public schools, private schools or homeschooled.  (Ardent homeschooler that I am, I’ve said many-a-time that homeschooling is not a panacea.)  From the book (added emphasis is mine):
 

“But even if they agree to come back, unless the church is standing on the authority of the Word of God in an uncompromising way, teaching them how to answer the skeptical questions of the age, and challenging them to build their thinking in every area on God’s Word – they will probably not stay.”

     Read this book, and read it soon.  Then pass it along to your pastor.
    
Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church ….   (* * * * *)

 
     Please remember that I think it is vitally important that your are reading!!  The Bible first and foremost, and that daily; but do not underestimate the importance of reading other books.  Please read this post for more information and to understand why I think it is so very important that you have a good book or two to read at all times.  The books I am currently reading, as well as the books that I have already completed this year, can be found on the side bar. 

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 




Disclosure:  All of the books reviewed are books that I have chosen and purchased with my own money, or books that I have received as gifts from friends.  I do not receive free books from authors or publishers, nor do I receive any sort of compensation for the reviews I write.  I do maintain an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.  This arrangement allows me to receive a very small percentage (pennies on the dollar) of any purchases made when readers click through to Amazon from my blog.  Though I see a list of what has been purchased, Amazon never discloses their customer’s names or other personal information.  For those of you that make Amazon purchases through my blog, thank you.  Your doing so is a tremendous blessing to my family.  I use the credit I receive through Amazon in three ways:  To help offset the cost of maintaining this blog, to purchase books for our home Heritage Library, and occasionally to purchase prizes for drawings offered to readers of this blog. 

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13 comments to Sanctuary – Home & Church

  • Christopher and I have talked about this a lot (his generation leaving the church).  He has not stepped into our church now for over a year because of the way he was treated by some of the young men his own age over the years.  A small group of them who have leadership in (what was then) the youth group are of a very fundamentalist mindset.  While Christopher is quite conservative, he also likes some music and films they think are sinful and they made it plain that he did not act as they thought a real Christian should act.

    He actually got to the point he was suicidal for awhile because he thought he could not be a Christian.  Long story but I think you can understand.  He’s back on the road to spiritual recovery now… slowly but surely. 

    It’s sad but MANY of the homeschooled young people we know have left the church.  I’d say most of them (if not all) had very strained relationships with their parents which affected the way they look at church.

  • Brenda – That’s heart breaking!!  So glad that your Christopher is working his way back from such a low point.  I know that you are praying mightily for your son.

  • As the parent of a homeschooled 20-something who has left the church and says she will never return I  bought the book as soon as I read your entry.  What a timely read!  THANK YOU!!  My daughter points to church folks as the reason…the hypocrisy and the poor treatment she received. I’m left with no good answers but to point to the fact that “they” are hardly a good reason to lose one’s salvation. So I pray…. I honestly believe there is a whole lot more to ponder here though and I’m looking forward to the book!

  • Hi Cheryl,

    I love your book reports. I am always on the love out for new books to read.

    Hugs,

    Elizabeth

  • As an atheist I’m glad kids are leaving churches in droves.  Not because I think they should all be like me, but because I think religious indoctrination so often stifles critical thinking and in the name of evangelism makes a population of people who believe out of gullibility, bias or fear.  And even if the bible is in some sense true, that kind of “faith” produces a really horrible quality of religion and character.

    I would rather someone be christian or hindu because they have thought about it, educated themselves and agree with it, than agree with me out of fear or indoctrination or peer pressure.

  • @agnophilo – I agree with many of the points you made in your comment.  I don’t want my children to believe anything out of gullibility, bias or fear of man.  I pray that they will follow Christ because they HAVE thought about it and educated themselves about the cost of doing so.  I want them to not only know what they believe, but why they believe it; and that sort of knowledge has to be personal.  It can’t be “taught” or shoved down someone’s throat through “indoctrination”.  

  • @copperswife – It’s nice that you agree with much of what I said.  When you say you don’t want them to believe out of fear of man though, do you mean that you wouldn’t mind them believing out of fear of god?

  • @agnophilo – You say you do not believe in God, but I most emphatically do believe in God!  I’m not sure that you will get this, but I can love God and fear Him at once.  He is good, but He is holy, and it is His holiness that should cause us to tremble in fear.  Remember the line from C. S. Lewis’s  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, where one of the children asks the beaver about Aslan, the lion, “Is he safe?”.  The response is that no, he’s not safe, but he’s good.  It’s something of the same thing, which of course was Mr. Lewis’s intention.  So, no, I wouldn’t “mind” my children believing out of fear of God.  I would be very worried that they did not fear Him!  However, I also want them to know and experience His ferocious and jealous love for them.  I want them to know and experience His vast mercy that not only forgives but forgets our sin toward Him when we repent, all made possible by the shed blood of Jesus.  I want them to know and experience the incredible grace He so freely gives us. 

    Let me ask you a question.  In your original comment you said, “And even if the bible is in some sense true,
    that kind of “faith” produces a really horrible quality of religion and
    character.”   
    ~ Cheryl (copperswife)

  • @copperswife – So would you mind them following the koran and trembling in fear of allah?

    No worldview is valid that needs fear and intimidation to be believed.  Or desperation or indoctrination, for that matter.

    Also you said “Let me ask you a question.” and didn’t ask me a question.

  • @agnophilo – Hey, Mark.  Well, where’d my question go?  That’s strange.  First things first, though.  Yes, I would mind them becoming muslims.  Would I love them any less?  Absolutely NOT, but I’d never stop praying for them to turn to God either.  You speak of worldview, but I speak of life.  God, whom I love and serve, has always been and will always be.  He created everything from nothing by His spoken word.  He is all knowing, all powerful, all wise.  Of course I fear Him!  But I love Him even more, and He loves me in return.  However, it’s a holy fear that I’m speaking of and not some sort of weird fear born of intimidation.  The fear I speak of is more an intense awe at the realization of who He really is.  A god who needs to intimidate is no god at all.  There’s no desperation in my life, and any one who knows me at all knows that I am far too independent and free thinking to be a victim of any sort of indoctrination!  My kids, too, for that matter!  No one is going to pull the wool over their eyes with any sort of intimidation tactics. 

    So, back to my question, which I hope I don’t lose this time around.  In your original comment you said, “And
    even if the bible is in some sense true,
    that kind of “faith”
    produces a really horrible quality of religion and character.”  
    The question is, how so?  What do you consider a really horrible quality of religion and character?

    BTW, I’m not conversing with you in any sort of argumentative or defensive manner.  On-line conversations are difficult in that we don’t have the benefit of seeing facial expressions or hearing tones of voice.  For what it’s worth, I’m talking to you as though we’d met for coffee and are chatting amiably across the table.  I hope that’s your perspective, too.  I’m certainly not lumping you into a category in my head called “atheist”.  I’m looking at you as the unique individual that you are, Mark.  I hope you can do the same for me.

  • @copperswife – 

    “Well, where’d my question go?  That’s
    strange.  First things first, though.  Yes, I would mind them becoming
    muslims.” 

    And muslims would mind their kids being christian.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it.  Does that ever give you pause?

    “Would I love them any less?  Absolutely NOT, but I’d never
    stop praying for them to turn to God either.” 

    If you didn’t love your children as much if they believed in something else that would be horrible.  But I think it’s nobler, humbler and more rational to hope they find the truth, whatever it is, than hope they believe as you do.

    My best friend is christian, and when she went through a period of severely questioning her faith recently I went out of my way not to encourage her to believe what I do.  Because I think people should be protected, and especially when they are vulnerable (including children protected from indoctrination). 

    “You speak of worldview,
    but I speak of life.  God, whom I love and serve, has always been and
    will always be.  He created everything from nothing by His spoken word. 
    He is all knowing, all powerful, all wise.  Of course I fear Him!” 

    You can no more establish any of that to be true than a muslim or hindu or UFO conspiracist can establish their beliefs to be true.  Believing or being sure doesn’t mean anything.  As nietzsche put it, a brief stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith proves nothing.

    I am no more impressed by the extraordinary declarations of your religion than I am of the thousands of other religions.  So I don’t know why you make them.

    “But I
    love Him even more, and He loves me in return.  However, it’s a holy
    fear that I’m speaking of and not some sort of weird fear born of
    intimidation.” 

    Being intimidated by something is synonymous with being afraid of it.  You are rejecting a synonym because you do not like it’s connotation.  As far as “holy” fear, that seems silly.

    “The fear I speak of is more an intense awe at the
    realization of who He really is.  A god who needs to intimidate is no
    god at all.” 

    If you believed that you wouldn’t be christian.

    Either that or you haven’t read much scripture.

    “There’s no desperation in my life, and any one who knows me
    at all knows that I am far too independent and free thinking to be a
    victim of any sort of indoctrination!” 

    Faith is the opposite of free thought.  You are free to stop believing in your religion’s claims at any time?  Even though you already said you are afraid of god?

    “My kids, too, for that matter! 
    No one is going to pull the wool over their eyes with any sort of
    intimidation tactics.” 

    You just said you want them to believe in your religion out of fear.  Exposing young kids to religion is itself indoctrination.

    So I think you have no concept of what either of these words mean, or a blind spot that doesn’t allow you to see when you do them/believe in them.  You fear god, but god isn’t intimidating.  You expose your kids to your colloquial religion and want their tiny, unformed minds to believe in him from infancy from fear…  but you’d never indoctrinate them!

    Pull the other one.

    “So, back to my question, which I hope I
    don’t lose this time around.  In your original comment you said, “And

    even if the bible is in some sense true,
    that kind of “faith”
    produces
    a really horrible quality of religion and character.”  
    The
    question is, how so?  What do you consider a really horrible quality of
    religion and character?”

    Well, aside from the obvious, genocide, bigotry, hatred etc – people who are not capable of strong critical thought when it comes to their “faith” no matter how intelligent they are otherwise.  People who are so ingrained in one worldview from such a young age that they are incapable as adults of ever considering another view of the world than the one they were accidentally born into, and usually react with fearful closed-mindedness and contempt to people who do not share their values.  People who cannot be reasoned with because their beliefs tell them to be certain, rather than doubt, which is the source of all real wisdom.

    “BTW, I’m not conversing with you in any
    sort of argumentative or defensive manner.  On-line conversations are
    difficult in that we don’t have the benefit of seeing facial expressions
    or hearing tones of voice.  For what it’s worth, I’m talking to you as
    though we’d met for coffee and are chatting amiably across the table.  I
    hope that’s your perspective, too.”

    I have a similar attitude.

    I may be hostile to your views, but I do not think disagreeing with people, even strongly or sharply, is wicked.  I invite it myself, because if something I believe is wrong I want to be the first to know.

    I will not insult you or be mean to you deliberately. 

  • @agnophilo –  “Well, aside from the obvious, genocide,
    bigotry, hatred etc”   Pretty contemptible stuff, I agree.  However, which of these wrongs am I personally guilty of?  I can tell you I’m guilty of all it, and more; but none of those things was ever done in the name of Christ by me.  Those who have done these things in the name of Jesus were liars and not followers of Christ.  They were wicked men pursuing their own agenda.     

     -” people who are not capable of strong critical
    thought when it comes to their “faith” no matter how intelligent they
    are otherwise.”  How would you know this?  You wouldn’t agree with anything I have to say about my faith.  You cannot understand it, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of critical thought about it.  I’ve read widely and much of what I’ve read is critical of any sort of Judeo-Christian thinking.  It keeps me thinking and refining my beliefs.  You can’t lump all Christians into that same pot and call them “people” and judge them as all the same.  I thought we’d agreed to not do this with one another. 

    ”  People who are so ingrained in one worldview from such a
    young age that they are incapable as adults of ever considering another
    view of the world than the one they were accidentally born into, and
    usually react with fearful closed-mindedness and contempt to people who
    do not share their values.”  There’s that “people” thing again.  I was not born into any sort of religion or faith.  I became a believer completely on my own as an older teen and, might I add, against my parents’ wishes.  Have I responded to you with fear, or closed-mindedness or contempt?  Not at all!   And I don’t respond to anyone who doesn’t share my faith or my values (which are definitely not one and the same thing) in that manner.  

     ” People who cannot be reasoned with because
    their beliefs tell them to be certain, rather than doubt, which is the
    source of all real wisdom.”  Doubt is the source of all real wisdom?  Doubt?  Doubt is confusion and uncertainty.  I, personally, cannot be “reasoned with” because I am absolutely certain, but it’s not my because my beliefs “tell” me to be so.  It’s because I know them to be true.

    “I may be hostile to your views, but I do not
    think disagreeing with people, even strongly or sharply, is wicked.”  Wicked to disagree?  Of course not.  I do think that your tone is a bit hostile, but again, we’re typing to one another and I may be misreading your tone.  If so, forgive me, please. 

    “I
    invite it myself, because if something I believe is wrong I want to be
    the first to know.”  Really?  Truly?  Well, how about this.  If I’m wrong, when I die, that will be it.  Nothing.  Over.  Finished.  However, if I’m right, are you ready to face the God you’ve denied and accept His judgment upon your life?    

    Mark, we’re not going anywhere with this are we?  I love you, young man.  I know that might seem strange from an old woman you’ve never met, but it’s true.  I’m going to say thanks for the chat and ask that you and I part ways.  You are not ready to look objectively at Christ and what He has done for you, and I am certainly not going to reject Him.  Next time we meet for a friendly chat over coffee, I’ll buy! 
    ~ Cheryl ~

  • @copperswife – 

    “Pretty contemptible stuff, I agree.  However, which of
    these wrongs am I personally guilty of?” 

    None of it I would assume.  You asked me to tell you what I consider to be a bad sort of “faith” and when I told you you decided to take everything I said as a personal attack against you.  I just “met” you, I don’t know what, if any, of those things apply to you.  And I should think it is obvious I wasn’t accusing you personally of things like genocide.  I have no idea why you thought that.

    “I can tell you I’m guilty of
    all it, and more;”

    And you would be lying.

    “but none of those things was ever done in the name of
    Christ by me.” 

    I should hope not.

    “Those who have done these things in the name of Jesus
    were liars and not followers of Christ.  They were wicked men pursuing
    their own agenda.”     

    I don’t think that’s accurate.  Thomas Aquinas (or “saint” thomas aquinas if you’re catholic) and St. Augustine, two men considered to be some of the greatest theological minds of christianity to this day, disagreed on how to handle heretics – Aquinas thought they should be killed, Augustine thought they should be tortured.

    You can’t pretend all christians are moral and ignore the vast swaths of true believers whose interpretation of scripture and the world lead them to do evil things as if they were all just wicked and lying about having faith to trick people.  Hell even moses committed acts of mass-murder in the name of (and with the direct instruction of) god.

    “How would you know this?” 

    Conversation.  But if you mean “how do I know this of you”, I don’t.

    “You
    wouldn’t agree with anything I have to say about my faith.” 

    Yeah but I have robust, defensible and reasonable reasons for disagreeing.  I do not disagree based on faith.

    “You cannot
    understand it, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of
    critical thought about it.” 

    No, I can understand and reject it, for the same reasons you and I reject other faiths.

    “I’ve read widely and much of what I’ve read
    is critical of any sort of Judeo-Christian thinking.  It keeps me
    thinking and refining my beliefs.  You can’t lump all Christians into
    that same pot and call them “people” and judge them as all the same.  I
    thought we’d agreed to not do this with one another.”

    So wait, christians aren’t people?  I didn’t say “you people”, I just said “people who do X things”.  And you ASKED me what I thought was a shoddy quality of faith.  I didn’t lump anyone into any group any more than saying I don’t like people who molest children “lumps” anyone but people who molest children into a group.

    “There’s that “people” thing again.” 

    The word people in that context implies no generalization whatsoever.  I can only assume you are getting defensive because you think something in my list applies to you.

    “I was not
    born into any sort of religion or faith.  I became a believer completely
    on my own as an older teen and, might I add, against my parents’
    wishes.” 

    I would’ve guessed that.  Born-agains (especially those who were not indoctrinated) tend to have more of an outward appearance of confidence and be more “serious” about their beliefs.

    I could tell you my thoughts on why this is, but it would probably just annoy you.

    “Have I responded to you with fear, or closed-mindedness or
    contempt?  Not at all!   And I don’t respond to anyone who doesn’t share
    my faith or my values (which are definitely not one and the same thing)
    in that manner.” 

    Hooray for you.  I never said you did.

    “Doubt is the source of all real wisdom?  Doubt? 
    Doubt is confusion and uncertainty.” 

    No, it’s critical thought, skepticism.  Testing your interpretation of reality and the claims of others for factual and logical accuracy.  The stuff of science and philosophy.

    Conversely those who pretend to have certain knowledge about the larger questions in life tend to have less knowledge than the average philosopher, because the “uncertainty and confusion” that accompany doubt are what compels one to educate themselves.

    “I, personally, cannot be “reasoned
    with” because I am absolutely certain, but it’s not my because my
    beliefs “tell” me to be so.” 

    Then you are by definition unreasonable.

    “It’s because I know them to be true.”

    Knowledge and fact are terms that refer to things that can be objectively verified.  Subjective convictions like religious faith by definition do not qualify.  Being sure of something doesn’t make it true – if it did then every religion would be true because someone somewhere thinks they “know” it is.

    “Wicked to disagree?  Of
    course not.  I do think that your tone is a bit hostile, but again,
    we’re typing to one another and I may be misreading your tone.  If so,
    forgive me, please.”

    I have no animosity toward you.  I am hostile to your views in the sense that a scientist would be hostile to the theories and experiments of another scientist.  If the goal is to believe what you wish to believe, that hostility is seen as malicious or a threat.  But if, like the scientist, the goal is to make sure your conclusions are accurate to reality, then it is seen as a gift.

    [“I invite it myself, because if
    something I believe is wrong I want to be
    the first to know.”] 

    “Really?  Truly?” 

    Yes.

    “Well, how about this.  If I’m wrong, when I die, that
    will be it.  Nothing.  Over.  Finished.  However, if I’m right, are you
    ready to face the God you’ve denied and accept His judgment upon your
    life?”

    I don’t “deny” god any more than I “deny” unicorns or you “deny” vishnu.  I just don’t see any good reason to suppose either exists.   “Deny” implies that I know yahweh is real and reject him, which is not the case.  And I think I’ve lived a good life.  I would not like to be judged by the evil god of the old testament, who killed children because the dictator of their country displeased him and (while in my view fictional) did and instructed countless unjust things.  But nor would I want to be judged by the unreasonable standards of allah.  That does not mean I am going to star rigorously following the koran for fear that it’s claims may be true.  Or join the military and try to die in battle in hopes of getting into valhalla, or follow or believe in any of thousands of religions that promise harsh judgement and reward or punishment of believers and unbelievers.

    “Mark, we’re not going anywhere with this are we?” 

    Probably not.  But for different reasons.  I am not becoming christian because you have no evidence with which to convince me, and you are not doubting faith because for whatever reason you feel in communion with god and probably want to keep believing.

    “I
    love you, young man.  I know that might seem strange from an old woman
    you’ve never met, but it’s true.” 

    No, it isn’t.

    I mean you may feel that way, but you have to know someone to know if you love them or not.  Like love at first sight (I know you didn’t mean it romantically), the feeling comes easily, but you cannot really love a stranger, beyond simply wishing them well, or liking them.  Any more than you can love a movie you haven’t seen.

    “I’m going to say thanks for the chat
    and ask that you and I part ways.” 

    Yes, the rare “I love you, now please stop commenting on my blog”.

    “You are not ready to look objectively
    at Christ and what He has done for you”

    Thanks for condescending to me and insulting my intelligence.  I believe something different from you so I guess I “deserve” that, right?  I think I know which item on my list you thought applied to you now.

    “and I am certainly not going to
    reject Him.  Next time we meet for a friendly chat over coffee, I’ll
    buy! 
    ~ Cheryl ~”

    Bye.