Had a lot of tweets this week about the things that “dechurch” kids. Got a lot of good responses! In case you missed the posts, here they are:

How to #dechurch a kid tip #1: Just turn Christianity into “gospel of do” instead of “gospel of done.”

How to #dechurch a kid tip #2: Be a hypocrite.

How to #dechurch a kid tip #3: When they sin, demand repentance. When you sin, don’t bother.

How to #dechurch a kid tip #4: Make your personal preferences like music and clothes issues of righteousness. Add them to the gospel!!

How to #dechurch a kid tip #5: When they sin, tell them how mad God is. (Ignore that Jesus took all God’s wrath on the cross already.) :)

How to #dechurch a kid tip #6: Don’t teach, but assume, the gospel.

How to #dechurch a kid tip #7: Turn the gospel into moralism. Tell them to “Do better” & “Try harder” not 2 trust in the power of the cross.

How to #dechurch a kid tip #8: Demonize culture and overshelter them. Withdraw into a hole and don’t come out except on Sunday.

After I posted tip #8, one woman asked me: “Can you explain a good balance on sheltering your kids and give me examples on demonizing culture? I homeschool, would love your insight.”

I thought some of you might be interested in reading my answer. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

My reply:
Sure! Heidi and I don’t believe that culture is evil, but neutral. Man can pervert it with sin, but culture is simply where we interact with our world. That said, Heidi and I practice moderation (Phil. 4:5, 1 Cor. 6:12) not abstinence. This gives us a chance to coach our kids through what they hear and see, recognize truth and lie, worldviews, and how to interact with culture. 1 Chronicles 12:32 mentions “sons of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” This is the fruit in children when we train them and trust that they don’t have a “junior Holy Spirit.” As you engage in culture…

1. Look for idols
Look for the things that people “attach happiness to” other than Christ and teach your kids to recognize them. Common idols: fashion, beauty, romance, friends, things, entertainment, etc. Seeing these in culture helps our children recognize them when they see them again, and especially in themselves. We often have the conversation after watching a movie or hearing a song: “What idols did we see in that song/movie?” When it comes to sensuality, we teach our children to recognize virtue vs. vanity. We tell our girls, “There’s a difference between being beautiful and being ‘hot.'”

2. Look for redemptive pictures
Don’t under-estimate God’s power to sanctify something. “The spiritual man appraises all things” (1 Cor. 2:15) and “to the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). Look for good principles (forgiveness, honor, sacrifice, etc.), bad principles (selfishness, pride, etc.) and look for Christ pictures. You can turn a movie or song into a Deuteronomy 6 moment. I remember talking about the power of fear in Anakin during the Star Wars movies, overcoming fear in Batman, the lure of sin in Lord of the Rings. These things stick with our kids. Interestingly, even when we’ve made a “mistake” and let our kids see a movie that we regret, God redeems it through gospel-centered conversation. We’ve been delighted to see how our kids process it through Scripture, because we’ve trained them so often to do so.

I had a conversation recently with Gracie about a Demi Lovato song. Though the song is to a boy, we were able to sanctify it by seeing it through the eyes of Christ to a wayward believer. There’s a Kelly Clarkson song called “Before Your Love” that, when sung to Christ, is more moving than most stuff I hear on Christian radio.

Of course, we veto some stuff by saying “That’s not what our family is about” and they totally get it. Appeal to the Holy Spirit in them sometimes. I remember once asking a few of my kids about a show they were watching, “Is the Holy Spirit saying anything to you about this show?” They never watched it again.

Anyway…perhaps this has helped?

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