The libertarian argument against redefining marriage

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

I was reminded today of a tremendously important and compelling argument against redefining marriage—not from a Christian point of view, but a libertarian one. The case was made—cogently, I believe—by Jennifer Roback Morse last year. (more…)

Pep and power, straight from the source

Everyday Ministry

Discipling my four children is possibly the most challenging (and certainly the most humbling) experience that I have ever had. Because they share a house and most of the day with me, they know me and my faults better than anyone else. How many times have I questioned the wisdom of this arrangement? Did God factor in who I really was when he put these little disciples in my home? Yet there they are, day after day, with no place else to be but under my care and discipleship… watching, watching, watching me. And (gulp) imitating. (more…)

photo | Pink Sherbet Photography on flickrphoto | Pink Sherbet Photography on flickr

God’s gift of parenting


The arrival of a first-born child into a family is one of the greatest moments in all human experience. It rates with marriage as one of the big milestones in a person’s life. As such, it is particularly important that the Christian believer should understand it from a spiritual viewpoint, setting it in the context of his or her faith, and therefore relating it to God through Jesus.

photo | John-Morgan on flickr

Children’s ministry: It takes a body

Pastoral Ministry

Over the course of nearly 20 years in children’s ministry (not including his own childhood), Bruce Linton realized that the establishing principle behind starting a children’s ministry in a church is usually this: noise must be contained so that we, the grown-ups, can get on with church. (more…)

This, then, is how you could pray


After you said you feel unable to lead in our family prayers, I wanted to put down some thoughts about leading in prayer that will, I hope, be helpful. While they’re nothing particularly profound, here they are. (more…)

→ New Directions in Assisted Reproduction: A Brave New World


Trillia Newbell has interviewed Megan Best about issues covered in her new book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, specifically on assisted reproductive technologies (ART).


Christians face many dilemmas, some more obvious than others, with new methods of reproduction. Best acknowledges that the Bible does not specifically address ART, so Christians must look instead at what the Bible does address—human life.

If you can get to the Gospel Coalition conference, her seminar would be well worth attending.

Evangelism as a Mum


I’m a mum with three children (7, 6, and 3) and, like most mums I know, I’m bogged down with the minutiae of life and suffering from constant tiredness. Since having children, my prayer life and quiet times have been whittled down to a minimum, so the thought of evangelism hasn’t been high on my agenda. Getting through each day without a trip to the doctor or to Accident and Emergency has taken priority! (more…)

Our messy individualism


One of the more contentious topics tied up with the ongoing “gay marriage” debate in our western society is the question of adoption—that is, the adoption and fostering of children by homosexual couples. At one level, the concern is a very pragmatic one: why, the argument goes, should we be denying children loving homes? (more…)

Child-bearing for the uninitiated

Resource Talk

Last time I wrote something for this column, I wrote about a book that deals with problems and questions I face in my own life (God’s Good Design). This time I’m writing about a book that’s not really for me. In Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Ethics and the beginning of human life, Dr Megan Best writes about the stuff that married (or about-to-get married) people need to know—things like contraception, pregnancy, infertility and IVF. She wrote the book “in response to many requests from Christians who are struggling to find the information they need to think clearly about the morality of reproductive technology” (p. 9). I’m not married and I have no children. I’m hardly the target audience for this book, yet it fascinated me. (more…)

Why I read my children stories

Life, Sola Panel

illustration by Pauline Baynes

I stood under my favourite oak trees today and stared upwards, heavy dark branches and deep green leaves reaching into the blue of the sky. For a moment I was far from here, in the Enchanted Wood or Narnia or Middle Earth.1 (more…)

→ The Path of Least Resistance


Richard Perkins on Ephesians 6.1-2 and instilling obedience in kids:

But child centred parenting is the modus operandi of most of the families I know. It’s what most of us do most of the time, isn’t it? We want a quiet life. And if little Jonny is going to be pacified then we need to surrender to his demands. And so we run up the parenting white flag, he puts down his weapons of mass destruction and we’re all better off, aren’t we? Not in the long run. Can you think of a better way to raise a self obsessed, selfish brat than to reinforce his impression that other people are there to satisfy his needs and that he can get his own way simply by being obnoxious and making a scene?!

NB – “child-centered parenting” has a different usage in some of the circles I’m in. Perks means “running family life around the the needs, desires and tantrums of our kids”. He’s also got a follow-up article on 4 reasons for kids to obey their parents (not that they’ll listen).

Same-Sex Parenting – No Differences?

Life, Thought, Sola Panel

Last year, when I published my article on same-sex marriage, commenters asserted that the academic literature suggested children with gay or lesbian parenting situations did just as well as those with heterosexual parents. As I looked into it, even as a non-specialist, I could note that many such studies displayed methodological weaknesses such as the lack of control groups, or self-selection and self-reporting by participants. This should have cautioned against such dogmatic conclusions. (more…)

→ Growing faith: Ten tips for going to church with your family


Christine Jensen:

Growing up in a family that didn’t go to church, I was determined when I married for ‘church’ to be the centre of our family. Of course, this was idealistic, and there were many moments when I thought it would have been easier to stay at home.

I hadn’t realised that this goal of mine wasn’t as easy as it sounded. I wanted my children to go happily, for church to be a delight to all family members.  But this does not always happen. We certainly had a revolt on our hands for a couple of years, by a couple of teenagers who simply did not want to go to a Bible Study on Friday nights in addition to one on Sunday afternoons with church to follow! I know that we should just go to church come what may as we want to meet the Lord, but are there any tips we can share about creating a positive attitude to what is a pretty important activity?

Read the 10 tips here.

Suffer the little children

Life, Sola Panel

The political pressure to redefine the meaning of marriage has recently become more intense and obvious in certain English-speaking countries. But you might have noticed that the vast majority of people in our society aren’t particularly concerned by these developments. Why is that? Here’s one possible reason: in the hearts and minds of the vast majority of modern Westerners, marriage has already been redefined. We just didn’t notice. (more…)