What a homeschooling mom can teach about homiletics

What a homeschooling mom can teach about homiletics

Melanie links to an article by a homeschooling Christian mom who had lesbian neighbors raising a child move in across the street. Contrary to the stereotype, the mom didn’t plant a burning cross on their lawn or even forbid her children to play with their child. But she did have to explain to her children the difference between judging behavior and judging the state of a person’s soul.

“Of course you can be friends,” I said. “But you’ll have to agree to disagree about this. Tell her you can be friends, but she cannot keep trying to persuade you that her mother’s behavior is acceptable.” They nodded.

“She’s really upset,” my son said, tears welling up in his eyes. “She thinks that we won’t be allowed to play with her.” That, of all the mess, is what he understood most clearly: Someone’s feelings were getting hurt.

“You can play with her, but she has to agree to disagree. Now, would you like to make brownies and take them over as a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift?” All the children nodded.

In the process, a bit of evangelization occurs and some real insight happens and maybe, just maybe, a door has been opened where this family can witness to the Gospel to their neighbors in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to light a spark.

Bedtime stories and homiletic advice

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1 comment
  • Yes, and this is the biggest misunderstanding because people react to someone’s feelings getting hurt instantly, reflexively.

    *Of course,* we don’t want peoples’ feelings hurt and that’s not EVER the intent of Christian teaching.  It’s not there to hurt feelings.  But wait for it—there’s a lot more:

    Christian teaching is about what’s factually true for human beings qua human beings.  The fact is that through Christian teaching, practice and the Sacraments, people come into contact with the Lord, who is the author of all life and all meaning, including all meaning for human beings.
    This means that believing and living as a Christian, even though there are rules, will make a person more peaceful and eventually more happy than any other kind of living.  Life is breathtakingly beautiful but terribly hard and going it alone is even harder.  Who should want to do that?

    The trick is getting this across to children and to people who don’t understand without making it look like we’re condoning, or conversely, being mean.  So, you see, I understand the topic.

    The approach with the neighbors might just work very well, if mom discussed it with her kids when they were interested in talking about it.  With little kids, “daddy & mommy love each other and we are a natural team made by God” talk is good.  Yes, “agreeing to disagree” has to be done, and this level (Maslow & all that) is okay with grade-schoolers, but there is a layer of conversation at a higher level than that which is also meaningful with teenagers who are almost always inherently interested in morals and whys.

    On the birth control preaching suggestion, I really don’t have an answer, honestly.  I think generalizing doesn’t work with groups like that, because people also generalize when they hear, and it ends up not sounding like father said anything.  Indeed, this is how the birth control thing goes on.  In other words, too dainty ends up being nothing.

    Rather, I think it is possible to talk about the makeup and climate of a real family in the pulpit as long as it doesn’t get down to sexual mechanics (it should never go there).  I mean by “makeup & climate,” regarding all families as being a growth-work in progress, talking about families in public as though they all had 10 kids, expecting laypeople to have kids if they want to be in public positions in the parish, talking to kids about the glories & humors of having brothers and sisters and cousins and FAMILY & so on.