Rite of passage parenting: 3D
For my recent birthday, my youngest son took me to see the movie “Gravity.” There’s only one way to see that kind of movie: at the IMAX in 3D. You would think by that title, the movie would be all about it, but there’s hardly any gravity in the film until the last few minutes. Most of the time, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney float around space dealing with the lack thereof. The movie gets pretty intense at times, and when it was over, the man next to me got up, walked over to the trash can and got sick. I guess he could not handle weightlessness.
Ever since my childhood, I’ve been fascinated by anything 3D. I don’t know how old I was when I got my first View-Master, but I can still remember spending hours looking through the viewfinder and marveling. When I was walking around the Tulsa State Fair recently, I came upon a small 3D picture. For some reason, it took me back to my childhood. I stood there rotating it and watching the depth of the scenery change. The picture portrayed a herd of elephants, and made you feel like you could walk around each one. I bought it for my grandson. He’s not old enough to see very well yet, but when he can, he’ll be amazed.
I don’t usually write about politics. In fact I don’t ever remember doing so … until today. Not long ago, I heard Todd Wagner, pastor of Watermark Community Church, speak at a conference. As he explained what was going on in our society, I started thinking.
Many people are upset about the government. But unless you have a God-perspective on the situation, you’ll miss the heart of the problem. God created three institutions: family, church and government. He established all three to work through them to accomplish His purposes.
The Bible is full of the ways God uses families. Remember Abraham? God made him the father of an entire nation. And as Scripture shows, God was always raising up one government to punish another. The New Testament is filled with stories of how He used the church. But the world gets these institutions out of order. Government always belongs downstream from family and church.
In my missionary life, I live in many remote places where I have to retrieve water from local sources. When you go to drink out of a stream or river, you need to educate yourself about what’s happening upstream. In the same way poison poured into the water affects everything downstream, so government reflects what takes place in the family and church.
If the family is dysfunctional, the church will be ineffective. If the church is ineffective, the government will be incompetent. Right now, we have a traveling three-ring circus touting corrections for our country’s problems. All we have to do is get different leaders and everything will be fixed. In other words, we blame our problems on the government. But let me remind you: government only catches and reflects what comes downstream.
People also blame the church for the condition of our world today. If only the churches stood up against certain sins, the world would be a better place. I’ve been around long enough to see churches fight over everything from ear-piercing to long hair. Back in the day, I kept reminding my Sunday School teacher that Samson had long hair, and she reminded me that he appears in the OLD Testament. But the picture behind her showed Jesus with long hair and a beard.
Sometimes, the church enjoys shadowboxing, because no one really gets hurt. But the institution that everything is built upon is the family. If we want to fix our country, we need to fix our families: marriages that embrace “ Until death do us part.” Fathers who step up and become the leaders, providers and protectors of their families. Children who see in their homes the very life of Christ walked out on a daily basis.
Put on your 3D glasses and look beyond the government, beyond the church to the home that sits on the corner of First and Main. There, you’ll see why we’re in such a mess. The family is the foundation of all society. Fixing the government is like fixing the roof on a condemned house, and fixing the church is like putting new windows in the same building.
What we need is Someone to repair the very foundation of the problem: the home. Fix the home, and the church will become effective. Fix the home, and the government will be competent
It may be another 17 years before I write about politics. But if something doesn’t happen soon, I’ll be joining my 3D movie partner at the trash can.