When Less Is...Less

If you’re not among the mommy set, you may not have heard about Hattie Garlick, the UK mom who has vowed not to spend a single pound on her two-year-old son for the next year. Hattie’s decision is part social rebellion, part necessity. She credits a growing distaste for “kiddy consumerism” and the fact that she was recently laid off (or as our British cousins say, “made redundant”). Ultimately, her decision is rooted in the ideas of minimalism and thrift—that we don’t need what everybody says we need and what we do need, we can find more cheaply.

I know a bit about this kind of counter-cultural lifestyle. I grew up in a family of seven with an extremely limited income. We gardened, canned, and wore hand-me-downs, not because my parents were making a public statement, but because they were trying to clothe and feed us. Even today with a smaller family and a decidedly larger income, I still buy most of our clothes at Goodwill, we hunt, garden, and can, and my idea of a good time is shopping at Aldi. And yet, even I am skeptical of frugality for frugality’s sake. (If I’m honest, I suppose I’m also a bit of a curmudgeon. Whenever being counter-cultural becomes trendy, I immediately get suspicious—I don’t make a very good hipster.)

Because even while those of us enmeshed in consumerism might need to cut of our hand to save our souls (Matt. 5:30), minimalism can have as many pitfalls as materialism. It’s entirely possible to trade consumerism for a Gnosticism that elevates efficiency and thrift above everything else. Just because we might be counter-cultural doesn’t mean that we don’t have our share of sub-cultural baggage. See if any of this luggage is yours: Read more about When Less Is...Less

A Biblical Perspective on Spanking, 5: The Model for Discipline

Father and sonRead Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

In the previous four articles considering discipline, I focused especially on principles of discipline gleaned from the book of Proverbs. This final installment considers the Biblical ideal, modeled by our Heavenly Father, and discussed in Hebrews 12:4-11.

After encouraging believers to walk in faith, with eyes focused on Jesus, the author of Hebrews reminds believers of the importance of the Lord’s discipline on those whom He loves. The writer alludes to Job 5:17 and Proverbs 3:12: “My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:5b-6). These verses introduce us to several important principles of our Father’s discipline: (1) it is certain, (2) it is exclusively (in this context) for His children, and is a defining component of that Father/child relationship, and (3) His children are to respond neither by growing faint nor by taking His discipline lightly. The Greek μὴ ὀλιγώρει (me oligorei) can be translated do not despise or do not think little of. Likewise, believers are μηδὲ ἐκλύου (mede ekluou) not to grow weary at His rebukes, arguments, or corrections. The writer reminds, “it is for discipline you endure” (12:7a), or perhaps better translated, “endure unto or for discipline.”

These three principles are confirmed and augmented in the following verses. In vv. 7-8, the writer reiterates that God disciplines believers as His children, and that if the readers aren’t being disciplined, then they are not His children. This certainly confirms the certainty of discipline and the integral aspect of discipline to the father/child relationship. However, the statement goes beyond those simple confirmations, for it reminds that discipline is not punishment—it is not God’s wrath manifest (as κόλασιν denotes in Mt. 25:46). Instead it is, as the word (παιδεία) denotes, the leading of a child toward maturity. Read more about A Biblical Perspective on Spanking, 5: The Model for Discipline

Book Review and Giveaway Reminder - The Gospel Story Bible

Image of The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments
by Marty Machowski
New Growth Press 2011
Hardcover 328

We wanted to remind everyone about the book giveaway this month. Three winners will receive 4 books each. To enter, all you need to do is start a thread in the forum and get anyone else here at SI to comment on it. Details on the contest are here.

One of the books to be won is The Gospel Story Bible, and so I thought we could take this opportunity to learn more about this excellent resource. Read more about Book Review and Giveaway Reminder - The Gospel Story Bible