I used to go listen to a Pastor at a Calvary Chapel in Orange County. He'd ask us, frequently, if we were on trial for being Christians, would there be enough evidence to convict?
My idea of being "Christian enough" became the answer to that question. I was "Christian enough" if there was enough evidence in my life to convict me. Did I read my Bible? Did I quote enough scripture? Did I watch the right movies, read the right books, talk about the right things, vote the right way? Most importantly, how did I parent?
So, it's really not surprising that a book promising to answer all my parenting questions, and show the world my "Godly" family, would be appealing to me as a young overwhelmed mom. Especially when I thought I had to show the world my religion.
I've written more than once about the Pearl's and my experience with their book, To Train Up a Child. I'd like to say that it's just another chapter in my parenting book, but I think it's probably the only chapter that I wish I could rip out and pretend never happened. While I figured out pretty quickly that to follow their methods meant that I would end up beating my children, I still feel like a complete idiot for accepting their authority with so little work on my part. It is truly my biggest, most epic, parenting fail.
So now, with another death linked to the Pearl's parenting book, even newspapers are wanting to cover this angle, and they're looking for people to talk to. People who, like me, stopped drinking the Kool-Aid. I'm considering talking to them, but it scares me a bit.
I've considered that Pearl's followers will look at me, no longer a Christian, and dismiss anything I say as I'm so obviously Satan's mouthpiece now (that was sarcasm, just in case anyone missed it). But then, if I can get even one parent to reconsider, or if I can help encourage Amazon and other vendors not to carry their books in the first place, it really may be worth it.
In the end, I'm sure that at one time I would have been convicted easily of being a Christian. But the trappings and evidence of a religion are not necessarily the same as a deep and abiding faith. It's a shame to confuse the two.
For more posts on the Pearl's, what they teach, and my experiences with them, click on NGJ under the "Labels" heading or in the footer of this post. And see this site, as well.