By Courtney Dernier
For the next two weeks, Courtney Dernier will be offering a reflection on Missional Parenting. Courtney is a friend of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, a teacher, a wife, a parent, and a self-avowed wanderer.
When my Mom (Denise Crane), who is a Leader in the Missional Wisdom Foundation, recommended I write about Christian Parenting, I thought How does a parent write about parenting? What makes me an authority on parenting? What makes me an authority on Jesus and what people have termed “following after Christ”? And the answer is....nothing. I am not an authority on these matters any more than I am an authority on education because I’m a teacher. I have experience with teaching. I have experience with trying to seek Jesus and be Him to my family. I have experience with being a parent to my two children, but that does not make me an authority. Which is, very possibly, a good thing.
The Pharisees, alongside government rule, sanctioned the accepted concepts, laws, worldviews, etc. in the time of Christ. These bodies were considered authorities. And these bodies did not look outside their own perspective to see the abundance Christ was offering through his controversial ideas. So, I say it is good to be experienced but not an authority because of the “tunnel vision” that so frequently plagues those in positions of leadership and power. The yoke of authority threatens to establish this tunnel vision by appealing to my inner teacher/learner dichotomy, leaving me with a Pharisaic unwillingness to learn and look outside of my own understanding—but I am not an authority or a Pharisee. I am simply a lay person doing her best to wander in the wake of Christ and teach my kids what I have learned. Were I an authority on parenting or someone who refused to look outside my own knowledge, I would likely miss countless experiences that could inform and strengthen my own parenting. I am enormously grateful for these experiences of grace while I acknowledge the multitude that pass me by.
May I teach my children to acknowledge the experiences of grace given to them and be thankful for the experiences that may go overlooked but affirm God’s promise in Romans that he is always working things together for the good of those who pursue Him. May I teach my children to look outside themselves and see the abundance Christ offers. May they then invite others into that abundance.