5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Malachi 4:6
Remember this verse? This is about John the Baptist. Because of this verse and others Christianity is a very child centered religion. We invented Santa Clause (from Saint Nicholas of Myra) and Sunday school (originally meant to give working children an education). Christians love children. A child born into a middle class Christian home is fortunate indeed. All decisions revolve around the children.
- What job does Dad (or Mom) take? Does it allow time with the children.
- What church do we go to? Is it good for the children.
- Where do we live? Is the neighborhood good for the children?
- What friends are the children encouraged to have? And so on.
A child born into the Evangelical preacher class is not so lucky. All decisions revolve around ‘the work’.
- What church do we go to? The one that needs the preacher the most which means the one that doesn’t already have a great youth program.
- Where do we live? Close to ‘the work’ whether it is a good neighborhood for the children or not.
- What kind of friends are the children encouraged to have? Kids who are part of ‘the work’.
This is a problem that Evangelicals have to face. We don’t want our most devout people to not have children like Latin Orthodox Priests and Nuns. Yet we must acknowledge the special burdens the full-time Christian service places on children born into those families.
I have a solution if anyone wants to hear it. But that is for another day.