Earlier this week I found myself caught in the morning line of cars leaving my neighborhood’s elementary school. I live with my husband and 3-year-old son in a suburb of San Antonio. We’re in south Texas and our “Mayberry” (as many call it) is incredibly conservative – and not just politically. We have a lot of churches. When I say “a lot,” I mean that we could put you in a blindfold at most any intersection in the city, give you a stone to throw, and you’d probably hit one. It’s Narnia, for sure. Or a bubble. Whatever you’d like to call it. So, you can imagine my surprise on Tuesday as I pulled up behind a big SUV boldly emblazoned with a lightbulb-shaped sticker and the words “skeptic kids.” There went my bubble.
I admit to assuming what many moms probably assume – that our home is safe, our town is safe, and therefore my child’s faith will be safe. It’s college professors who will try to shake my child’s Christian beliefs, and he’ll be ready by then. Right?
Ladies, this is a dangerous mistake. Even if you think you’re in “Mayberry,” let me assure you: you aren’t. That sticker represents what we can’t afford to ignore: growth of evangelistic and committed atheism. And remember, the “skeptic kids” sticker was on a car exiting an elementary school, not a college campus.
We can no longer afford to ignore the reality of evangelistic atheism. Click To Tweet
As we Mama Bears say, apologetics might not affect our faith, but it might affect our children’s. And you know what? I want my churched-up, prayed-up, pre-school kid to be a skeptic too! Why? Because being a skeptic means that he will question what is presented to him. This is important because I will not always be the one presenting the ideas. A child who understands how to discover truth is primed for a faith that lasts much longer than that of a child who is merely presented with the truth.
I am confident that if I train up my little skeptic to discover truth (i.e. engage in critical thinking), then he will ultimately land at the cross of Christ. Why am I confident about this? Because after much study, I am convinced that Christianity is a reasonable, rational, defensible faith.
I have studied the truth propositions of Christianity and the Bible; both hold up to rigorous academic scrutiny from the disciplines of science, history, literature, and philosophy. But when it concerns my son’s faith, it doesn’t matter that I know this. The question is will he, or will he merely take my word for it only to have an atheist pull it apart later?
'Because my mom said so' should NEVER be the reason for your child's faith. Click To Tweet
As parents, we can sometimes have tunnel vision when it comes to raising our kids in the faith. After all, we are directly responsible for helping shape their worldviews (i.e. the framework by which they evaluate truth claims.) However, we are called to shape much more than just our own children. We are called to impact culture, and that begins with our own spheres of community influence.
Answering the wakeup call
Seeing that car’s sticker started a chain of thoughts in my mind, and a burden in my heart. What would it have looked like if I had met this mom while sitting on the playground? What about other moms? Would they know what to say? What kinds of opportunities are we missing on a daily basis because we stay safe in our own little bubbles, content with our own knowledge and just raising our own kids? To help us make the most of these valuable opportunities, we at Mama Bear Apologetics present a new series: Playground Apologetics!
As moms, we do not always have the time for extensive ministry outside the home, especially when our kids are young. But we can defend our faith and further the Kingdom right where God has planted us, even if that’s on a park bench. Playground Apologetics is your how-to-guide for starting conversations that matter. We will report back to you from real conversations and tell you what worked. . . and what fell flat. Even if your kids are too old for the playground, perhaps you regularly find yourself sitting on the sidelines of a baseball field, or behind the scenes at a cheer competition. Wherever you are, that’s where the Kingdom needs you.
Wherever you are, THAT'S where the Kingdom needs you! Click To Tweet
So, what is “Playground Apologetics?”
Let’s take a moment to talk about what Playground Apologetics is not. It is not a manual on how to be the weirdest Mom on the playground. It is not a formula by which you will ostracize your kids from their peers. It is not a recipe for being fake, and scripted, or having canned answers to all of life’s questions. It is also not a game-plan for combative and confrontational experiences.
Playground Apologetics is a purpose. It is a reminder of how 1 Peter 3:15-16 integrates seamlessly into the Great Commission. It will provide practical and authentic tools for natural conversation, often using questioning, a technique which relieves pressure and allows someone else to share about themselves – which most are happy to do. Our goal is not to turn people into an agenda. It is to love them where they are at, and you can’t do that if you don’t know them! And with Playground Apologetics, we run every recipe we give you through our test kitchen first. You’ll receive examples from real life about how various apologetic tactics actually played out. (Speaking of tactics, our guidebook will be from Greg Koukl’s book Tactics.)
Come with us on this adventure, Mama Bears! Let’s leave the cave for a bit and spread the Good News! We hope this series will help you engage in more apologetics without even changing your schedule. You can say yes to that! It will be a walk in the park.
Our goal is not to turn people into an agenda, but to love them where they are at. Click To Tweet
Hillary Short (aka, the “other” Hillary!) lives with her husband, son, and dog in Texas Hill Country. She teaches Senior Thesis at a Classical and Christian school and recently achieved her childhood dream of living in a home with hardwood instead of carpet.