Thinking Out Loud

January 18, 2019

Our Conservative Christian Home was the Epicenter of Corruption of Minors

Filed under: Christianity, parenting, pornography, technology — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:44 am

Although Tim Challies and I are quite far apart doctrinally, as a fellow-Canadian blogger I feel obliged to periodically checking in to sample his recent writing. He often writes about the impact of pornography, so I was interested in an article titled Has Your Child Been Looking At Bad Stuff Online?

Two paragraphs caught my attention:

…I think this is behavior we have modeled to our children in that we’ve taught our children when you have questions, you ask the internet. You ask, Google especially, and maybe as time goes on, you’re starting to ask your Amazon Echo or your Google Home or your Siri or whatever device you’ve got. You’re starting to model to children over the course of their young lives that you take your questions to the internet. That’s something we do and our kids learn the behavior.

I’ve got this funny memory of when I was in, I think it was eighth grade, a kid in my class was looking in the dictionary, looking up bad words or looking up bodily words in the dictionary. Now, why would he do that? It’s probably not something a kid would do today, but through his younger life, he had had it modeled that when you have questions you take it to a dictionary, you take it to an encyclopedia, right. And so when he wanted knowledge, that’s where he went. That knowledge was natural for a kid his age and then he went to the thing that had been modeled to him…

Our home was one that, for a brief period, my middle school friends flocked to after school. It wasn’t the old radio blasting out the rock station so much as it was because of a large, two-volume Funk and Wagnalls dictionary.

One rather precocious friend would indicate certain words for us to check out and then the books would be passed around among a bunch of curious kids. It was the equivalent of being the house that offered the kids unfettered access to adult websites today.

Kids talk loud, and eventually my parents overheard words they weren’t expecting from these Kool Aid-drinking pre-teens. One Sunday afternoon a biological lecture followed and while neither birds nor bees were mentioned, both myself and my father quickly came to realize that I didn’t know as much as we both thought I did.

Those days of innocence are long gone, but back then, if you made it past your teens and hadn’t seen anything truly X-rated, it’s possible you might never. For me that occurred much later, trying to guess the password on the restricted channels on a brother-in-laws satellite dish; and even then the images, though possibly filed away in the back of my brain, didn’t immediately spur me to seek out more of the same.

Today the kids see everything. Whether by choice or by accident, there’s very little about human biology, reproduction or sexual gratification that they haven’t seen, probably in high definition.

But back then, my two-volume dictionary was among the best anyone had.

It’s hard to believe looking back that my conservative, Christian parents’ recreation room was ground zero for the corruption of young minds; the place kids went for an informal sexual education. Within weeks, someone else’s home was the after-school destination of choice. Perhaps my parents locked up the dictionaries; I don’t remember.

I just remember the aforementioned precocious friend running around with some of his brother’s magazines into the schoolyard, and me following the crowd; all excited that we were doing something improper, but truly lacking a full understanding of what the excitement was all about.


December 5, 2010

Sex Education With Dr. Phil

Phil as in Phil Callaway.   Don’t know him?  Here’s his official autobiography…

Phil Callaway is an award-winning author, speaker, and daddy of three. The best-selling author of twenty-four books, Phil has been called “the funniest Canadian alive,” but never by his school teachers. He is a frequent guest on national radio and TV, and his humorous stories on family life have been featured in hundreds of magazines worldwide. But he insists that his greatest achievement was convincing his wife to marry him. Phil lives in Alberta, Canada with his high school sweetheart. They are married.

His books include, Wonders Never Cease, Laughing Matters, The Edge of the World, Golfing with the Master, Making Life Rich Without Any Money, Family Squeeze and Parenting: Don’t Try This at Home.

You can learn more about Phil — who isn’t really a doctor and cannot be called Dr. Phil — at

The Age of Enlightenment

I was in fourth grade when I first heard about sex. For all I know, it may not have existed before that point in history (October 16, 1969, a Wednesday, I believe). In a rather memorable moment, a neighbor boy whom we shall call Bobby (because that is his name), told me all about it. As I recall, Bobby had the whole thing embarrassingly backwards, and I trust that he has been informed of this, particularly now that he has his own counseling ministry.

When I was 12, my mother interrupted a perfectly good baseball game for a straightforward discussion of the birds, the bees, and other assorted insects. Although some of the details are a little sketchy now, I do remember sitting upon our plaid couch, baseball mitt in hand, thoroughly amazed at Mom’s frankness. In less than 20 minutes, my normally reserved mother told me:

a. Where I came from.

b. How I got there.

c. That it was all a part of God’s marvelous plan, carrying with it rules that, when followed, would lead to a lifetime of freedom and fulfillment.

d. To, for goodness’ sake, stop picking my nose.

Let me assure you: coming from a Presbyterian, the first three points were well worth listening to.

“Philip,” she said in conclusion, “sex is a beautiful gift that God has set aside for husbands and wives. Don’t you ever forget that.”

I sat, wide-eyed, staring at the baseball glove. I was sure I wouldn’t forget it.

“Do you have any questions?”

I did have a question. In fact, for about 20 minutes I had been overcome with a desire to ask something of great importance. Finally I voiced it: “Um…may I go play baseball now?”

Moments later I was heading back to the diamond, smacking my glove and thinking: There must be a better way to reproduce. If ever I have children, I’m sure I shall have found it.

I called Mom today to remind her of The Talk. Like Mr. Kowalksi, she laughed until it wasn’t so funny anymore. Then she reminded me that they didn’t have 100 zillion child-rearing books available to tell them how to pass on all the delicate details. And she added, “You live in a very different world, Son. We pray for your children every day.”

It’s a different world alright. And sometimes it’s a scary one. Wherever our kids turn–the Net, school, television, the video or convenience store – they are inundated with flashy signs pointing them in the wrong direction. Christian parents can no longer afford to remain silent. Nor can we limit sex education to The Talk.

At our house, opportunities to discuss the topic arrive unexpectedly. Just yesterday Jeffrey and I were out in the yard when two flies came by, cruising at rather low altitude and in startlingly close formation. “Daddy,” said Jeff, “They’re getting married.” We laughed together and had a brief chat. It was nothing new. From the time he was four or five, we’ve had many such impromptu conversations.

Of course, this whole thing can be carried too far:

SON: “Dad, would you pass the sunflower seeds, please?”

DAD: “You know, Billy, you were once a seed.”

SON: “Well then, please pass the chips.”

It’s important for all of us to remember that the dispersement of information is a small part of education. You see, you can have all the knowledge in the world, but without wisdom it can be dangerous.

When I think back to the night my mother interrupted the baseball game, it amazes me that this is the only time I can remember talking with my parents about sex. Yet somehow they managed to raise responsible, reasonably well-adjusted adults.

How? I believe the reason is simple: Dad and Mom cared for each other. They provided us a lifelong demonstration of morality in action. By their tenderness and commitment, they showed us that the best sex education in the world is a mom and dad who love each other.

Believe me, you don’t take such things lightly. Especially when all you started out with was a fourth grade education.

~Phil Callaway

February 3, 2010

The Missing Links

As you can see above, we’ve been busy at our keyboard to bring you the finest links from the last seven days and beyond…

  • I wanted to take a bit longer this week to introduce a program that aired on Frontline on PBS in our area last night that I think you should watch, although the entire piece runs about 86 minutes.  Each one of us reading this has one thing in common:  We’re online.  The first two-thirds of program deal with what it means for children who are growing up in a digital culture to live in a world of multi-tasking.   I think every parent should watch this, at least through to the end of the second section that deals with online video gaming.   The piece is titled Digital Nation.
  • Two YouTube links this week.  The first is pastor Pete Wilson with a preview of the promotional video for his forthcoming book, Plan “B” releasing later this spring with Thomas Nelson.   (Hint to publisher:  We’d love to do a major review on this one!)
  • The second YouTube link is Jeff Maguire with a bunch of cutouts explaining once and for all the nature of the Missional Church.
  • Speaking of church, Dan Horwedel at the blog Fully Clothed Pastor — which must be a response to David Hayward’s Naked Pastor — kicks around some ideas for different types of gatherings.
  • Meanwhile James Waugh in Nashville suggests that “The Church doesn’t have a mission, the mission has a church.”
  • Meanwhile, forthcoming Baker author Brent McCracken takes a rather different view of Church life in general, and goes searching for the ten top cities in the US to find — wait for it — Christian hipsters.
  • On the other extreme end of the spectrum, Keith Drury writes an essay on why we — and this we includes you, too — are bringing our boomer pastor back.   So to speak.   Sort of.
  • Moving on — finally — from church-related topics, Les Lanphere from the blog Killer Robot Ninja takes his best Calvinist shot at the classic questions Reformers get asked, “If God Chooses Who He Will Save, Then Why Evangelize.”
  • Ron Dreher at Beliefnet notes a federal study that suggests that abstinence-only education may have been written off too quickly; while others still insist abstinence education has little impact.
  • At the other end of that spectrum, John Shore wonders if all of us — Christians included — aren’t just sexual animals.    It’s the comments to this blog post you especially don’t want to miss.  (John’s blog is livin’ on the edge with this one!)
  • Although he doesn’t say so outright, theologian Ben Witherington III must figure if Christians are going to drink so much coffee, they might as well know a little bit about it.
  • On the other hand, Russell Moore, whose blog also tends to lean a little more to spiritual writing,  has decided to quit caffeine cold turkey.
  • Here’s some information about the picture at the right:   The structure you’re seeing is the Treasury at Petra officially kwown as Al Khazneh.  It’s considered “the eighth wonder of the ancient world,”  or “one of the seven wonders of the modern world;” depending on who you ask.   You won’t find Petra mentioned by that name in most Bibles unless you are using The Amplified Bible in which case it appears nine times in the Old Testament as an alternate reading for Sela, or “you who dwell in the clefts of the rock.”
  • One of the creative forces behind all things Willow Creek has been busy blogging at a new location for nearly a year now.  Check out Nancy Beach’s blog.
  • Not enough blog links for ya this week?  Here’s a web portal that lists over 4,000 Christian blogs.   I’d add this one, but in a field that big, really, what’s the point?  Check out Christian Blog Catalog.
  • Today’s comic is our first animated one from Dan Lietha at the Launch Pad.

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