This month was filled with reading good parenting books for a class I took at Southern Seminary (SBTS), called “Theology and Practice of Parenting.” The class, and the reading, were thought-provoking and immensely helpful for this inexperienced parent. What all the parenting books below have in common is a focus on not merely correcting your child’s outward behavior, but seeking to get to the heart of the matter, helping them understand that it is a rebellious heart that leads to sinful actions. It is only when we realize that our (parents’ and children alike) problem is at the heart level that we are prepared to receive the Gospel of Jesus, who is able not only to cover our sins with his blood, but to change our hearts and put his Spirit within us. I recommend all of the parenting books below. Several other longer-term reading projects are ongoing, these are just the ones I finished during May.
Gospel-Powered Parenting, William Farley (SBTS)
Outstanding; very clear exposition of the Gospel and the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7). The author makes it abundantly (frighteningly) clear that the parent’s ultimate goal for his child is to prepare him or her for judgment day, and that all parenting should be serving that ultimate goal. This is clear enough and short enough to be a very useful resource to give to parents in a local church setting.
Girl Talk, Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre (SBTS)
Good book focusing on a Gospel-centered mother-daughter relationship, written by a mother and daughter from a family I admire very much.
Age of Opportunity, Paul David Tripp (SBTS)
A richly insightful book on parenting teenagers. One of the best sections comes at the beginning, when Tripp helps parents look at the idols in their own hearts which prevent them from parenting for the glory of God. This is a longer book (225 + pp), but is really essential, hope-giving reading for parents of teenagers.
Apparent Privilege, Steve Wright (SBTS)
A father and pastor’s encouragement to parents to view themselves as the primary disciple-makers of their children. This is a small book and very accessible; challenging though not overwhelming.
The Temple and the Church’s Mission, G.K. Beale
This book had been on my shelf for almost a year, and I had been waiting for the opportunity to dig into it. I have read so many others reference Beale’s argument in this book that I almost just assumed it when I began reading Beale himself. The scintillating argument is basically that the Garden of Eden was originally a Temple of God’s presence with man, man’s initial task was to expand that Temple to the ends of the earth, and the rest of the Bible traces the recovery of that mission. If you are not familiar with this argument, or you are looking for a book that will help you see the Bible as a whole, this is a good one.
Weep No More, My Lady,
This turned up in a box of books my wife’s Paw Paw gave me. A pamphlet from the 1940’s of a southerner responding in a folksy, informal way to negative remarks made by Eleanor Roosevelt about the south.
Selected essays in Signposts in a Strange Land, Walker Percy
I read the section on “Life in the South” by this celebrated 20th Century southern author.
As always, I’d love to know what you are reading!