Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Review: Talking with Your Kids About God by Natasha Crain

When Natasha Crain started a blog in 2011, she was just hoping to meet "like-minded parents and exchange ideas about raising faithful kids" [p. 22].   However, as the popularity of her blog continued to grow, something unexpected began to happen.  She started receiving comments from skeptics of the Christian faith.  And these skeptics were asking questions that Crain, a lifelong Christian, found herself unequipped to answer.  Then, the realization came. She realized that her kids were going to be facing these very same questions. As a result, she committed herself to the study of apologetics and became a Christian case maker.

Like Mrs. Crain, I believe most Christian parents possess a genuine desire to talk with their kids about their Christian faith, but many are afraid to do so for various reasons.  Some are afraid to wrestle with the questions themselves.  Others simply feel ill-equipped to deal with many of the objections leveled at the faith.  However, we as parents must realize that we are the most important teacher in our children's lives and it is our high calling to teach them how to make a case for what they believe and how to defend it.  As the author herself contends, parents are:

"...called to the all-important role of leading our kids to know Jesus, we can't afford to just 'give it our best shot' and see what happens, with a possible do-over next spring.  Too much is at stake, and good intentions are not enough.  We have to know what we're doing" [p. 20]

Perhaps you are one of those parents who aspires to teach your child a Christian worldview, but you have no idea where to begin.  I am happy to reveal that in her latest book, Talking to Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have, Natasha Crain has made this task easier than ever.

Crain's book is divided into five parts.  Part I deals with questions pertaining to the existence of God. Part II addresses the topic of science and God.  Part III bears upon questions about God's nature.  Part IV answers questions on pluralism and Christian living.  Finally, Part V tackles questions germane to the meaning of life, evil and biblical hope.

Each chapter begins by addressing a question about Christianity or some other worldview.  This reviewer was very pleased to see the questions addressed by the author in this work.   The questions are not simply current atheist "meme-like" claims like 'I just believe in one less God than you do," but substantive questions such as "Do science and religion contradict each other?" or "Why does God seem so harsh in parts of the Old Testament?"  By discussing these issues, with Natasha Crain as their able guide, parents and children will not only be prepared to make a case for what they believe, but they will also better understand their own convictions.  The truths learned and acquired therein will ground both the parent and children's faith with an evidential confidence.  As a result, their convictions will be grounded in what they have good reason to believe is true.

The question section of the chapter is followed by a "Conversation Guide" that has three sections: "Open the Conversation," "Advance the Conversation," and "Apply the Conversation" [p. 24].

Crain's explanation of each section offers an outstanding example of how helpful this work can be and how thoughtful her writing is throughout:

"In 'Open the Conversation,' you'll find one or two questions intended to get your kids thinking about the subject.  Resist the temptation to dump a chapter's worth of knowledge on them at this point. Instead, listen to your kids' answers and ask follow-up questions to learn more about their thoughts.

In 'Advance the Conversation,' you'll find two or more questions to help you probe the key ideas from the chapter.  These questions will not cover every detail you read.  They'll give you the opportunity to highlight the most important points, then it will be up to you to decide how deep to take the conversation.  Discussion tips are offered with most of these questions.

In 'Apply the Conversation,' you'll find a quote from a skeptic of Christianity that pertains to the subject.  Most are taken from conversations between Christians and skeptics online.  They're the kinds of comments your kids are most likely to run into on their own eventually.  After reading the quote together, ask them to respond to it based on what they learned from the chapter.  Don't shy away from doing this, no matter how old your kids are.  If you help your kids apply their learning by responding to these quotes, I have no doubt you'll find this activity to be one of the most valuable parts of this book" [p. 24-25].

The statistics are clear.  As Mrs. Crain reports, "Research has shown repeatedly that at least 60 percent of kids from Christian homes turn away from faith by their early twenties" [p. 21].  Various authors and thinkers have offered reasons why they believe this "exodus" from the church is occurring.  I believe Natasha Crain is absolutely right- we parents need discipline and direction so that we can be confident when discussing the truth of the Christian faith with our children.  The answer to the so-called "youth exodus problem" begins with parents training their kids in the Christian home.  We will never be perfect; however, we are called to be faithful.  And Crain has done much of the preparation for you.  She has provided the tools.  Now it is up to us to wield them.

Talking to Your Kids about God is a most worthy follow-up to Natasha's Crain's first work, Keeping Your Kids on God's Side.  There is no other resource like it and I highly recommend it.

You can order your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Article: 30 Things You Can Do This Summer to Deepen Your Kids’ Faith by Natasha Crain

Book Review: Keeping Your Kids on God's Side

Natasha Crain on Young People and Spiritual Training

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