From Our Minister's Work Station
From Our Minister's Workstation
Recent copies of the minsters letters from our Minister Brian. ...more

26/02/11 Discipline at any age comes hard for a lot of people

There is a book in our household at the moment which younger members of the House of Hadfield may well throw on the fire if they get an opportunity. Sara and I have been reading ‘Battle hymn of the tiger Mother’ by Amy Chua. It was recently book of the week on Radio Four. It’s the true story of a Chinese, Jewish, American, Mother (keep up now) raising her two daughters in the States. If you think children should have a firm hand this is the book for you. With Mrs Chua we are talking discipline, no messing about and no idle staring into space. Amy is scathing about western parenting, she states “The Chinese mother believes that 1) schoolwork always comes first; 2) an A-minus is a bad grade; 3) your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in maths;……………..6) the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those that will eventually lead to a medal; 7) and that medal must be gold……”. You sense it’s a relaxed family environment. Amy sets about piano lessons for the girls and these entail mammoth sessions. When one of the girls rebels her Mum confiscates the doll’s house and threatens to send it piece by piece to the Salvation Army.

The book does have warmth, humour and love and it faces up to the cultural differences that are at the heart of the matter. Discipline at any age comes hard for a lot of people; in an age of ease keeping resolve for anything that taxes us will be a challenge. We all need those times of putting our hand to the plough and getting a shove from others. This brings me rather neatly to Lent. Having just read Amy Chua’s book I am ready to abstain from something for Lent and I am ready to urge people to follow suit. Unlike Mrs Chua I am not going to stand over you snarling about chocolate and bible study. Just be grateful Amy Chua has come to be the minister here! Now that would be a ministry to remember.

Our annual agreement with God to prepare for Easter can be a very personnel devotion. It is not something that we should rub in the faces of others but if it’s too secretive it can be ignored or forgotten. Each of us knows the real extent of our devotional life, God knows it too. He knows all our excuses and all the things we decide are more important than a prayer time; bible reading or involvement at church etc. If we don’t discipline our lives we will never achieve our goals whether it’s the piano or the prayer meeting. If we don’t focus more on devotion then God will never be given priority in our weekly schedule.

Jesus before he began his ministry had a period of wilderness, fasting and prayer and it is something we should remember and honour. I am not going to give a list of possible things to abstain from or challenges to take up for Lent. I am confident that previous suggestions have been heard. The question is will you make something of Lent this year or is it another year of being too comfortable; too assured that you are doing enough for Him.

Think I better go, I am sure I can smell something burning!

Best wishes