Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: The Shaping of a Christian Family

The Shaping of a Christian Family. Elisabeth Elliot. 1992/2000. Revell. 240 pages. [Source: Borrowed]

I enjoyed reading The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot--for the most part. It is part autobiography, part how-to-parent. Several times, Elliot stresses the fact that it is the shaping of ONE Christian family--her own family. She's not necessarily advocating that there is one and only one 'Christian' way to raise a family. (Though I am guessing that there are a few guiding principles that she would have classified as essential for any and every Christian family.)

Most of the book is grounded in her family history. Therefore most of the book reads like an autobiography. Readers learn about her mother's upbringing, her father's upbringing, their courtship and marriage, and her own upbringing. She's one of six children, and, readers learn more about all six Howard siblings. Because of the way it is written, I felt the book was more of a tribute--a love letter of sorts--to her own mother and father, both passed away, of course. Most of the book is story-oriented. This is what my parents did. This is what my parents believed. These were the rules I grew up with, the routine that I was raised with, this is how it was, and I think it was wonderful.

There are dozens of times when Elliot moved from the personal to the general, where she gave specific advice to parents--new parents especially. The advice is somewhat practical, though not nearly detailed enough perhaps. If readers are going to find something to disagree about--it will be here. That is something that I think happens in any parenting book. You're going to find statements you agree with strongly, and statements you disagree with strongly. You can get a couple of good ideas, perhaps, without embracing each and every idea.
God's way of speaking to you and of getting at you will be through His Word. Dwell in it, therefore. Begin each day with a portion of it. Pray for grace to see when He is speaking to you, and for grace to adjust yourself to what He shows you. (46)
Christ is the Head of this house,
The unseen Guest at every meal,
The silent Listener to every conversation. (53)
How thankful I have been in the dark hours that my parents saw to it that hymns became fixed in our minds and hearts, through what was to us at the time merely a family routine. (58)
No one can make a child love anything, from spinach to sparrows to Scripture, but the parents' love for things exerts a powerful thrust in that direction (and I for one learned to love all of the above). (60)
There are so many wrong ideas about God. Wrong thinking about Him leads to wrong thinking about His actions. (118)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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