Saturday, February 27, 2010

A GCM Statement: It is Time to Speak Out Against the Teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl

I haven't been reading my favorite message board, Gentle Christian Mothers (GCM), since it is currently Lent. A fellow blogger, however, posted this statement. So, I went to the GCM facebook page to copy down the statement and pass it along. I stand in solidarity with my GCM friends and the many other Christian parents, who reject the teachings of the Pearls and choose to parent with grace and compassion, as Jesus taught us.

A GCM Statement: It is Time to Speak Out Against the Teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl
This statement may be re-posted in it's entirety.

The admins of Gentle Christian Mothers (GCM) have felt led at this time, as we mourn the loss of seven year old Lydia Shatz[1], to issue a statement of disagreement with Michael and Debi Pearl and their child rearing methods. Not only are their methods extreme and outside the realm of normal and healthy child rearing practices, but the doctrinal foundation for these methods contain a level of heresy, including denial of the Christian doctrine of original sin[2][3], which leave them without biblical basis and at odds with the truth that all are in need of salvation which has been provided through Jesus alone[4].

Though the Pearls affirm the value of relationships in parenting in their attractive "tying heartstrings" message, their harsh teachings are in diametric contrast to building healthy relationships. They advocate "training" and "chastisement" of children, starting in infancy[5][6], using methods and means not described in Scripture -- including using ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument[7] and claiming that a "proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain"[8] -- for stated purposes of absolving guilt and cleansing the child's soul[9].

The combination of an adversarial us vs. them mindset where the parents must "win," physically "disciplining" children until they surrender their will and show total submission, and false doctrine makes the Pearls' methods dangerous. They present a very distorted picture to the world of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a Christian parent in the world today. It is time for Michael and Debi Pearl to be held accountable for their teachings. We urge other Christians to join us in speaking out against what Michael and Debi Pearl have been teaching for far too long.


1. Godly discipline turned deadly: A controversial child "training" practice comes under fire -- this time from Christians themselves, Lynn Harris, Feb. 22, 2010
2. Second Council of Orange (529)
3. Teaching tape on Romans 5:12-21 by M. Pearl
4. Michael Pearl on Original Sin: An Analysis, Catez Stevens, October 11, 2005
5. To Train Up a Child, M. Pearl, D. Pearl, chapter 1
6. "In Defense of Biblical Chastisement Part 2," M. Pearl, October 2001
7. Ibid.
8. "Angry Child," M. Pearl, August 1998
9. "In Defense of Biblical Chastisement Part 1," M. Pearl, May 2001

For more resources, check out: Why Not Train a Child?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lenten Change

For those of you who have been following, I've been declared free of carcinoids. My lab results came in last week...after Ash Wednesday. I can't begin to tell you how my mind has reeled for the last few months, or even how I feel right at this moment. I felt light and relieved for a time. To tell you the truth, though, I feel like there's something new about my life that just won't change now that I've been to this that I've rolled the word cancer off my tongue a few several dozen times. Lent is a good time for change. I'm glad I'm taking the space to breathe and focus this Lent, and really give the changes the time and space to settle. There are so many things that change us...we humans. We are changed by marriage and children, sickness, weather, food, caffeine, sleep, money, movies, the cars we drive and the clothes we wear. We change those things and they change us. They're part of identity, whether we choose them or not.

This Lent I'm making an effort to choose things that change me in a good way. You may be asking if I've had any luck choosing grace this Lent. The answer is both yes and no, and I suppose it's the struggle that changes me. I've had exactly 2 moments since Lent began when I began the spiral into self-deprecations and doubt. I said, "The Lord longs to be gracious to me. The Lord longs to be gracious to me. The Lord longs to be gracious to me," and I thought, "I still feel like a miserable person, and I wish I could go hide." I realized that it's more difficult to step off that moving train than I had thought. But, you know, I didn't have to wait for the train wreck before I could get off this time. I stepped off before it crashed. Which, I'm sure, was nice for my husband, for a change.

I'm making some other changes...but I've run out of time to blog for now. So, stay tuned...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Ash Wednesday is next Wednesday, February 17th, and so begins a new Lenten season. Strangely enough, this time of year has begun to hold real meaning for me, as I take a break from my favorite mothering message board every year for Lent. This will be my 4th year. (I will still be posting my blog, though. So, stay tuned.) It's not about taking a break from friends and support. In fact, I've been planning a gathering of women from the message board, which will take place during the Lenten season. It's about spending less time at the computer, giving my eyes and my brain a break from the screen. It's too easy for me to get swallowed up by the web during this dreary time of year when it seems that there's nothing else to do. So, I intentionally take a break...before it becomes a problem. And I force myself to figure out what there IS to do in Minnesota in February.

There's one more thing I'm giving up for Lent this year. I'm giving up my refusal to accept grace...for 40 days. In place of self-deprecation and blaming myself for everything, I'm Choosing Grace, and I'm posting a new scripture on my wall:

"...the Lord longs to be gracious to you; the Lord rises to show you compassion." Isaiah 30:18

God wants to give me grace, to show me compassion. I guess if the Creator of the Universe wants grace and compassion for me, the least I can do is try to accept it. I may not be able to fully accept it in my heart, but, at the very least, I can stop speaking destruction. I can stop saying that things are all my fault or that I've ruined everything...or the million other things I say when I'm feeling awful that something went wrong.

That it all. I'll tell you how it's going in about a week.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What's For Dinner? - Chicken Enchiladas

I used the chicken from the previous post to make enchiladas.

First, shred the chicken.

Then, prepare the tortillas by placing them in a pan of oil...

When the tortilla sizzles around the edges, flip it with a tongs. Watch for it to begin bubbling up, and then remove it from the oil. I put my finished tortillas on a plate like this:

When you have a little stack of tortillas begin rolling them into enchiladas by placing the chicken in them & rolling them up:

Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa, cream & cheese!

Make Your Own Chicken Broth/Stock!

A friend asked me recently how I make chicken broth. Here's the answer:

Throw a whole chicken in a huge pot with at least 4 quarts of water. Add

about a pound of carrots,
5-6 stalks of celery,
2-4 small zucchini,
1-2 onions,
3-5 cloves of garlic,
2T salt,
and 1T apple cider vinegar.

Boil for several hours.

Today I removed the chicken after about 4 hours so that I could use it for dinner. I threw the bones back in the pot to keep boiling and to give the broth all the benefits of the bone minerals.

After 4 hours, I strained the broth, poured it into jars, and set the jars on my counter to seal:

The salt and the vinegar help to preserve the broth, and it can last several weeks in the fridge.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Smooth Stone

It's been pretty quiet here at The Midnight Cafe. It's been a week of quiet contemplation. One year ago today Vespera & Mango walked into the U.S. Consulate together while I and my parents waited in the car in a dusty parking lot...the car that was just totaled a month ago, by the way. Some goodbyes are hard to say.

And yesterday I walked into an oncology clinic with Mango while Vespera and Niteo made food at home.

The colliding of last year's memories with this year's reality created some kind of emotional quietude for me...a pensive waiting...well, that and a really massive headache. Some things don't come easy.

Today I'm waiting for the results of a blood test. Last year we were waiting for a return appointment to the Consulate. Our capacity for waiting has been stretched.

Sometimes I'm resentful that there have been so many crisis, one crowding after another, with no room to really soak up the turns of events or even the answers to prayer. We just keep careening along. I want to stop. I want to really feel the relief of returning from Mexico, the joy of graduations, the steady rhythm of a new school year, and the sweet delight of a Christmas wedding. I feel as though I might forget these things entirely if I didn't write about them.

Writing here is where I stretch out the space and stop to soak things in for a minute.

My mind turns over this smooth stone of time...this year...last side is the trip to Juarez...the other side is the trip to the oncology clinic. Both sides carry the marks of anxiety. And relief. For, at this point, my new doctor has declared me healthy. She is running tests for my peace of mind but is convinced that there are no current worries. And, friends, she is an expert. I have been blessed beyond belief with a doctor who is both caring and wise.

I roll the smooth stone in my hands and think of last year's expert...the Christian woman who conducted Vespera's interview at the Consulate, who prays over her job every morning, and who cried real tears with Mango while approving all of Vespera's paperwork.

...on one side a crisis...on the other side a miracle...rolling along the smooth stone of time...

I hold it warm in my hands, close my eyes, and breath space for myself to think.