The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Now what? If Dad stays home, why can't I?

Although he believes in God, my husband rarely comes with us to church.

Q: Although he believes in God, my husband rarely comes with us to church. He says it’s just not meaningful to him. What should we say when our kids ask: “Why do we have to go to church if Dad doesn’t?”

photodiscA: An ongoing conversation about faith is important for families. It helps kids learn that it’s OK to have respectful differences about hot-button issues. While it’s good for Dad to talk about his beliefs, it’s also critical for him to back you up.

He might say, “Your mom and I want you to make your own decisions when you grow up­­­ — especially about things as important as spirituality. That’s why we want you to experience Sunday worship and a faith community now. Without these experiences, you can’t make a decision about church in an intelligent way.”

This united front helps keep the situation in focus — and stops kids from feeling torn in their loyalties to their parents.


fred preuss

fred preuss

Posted at 9:56 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/6/2009

   Suppose your husband says that he doesn't think there's any god at all?  Suppose your kids have heard him say how he resents having to pay part of his paycheck to an organization to which he doesn't belong?

  Suppose your child says: "I've been doing this since I was six and I'm now eleven.  For any other activity, five years would be plenty of time to judge.  Now I want to stay home and experience five years of the other side, of not going to church."

   How would you feel if you had been told "We're not going to impose our views on warfare, so we're going to take you to the rifle range for your entire childhood, once a week for an hour.  We want to make sure that when the time comes for you to make up your own mind about gun ownership and pacifism, you'll be ready."

  Be honest-the "United Front" keeps the kid from being able to stay home when he wants to because church/sunday school don't hold much attraction for him now and you want a few more years to make sure he'll want to get married in church and have his kids baptized when his wife wants a church wedding.  Why are women so much more into church than guys?  Why can't you be direct and say right out what you want?

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller

Posted at 7:08 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/9/2009

"He might say, "Your mom and I want you to make your own decisions when you grow up­­­ - especially about things as important as spirituality."

SPIRITUALITY?  That can mean a lot of things; anything from belief in New Age crystals to worshiping trees as a Wiccan.  That won't save your son's soul so he can enter the Kingdom of God.

"Spirituality" is not important.  Accepting Jesus as his saviour and having it explained to him why it's necessary is what is important.  Reading God's Word, understanding His will, having a life-long relationship with Jesus is what is important, and parents should teach their children how important that is from an early age.

As for Dad, this is why the Bible tells us not to let ourselves be "unequally yoked" to an unbeliever.

Oh, Dad "believes in God", though!  So does Satan.

Web Manager

Web Manager

Posted at 11:47 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/10/2009

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Jennifer Ohman-Rodriguez

Jennifer Ohman-Rodriguez

Posted at 11:10 am (U.S. Eastern) 4/1/2009

This issue is very real for many families and we lose these families when our congregations do not support them. Most parents today are dealing with many conflicts that impead church attendance. One of the best things we can do is empathize with their plight. Empathy is one of the many ways Jesus healed people when he walked on this earth.

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