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The Biggest Lie Toxic Religion Tells Parents

Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!

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This past week, we posed this question out to you on our social media platforms: What's the biggest lie toxic religion tells parents?

Your responses were many. They were upsetting. And they were not surprising.

Although we are not question and answer people with cute formulas tied up in nice bows, we do believe that uncovering lies and the things that have harmed us and then speaking them out is the first baby step to recovering from our wounds and moving us forward into a healthier way of being, and in this case, being a parent. How can we know how to parent unless we first shout out the ways that we do NOT want to parent? How can we move forward without reflecting backward?

This is the good work of unpacking and deconstructing. And in this case, how the toxic religion we grew up in has formed our thoughts and actions about parenting. After reading through your maddening and heart-wrenching responses, we see that there are : 1. Children are born bad, sinful, wretched. One of you spoke out the phrase from Voddie Baucham, "They're vipers in diapers."

2. Because children are born evil, we need to "spank" it out of them. We need to hit our children to teach them right and wrong and it's the most loving thing to do. Basically, violence and love go hand-in-hand in order to please God.

3. Because children are born evil, it is up to us to save them from themselves and also to save their souls from burning forever in eternal conscious torment. One absolutely necessary way is to take them to church.

4. Because children are born evil, they should not be allowed to trust themselves, only their parents (and that will be God in the process). Their parents are always right and the children must submit. If they don't, resort back to number two.

5. If you do all of these things, your children will turn to out to be good (and that means whatever religious system deems to be good). It also means they will repeat this pattern with their children and so on and so on and so on.

One of our main missions here at Deconstructing Mamas is help parents figure all this toxic S*#T out and call it out. To help us all to take the first step toward healing our very wounded souls. But we do not want to stop there.

As we say in our tagline, our ultimate goal is to work through ideas for reconstructing a space for our families to thrive under new systems of love and freedom, what we imagine to be the most healed space of all. We aim to break toxic generational cycles and as a nod to Martin Luther King, Jr., whose person and ideals we honor today in the United States, we too "have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." AND, we, along with our kids, will be "free at last, free at last."

Below, we have highlighted a few resources that we believe can be a starting point for you today if you are wondering where to go from here. To how to being to tell the truth to yourself and for it to permeate the way you parent your beautiful, good-inside kids. P.S. We also have a BIG announcement about our Patreon community below. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS IT!



On our second season, we had the funny, yet very insightful Danielle Shroyer. Danielle is an author, speaker, spiritual director, and former pastor. On the episode, Danielle unpacks the revolutionary and healing idea of ORIGINAL BLESSING (the title of her book highlighted below) and how it informs and transforms the way we interact with ourselves, our children and the world around us. Listen to the episode HERE.

This past season, we took one good step in the right direction when we asked this question to Dr. Eric Siebert: IS GOD VIOLENT? Eric is an Old Testament scholar and professor, dad of tweens and teens, and prolific author. Eric answers this question with an emphatic "NO!" and he especially emphasizes how the notion of hell (i.e., eternal conscious torment) contributes to a more controlling, violent parenting model vs. an un-controlling, self-giving model, perhaps informing how we might discipline our children. We touch lightly on the subject of spanking. Listen to the episode HERE. This next season, we are going to be diving much deeper into corporal punishment (spanking in particular) and why we've come to believe it's downright abuse. We'll be speaking with social worker and passionate advocate against spanking, Matt Shantz, and we cannot wait to hear his wisdom and then share it with you! Plus, we have a secret-SURPRISE-in-the-making that we cannot wait to tell you about coming in the summer of 2024!!



Latest News:

BIG NEWS - WE ARE MOVING OUR COMMUNITY TO PATREON AND OTHER GOODIES! (PLUS, something about Lizz's birthday and building our community!!) Facebook just was not working for us. We couldn't get what we wanted to our community (based on the lovely algorithm, so this past week, we moved everything to PATREON.

For as little as $3/month, you will get lots of extras from Lizz and Esther, including deeper discussions about topics on the podcast, first dibs on knowing about future exciting projects and perhaps some special deals exclusive to those projects and our NEW QUARTERLY ZOOM GROUP where we dive lots deeper into the things we need to sort out with parenting and deconstructing. We have a really FUN GOAL we are setting for this community by the beginning of Season 5, coming up on March 5th. We are trying to get to 73 PATREONS before that point. "WHY 73?" you ask! Lizz's birthday is July 3. 7/3. So it feels like a lovely number of people. Plus, there's something in the Bible about 7 being the number of perfection and 3 being the number of wholeness. So WHY NOT??? We still love the Bible, right? Well, at least in this case, we do!! (winky face) Head to this LINK to join us! You won't regret it! And plus, the reality is that you will help us keep the lights on over here at Deconstructing Mamas. We really really want to! Thank you in advance!


Resource Alert:

Of the worlds major religions, only Christianity holds to a doctrine of original sin. Ideas are powerful, and they shape who we are and who we become. The fact that many Christians believe there is something in human nature that is, and will always be, contrary to God, is not just a problem but a tragedy.

So why do the doctrines assumptions of human nature so infiltrate our pulpits, sermons, and theological bookshelves? How is it so misconstrued in times of grief, pastoral care, and personal shame? How did we fall so far from Gods original blessing in the garden to this pervasive belief in humanitys innate inability to do good?

In this book, Danielle Shroyer takes readers through an overview of the historical development of the doctrine, pointing out important missteps and overcalculations, and providing alternative ways to approach often-used Scriptures. Throughout, she brings the primary claims of original sin to their untenable (and unbiblical) conclusions. In Original Blessing, she shows not only how we got this doctrine wrong, but how we can put sin back in its rightful place: in a broader context of redemption and the blessing of humanity's creation in the image of God.


Over the past several years, Dr. Becky Kennedy—known to her followers as “Dr. Becky”—has been sparking a parenting revolution. Millions of parents, tired of following advice that either doesn’t work or simply doesn’t feel good, have embraced Dr. Becky’s empowering and effective approach, a model that prioritizes connecting with our kids over correcting them.

Parents have long been sold a model of childrearing that simply doesn’t work. From reward charts to time outs, many popular parenting approaches are based on shaping behavior, not raising humans. These techniques don’t build the skills kids need for life, or account for their complex emotional needs. Add to that parents’ complicated relationships with their own upbringings, and it’s easy to see why so many caretakers feel lost, burned out, and worried they’re failing their kids. In Good Inside, Dr. Becky shares her parenting philosophy, complete with actionable strategies, that will help parents move from uncertainty and self-blame to confidence and sturdy leadership.

Good Inside is a comprehensive resource for a generation of parents looking for a new way to raise their kids while still setting them up for a lifetime of self-regulation, confidence, and resilience.


One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.

Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,

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