Polluting the Darkness [Fatherhood]

So, as you may know, we’re having a kid. This means that I’ve been thinking about what kind of dad I’m going to be and how we’re going to raise the incoming kiddo.

Today DesiringGod Ministries posted something on their blog that caught my eye and spoke to the way that I would like to see my children raised. They quoted from a book that I have on my shelf, but haven’t read yet, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N. D. Wilson:

The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.


There is no kind of parent that bothers me more than the parent that hides the world from their children so that with the effect that their children don’t know what to do when they get out into the world. I know a family  that does this and it pains me to watch their youngest enter his teens and have no idea how to engage in the world that is really out there. He is home-schooled, and is allowed to play football, but is not allowed to hang out with his team outside of practice and games… no sleepovers, no movies, just the actual team work. He’s barely a teen but he’s about 6’5″ and he doesn’t know his own strength – in the exact opposite way in which that phrase is most often used. He doesn’t know how to resist the temptations of the world because he doesn’t see them. He doesn’t know how strong he is physically because he isn’t allowed to test it against other boys his age except for when he has pads on.

I fear that when he turns 18 one of two things will happen – he’ll either stay weak or he’ll go off the deep end.

I know where this desire comes from, 2 Corinthians 6:17 says:

Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,

They try to do this, and that is wonderful, but they do it wrongly because they forget what Paul has already written in 1 Corinthians 1:9-10

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

Paul specifically says to not hide yourselves from the immoral people on the outside of the Church, but to protect yourself from being polluted by the immoral people who claim to be following Christ.

This is why Wilson’s quote is so wonderful; he does not advocate blind joining and engagement with the world and with the grossness in it, but a trained, vigilant and purposeful engagement. Train your children to be wary of the ways that the world may tempt them, but train them also to bring joy, truth and grace to the world as one who would help rescue it through the blood of Christ.

“They will pollute the darkness.”