Some opinions are fashionable to have. Often they are about parenting, and they usually involve judging how other people manage it.
In the past few years, I've had a variety of conversations about kids birthday parties. Some have involved tongue-clicking at the amount of money so-and-so spent on a jumping castle or a fairy or a clown or a cake. I've prided myself on my children knowing they are loved by my every-day actions rather than their birthday party or present budget.
This week we went to a birthday party at a fun park. I know my friend spent lots of money on it. I also know that this was the most powerful way, my friend knows, to tell her son, and her friends and family, that she loves them.
I might not think that her party was a wise use of money, and I might even have ethically sound, biblically literate reasons for doing parties differently to her.
But I better be careful about how I treat her love-gift to me and my family. Because how I respond to her generosity and her desire to celebrate (both biblically mandated ideas) needs to be with love and grace.
I better ask myself whether my high ideals and small-l liberal opinions on child-rearing are a key component of want I want to show her about faith in God. Or do I want to celebrate with her in the way she has graciously asked me to join her.
I am challenged to make sure I'm living Christ-like principles, rather than middle-class principles.
I thank God for my dear friend, who loves to be generous. I thank God for her delight in seeing kids having fun, and her delight in giving. May he help me to show his love wisely and graciously.
I thank God for a trip on the Ferris wheel, unanimously voted the best thing we did all day.