Tips for a Successful Interview

The economy is bad.  To make ends meet you may have to take a second job as a professional wrestler.  If you find yourself in that situation, you’re going to want to know how to nail the interview and there’s no better way to learn than by watching the best.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer.

A Pastoral Plea for the Separation of Church and State

This past Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke at a church near the town where I pastor.  The service was simulcast on C-SPAN and there were news clips afterwards of previously undecided voters leaving the church building with their minds made up and their arms filled up with signs supporting Newt.  I noticed a few more of those signs around town today.

At the other end of the political spectrum, our president, Barak Obama is calling on churches to rise up in support of him by selecting what he calls “congregation captains.”

The churches that support these two men are quite different, I’m sure.  But one thing is evident and that is that the source of their hope and the object of their worship is government.  For the mostly white and conservative congregation, Newt is the man to turn things around.  Here’s a sign.  Put it in your yard and be sure to come back next week.  For the mostly black and more politically progressive congregation, the President needs another chance.  Just give him some more time and we’ll finally realize the hope and change we’ve heard so much about.

But there’s something that both churches fail to realize.  Even if their candidate of choice is in office next year and things finally go their way, nothing has been done to address the real problem.  Whether you want smaller government or more of it, neither man will address the condition of a heart that is alienated from God.  We shouldn’t expect them to.

And that’s the really sad part.

It’s sad that a church, the one body that should be pointing out the real source of hope, would rather run to a political candidate to find the cheap substitute.  It’s sad that people whose hearts have been shot through with sin and abuse are offered another sinner and the party platform as their remedy.  Sure, these churches may like to slap some Jesus talk and Christian lingo onto their political rhetoric but the essence is still the same – dying men being told to rely on another dying man and his dying system.  How could the result be anything other than death?

If this Sunday the man that I am voting for happened to find his way into the church that I pastor, I hope that he would be made to feel welcomed like any other guest (James 2:1-13) as he quietly sits and hears about the only Man that can help us, the Man Jesus Christ.

The church that prostitutes itself by acting as an extension of a political party or a platform for a political candidate, no matter how noble that party or candidate may be, has ceased to become a church and has instead devolved into just another bureaucracy.

Jesus didn’t die for a bureaucracy.

He died for his church.

Film Forum: Clicker Stoppers

This is an ongoing discussion between friends about the best in motion pictures.

With the exception of Frank, none of us knows what we’re talking about.

That’s never stopped us before.

Today’s topic: It’s dumb but if it’s on TV, you’re watching it anyway.

Frank Glidden – The Actor

This one was so easy. Hands down, it has to be…….Beastmaster. Marc Singer playing Conan light. How could this have gone wrong. They couldn’t afford James Earl Jones, so they went with John Amos. (No offense to Mr. John Amos. He was good in Great Times, or was it great in Good Times?) Rip Torn in a mythical, barbarian type movie? Come on. At least he redeemed himself in later movies. Dodgeball comes to mind. The greatest thing about Beastmaster? The ferrets. I can’t even remember their names, but when you think they are dead, it almost makes you cry. No matter how many times I’ve seen the last 40 minutes of this movie, I watch it if I run across it. I think honestly that’s about all I have ever seen of it.

Shane Burchfiel – Provider for Earth’s People

Roadhouse. Why? Because that’s the dude from The Outsiders, Red Dawn, and Point Break. Even though he’s passed on, he’ll go all Swayze on yo face!

Casey Harpe – Newlywed 

Okay, I can think of three. Swingers, Tommy Boy, and Happy Gilmore.

Swingers – There is something about Vince Vaughan and John Favreau
getting drunk and trying to figure out how to pick up “beautiful
babies” that is just hilarious. There’s a lot of cussing and drinking
and college humor but it’s still a great movie. Morally, it’s
reprehensible…but for entertainment’s sake, it’s gold.

Tommy Boy – Chris Farley.

Happy Gilmore – Man. You can’t help but love Happy and absolutely
hate Shooter McGavin. So many great lines, fighting with Bob Barker, and
Carl Weathers for goodness sake.

I must have watched these 3 movies 8000 times each when I was in
Athens (notice I didn’t say “when I was in ‘college’”). I’m pretty
sure I could quote at least 75% of each one.

Jeff Merrill – The Singer

I have absolutely no clue as to why, but I can’t manage to get past Point Break. It’s as if the remote goes into automatic lock-down mode. I think there was a week last year that I watched that movie from wherever I picked it up to its final scene three nights in a row.

Jay Sanders – The Pastoral Rambler

Point Break.

There’s a portion of my brain that tells me to get mad at people on the interstate for slowing down to look at the wreck on the side of the road.  There’s another portion of my brain that tells me to slam on my brakes and take a look.  I mean for crying out loud, one of the cars could explode and how could I live with myself if I had to tell my grandkids about the time I almost got to see a car explode on the side of the interstate.

Point Break is the cinematic car fire on the side of the road.  It’s got Gary Busey.  No wait, Nick Nolte.  Whatever.  Either way, one of those guys is in it along with some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  But what really sets things over the edge is the performance of a young Keanu Reeves before he got acting lessons.  A real recipe for disaster.

Point Break comes on TV at least 42 times a year and it may be one of the worst big budget movies of all time.  But if I drive up on Point Break, I’m slowing down to take a look.  If you’ve never seen Point Break before, take my advice.  Keep moving.  There’s nothing to see here.

Kevin Lester – The Accountant for Mayberry PD

Maximum Overdrive.

I can only describe this in the fashion that truly great movies can be
described; in phrases that are separated with periods that leave the
awesomeness to the imagination of the listener.

Emilio Estevez. Yeardley Smith aka Lisa Simpson.  Stephen King. Alien
controlled trucks.  Exploding gas pumps.  Killer electric knives.  Boy
gets run over by a steam roller.  AC/DC.

How to Fit In


Everyone wants to fit in. In his own little way, even the guy with a chain pierced through his ear and connected to his nose wants to be accepted. There are several ways to fit in.  You could play it low-key, hide in the corner and hope no one notices you but where’s the fun in that? Or you could sell your soul and become someone you’re not. But you really need your soul.

There’s a better way. Here’s some help for a variety of situations and circumstances.

Fitting In at Bible College or Seminary

Find a conversation and blow that sucker up, baby!  Maybe there are a few folks talking about music. This is a perfect opportunity for you to theological flex your muscles.

Stranger Talking to a Group of Friends: “Amazing Grace is my favorite hymn.”

You: “You’re still amazed by God’s grace?  Haven’t you read Ephesians 2?  Figure it out, man.”


And don’t let a little prayer stop you either.

Stranger Praying: “And please be with Maria tonight as she…”

You (interrupting): “God’s already with Molly.”

This let’s people know what they’re dealing with. Whether you are or not, you’re coming across as a theological heavyweight. Sure, there will be a few naysayers but just let them know that you’re trying to promote a spirit of discernment. Who can argue with that? You’ll be published in no time.

As a basic rule, just find something that everyone likes and run it off into the ditch.  The latest video going around Facebook, the team that won the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl, Adele, blue jeans, ice cream, and your own wife and kids are all fair game to be set straight by a 1500 word blog posting.  Anything but baseball.  If you really want to fit in at your Bible college or seminary you’ll leave baseball alone.

Fitting In During a Musical Conversation

Here’s the scenario. You’re at a party and a few of the people around you are talking about Daft Punk. You have no clue who Daft Punk is. For a lesser individual this would mean that it’s time to slip off to the bathroom. But you’re not lesser. You’re more-er and people need to know it and here’s how they will with just one short phrase.

“I liked the old stuff a lot better.”

No one can argue with that.  The old stuff is always better.  This is true of every artist that has ever existed.  And even if there really is no old stuff, no one will object because, for all they know, there just might be some old stuff and they don’t want to look ignorant when it comes to Daft Punk. Maybe they recorded a few tracks in your basement a few years back. See, now you’re using their desire to fit in to your own advantage.

But you have to be careful with your words here.  Remember, you have no clue who Daft Punk is. Is it one punk?  Is it a band of punks?  Are they French?  You can’t say, “I liked her old stuff a lot better” because then the whole thing goes sideways really quick.  Be very general here.

Fitting In at Your High School

Step one: Wake up a few minutes before school starts.

Step two: Leave your pajamas on.

Step three:  Find a sweatshirt or jacket with a hood.

Step four:  Put the hood on. I don’t care if it’s not raining or if you live in Florida and it’s 87 degrees. Just do it.

Step five: Go to school.

Step six: Go to Wal-Mart.

Step seven: Go home and go back to bed in newer, fresher pajamas.

Step eight: Enjoy your reign as homecoming queen/king.

Fitting In with Your Mechanic

There’s probably no other place where it’s more important to fit in.  One false move here and you could end up paying for two vent drafted cylinder heads when you really only need one.  Whether you actually do or not, you have to look and act like you know what’s going on. Fitting in matters.

First, you have to dress for the occasion. If you’re the type that enjoys wearing the Rick Santorum sweater vest, avoid letting your mechanic see you in this. But don’t worry.  A wardrobe overhaul isn’t necessary. All you need is a pair of coveralls and some old dress shoes. This outfit alone instantly gets you to 95% legitimacy.  Men that wear greasy coveralls with old church shoes know their cars.

But to put yourself over the edge, there are two more steps worth following.

When you’re telling your mechanic what’s wrong with your car, look all flustered and talk real fast.  If you have one, bring your kid with you. If you don’t have a kid, find one. This leaves the impression that if you only had the time you could take care of this cracked vent drafted cylinder head yourself. But not with a kid around. Also, refer to the kid as “the yungun.”

Almost there.

When the mechanic comes back to tell you what they’re going to have to do to your vent drafted cylinder head, don’t look surprised. You need to say something back, otherwise the mechanic will think he can throw something else on you that you don’t really need.  Just remember to be careful what you say and how you say it.

Unacceptable Responses to Your Mechanic’s Assessment

1.  “Vent drafted cylinder head?  What’s that?”

2.  “Is that next to the little red thingy?”

Acceptable Responses

1.  “I knew it!  Man, I miss Dale Sr.”

2.  “Yeah, that’s what I told Jimmy.  He thought it was the radiator.  Idiot.  Hey, did you hear Creed’s getting back together?”

With the right wardrobe, a flustered look and a cool response, you’ll be well on your way to free tickets to the next race down at the dirt track and maybe even saving a few bucks on that vent drafted cylinder head.

Fitting in has its privileges.


The worst part of my day is in the morning, about three minutes before I walk out the door to go to work.

My sons always get real sad.  Today, one of them started crying.  Loud crying.

I accepted their challenge to a wrestling match and that helped to settle things down.  But when our match was over and I had been soundly defeated it was time to go.

No tears this time.

But still the same sad look.

My sons are just like their dad.  We all hate saying goodbye.

But as sad as this routine is, there is a benefit.

Every time I walk out the door to the sounds of sadness it makes me think about two promises from the Bible.

The first promise is from Romans 8:38-39.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels or rulers, nor things present not things to come nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Every morning when I leave, my sons are being reminded that they live in a world of separation.  A world of goodbyes.

I teach them this every morning when I leave for work.  But my job when I get home is to teach them of the love of God in Christ Jesus that will never leave them.  Not because of tribulation.  Not because of peril.  Not because of work.  Never leave.

The second promise is from Revelation 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

We live in a world of separation, heartache and pain.  We get a tiny reminder of that every morning at our house when it’s time for me to leave.  But scripture reminds us that it’s all passing away.  Something better is coming.  No more pain.  No more tears.  No more sun and moon.  Jesus is with us.  He is enough.

This week some students from our church went to do some work on a lady’s house.  As one parent dropped her son off I was an eyewitness to that moment all teenage boys have when they say goodbye to their mothers in public.  It’s the awkward, non-verbal dialogue of “I love you very much and I’d really like to hug you but just not in front of my friends.”

When I saw that, it kind of made me sad because I knew that our time was coming.  Soon, my sons will stop crying when it’s time for me to go to work.  They’ll start to realize that I’ll be back in a few hours.  And I’ll probably really miss mornings like today when it’s really hard to leave.

My boys, even at their young age, are already learning that dad isn’t always around.  Despite my best intentions, I have to leave from time to time.  But I hope that I’m doing okay at teaching them about the love of God in Christ Jesus that will never leave them or forsake them.

I hope that in our morning goodbyes, they can hear the quiet whisper of the One who says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

An Exegetical Analysis of The Final Countdown

Like most Americans, you’re probably wondering what it would sound like if the guitar players and drummer from Metallica started a band with the lady that plays the organ for the nearest minor league baseball team and Vladimir Putin on lead vocals.

Wonder no more.

0:01 – “Mommy!”

0:24 – Some days, your band just doesn’t have it.  When that day arrives, stare at your keyboard player.  That way everyone will blame him.

0:54 – There are two ways to know that your band just isn’t hitting on all cylinders.  The first clue is when random people walk up on stage during your performance and start snooping around backstage.

1:16 – The other clue is when that same random dude starts looking into your speakers and then tuning your guitar while you’re playing.  Did this ever happen to Eddie Van Halen?

“The boys are a little off tonight, Carl.  Eddie missed a few notes on that last solo.  Go up there and twist some nobs on his guitar.”

“Sure thing boss.”

1:42 – Biggest fan in 3, 2, 1.

“I told Vera not to buy that boy no keyboard.  This is ridiculous.”

2:00 – Jam session, baby!

2:52 – And just in case you forgot the name of the song.

I think at one point this was the theme song for the NBA or NASA or something.

Well, it’s not anymore and I think we know why.






If you’re neglecting prayer, at least two things are evident.

1.  You’re arrogant.

2.  You’re missing out.

To neglect prayer is the highest form of arrogance.  I’ve prayed a lot.  I’ve consistently prayed with grieving people, before meals, after waking up, and before going to sleep.  For me, the problem has never been one of frequency but one of urgency.  Essentially, I viewed prayer like that extra fork they give you at nice restaurants.  You don’t think you really need it but you use it anyway.  Imagine that.  Talking with the Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe as a non-essential.  Arrogance.

When we neglect prayer, we also miss out on the encouragement that comes with being in the presence of God.  We tend to think of encouragement either as people affirming us in our supposed greatness or diverting our attention from our ever-present failures.  But in prayer, there is another, deeper kind of encouragement.

Someone is listening to me.  Not just someone.  God.  God is listening to me.  The one who made me hears my prayers.  But he does even more than just listen.  He’s actively at work in my prayer.  His work isn’t centered on trying his best to get my request taken care of, like some FM disk jockey.  Instead, his concern is for me to know and desire him more (John 17).

When I pray, I don’t know what I’m doing.  But it’s cool.  Neither does Billy Graham or John Piper.  I’m in good company.  At first that doesn’t seem very encouraging until I consider what God does with my futile attempts at prayer.  Paul says in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

In Christ, every word I speak in prayer is hand delivered by the Holy Spirit to God the Father with such a passion that Paul cannot even describe it.  The Triune God is on the move and never is that more personally evident than when I pray.

I’ve told a lot of people that I would pray for them and for the most part I’ve followed through with my promise.  I also have people who I know pray for me.  These are people who I know take prayer seriously.  I know that if I tell these folks to pray for something, they’ll do it.  It’s good and encouraging to know that others are praying for you.  But there’s something even greater than that.

In Romans 8:34, Paul tells us that it is Jesus Christ, “who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

Jesus is praying for me.

Whatever this day may bring I can face it with full confidence that my prayers are heard because of the Holy Spirit. And I can face this day knowing that Jesus himself is praying for me.  His aim isn’t to boost my ego but to point my attention to his Father.

Encouragement can be a funny thing.  Sometimes it can make you feel better and sometimes it just lets you know that people feel sorry for you.

“Bless your heart.”

“He means well.”

“I’ll be praying for you.”

No one ever said, “Well, bless your heart” to Michelangelo after they saw what he did to the Sistine Chapel.  I, on the other hand, have heard it spoken my way quite a few times.  The one who says it, I’m sure, always means well but for some reason it doesn’t leave me feeling too good about myself.

Jesus has never told me, “Well, bless your heart.”

Jesus knows that I don’t mean well.

But in his word, Jesus tells me that he is praying for me.

That’s humbling.

And encouraging.


Film Forum: The Most Unintentionally Inspirational Movie of All-Time

This is an ongoing discussion between friends about the best in motion pictures.

With the exception of Frank, none of us knows what we’re talking about.

That’s never stopped us before.

Today’s question: What’s the most unintentionally inspirational movie of all-time?

Shane Burchfiel: The Agrarian

Taken. Here you have a guy who is keenly aware of the evil that surrounds us. Yes it’s implied he wasn’t around much when the kid was young, and he has a crabby, naive ex-wife. So, he leaves his secret military job and moves close to his daughter to make amends and be part of her life. When she (the daughter) is later kidnapped and sold into a sex slave ring, this guy uses all his resources and stops at nothing in order to rescue his daughter. As a father of 3 girls, I was standing up and cheering with every bad guy he gunned down. I pray everyday over the safety, protection, and purity of my 3 girls. I want to believe that I will always protect and defend–using force is necessary– them against any and all form of evil to the best of my ability, Lord willing.

Casey Harpe: The Newlywed

The movie Taken with Liam Neeson encourages me. I’m not sure how to word this
without sounding goofy so I’m just going to say it. The first time I
saw this movie, the main thing I took away from it was the beautiful
picture of the gospel it represents. It’s not exact, of course.
Examples never are. (Spoiler) When the father finally rescues his
daughter from the people who kidnapped her, the relief you can’t help
but feel is very similar to the relief that Christ’s rescue gives me.
In the film, the father travels all over the world, doing whatever it
takes to find his daughter. They did a great job of making you see and
believe the hopelessness of ever finding his daughter, right up until
the moment he rescues her. When she’s finally safe, there’s a moment
of huge relief. When that moment came, immediately I thought of the
gospel. I’d imagine the producers just wanted to make a movie about a
guy who had some kind of super secret government job where he learned
how to kill people really well, and who has to use these skills to
find his kidnapped daughter. I’m sure Jesus Christ was nowhere near
their thinking but I was encouraged to thank God for His Son after
watching this movie.

Jeff Merrill: The Musician

Tough category. Crazy Heart for some reason works for me here. Part of that is probably the musician in me responding to the soundtrack. The rest is Jeff Bridges’ character, Bad Blake and the desire to be a better man that is inspired in him by Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal).  He finds renewed faith in himself through someone else’s faith in him.

Jay Sanders: The Right Reverend

I did not go to school in Compton or anywhere near south central LA for that matter.  But when I saw Boyz n the Hood in high school it made me realize what some of the kids I went to school with were facing.  At the time, this was the most powerful movie I had ever seen.  It really opened my eyes to the destruction of an entire race within our country.  Now that I’m a father, the role of Furious Styles, played by Laurence Fishburne, really stands out.  Styles was a flawed man but he took his role as a father very seriously.  This movie, perhaps more than any other I’ve ever seen, underscores the importance of strong fathers.  It’s very brutal and if you want to watch it I’d recommend that you try to find it on TV but John Singleton’s classic challenged me to rethink the way I viewed issues of race in our country.

Frank Glidden: The Actor

This one was tough. I put a lot of thought into it. I tried to think of a movie I watched as a kid that has stayed with me into adulthood. That inspirational movie is……Meatballs! I’m sure Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray and the writers, one being Harold Ramis, had no intention of inspiring a little kid in Lexington, NC to be the best darn camper he could be. I went to camp religiously every summer, from 3rd grade until I graduated from high school. Every summer the week before camp, I would watch Meatballs. It inspired me to be a better basketball player at camp, a better friend to my fellow campers, and a better camper to my counselors. It was probably the first Bill Murray movie I ever saw. Since then he has become one of my favorite actors. I had a chance to audition for a movie in Atlanta that he was the star of a couple years ago called Get Low. I got to the second round, and they went with Lucas Black. It was just awesome to get that close. The next year I got to meet Mr. Murray at a celebrity golf tournament. I could have got him to autograph Ghostbusters. Nope, guess what I went with. That’s right, Meatballs. This is my inspired pick for an unintentionally inspiring movie. BTW as I write this Mr. Murray is on Letterman. Truly inspired.

Kevin Lester: Webmaster for the Mayberry PD

When I think about this category I keep coming back to The Karate Kid.
It made every kid want to learn karate even though we find out later
that kung-fu is much cooler as this came out in ’84 and The Last
Dragon did not come out until ’85.  The final scene with the Crane
technique on the bully and then the respect of the bully after he is
defeated is a true picture of real life.  The way a kid learned karate
in a few weeks and beats kids who had been training for years is a
true life lesson as well.  In fact thinking about this movie has given
me a new found inspiration today.  I’ve been watching UFC videos on
Youtube all day.  I think I’m ready to jump on the new fighting
entertainment bandwagon and step into the octagon.  Come check me out
this coming weekend.  I just need to find myself an asian guy who
owned a restaurant in the 50’s who will let me rebuild his house.

The Southern Lexicon

When you’re watching a show on TV and someone from another country is speaking, subtitles usually appear at the bottom of the screen.  Recently, subtitles have starting appearing for another reason – when someone from the south is speaking.  This is due in large part to the fact that there has been a sharp increase in the number of reality shows about pregnant teenagers, alligator wrestlers and men who don’t use poles to catch catfish.  Generally speaking, people who are real, real good at getting pregnant real, real young, wrestling alligators and catching catfish with their bare hands live in the south and don’t spend a lot of time working on their oratory skills.

If you ever find yourself in a real life encounter with a southerner that you just can’t understand, there wont be any subtitles to help you out.  That’s why you need to get familiar with The Southern Lexicon.

Here’s a sample.

Pro-grum – Program

This word can be used to refer to the sheet of paper they give you at church that tells you what’s happening next.

“John Henry, pass me the pro-grum.”

It can also refer to a television show.

“John Henry, be quiet.  I’m trying to watch my pro-grum.”

Bawl – Ball

Of course you’ll hear this one in reference to the object used to play a sport.

“John Henry!  Hit the bawl!”

But, it can also refer to the sport itself.

“We signed John Henry up to play bawl this year.”  (Here the word bawl can be used to refer to football, baseball or basketball but never soccer.)

Dead-ee – Father

“When dead-ee gets home, we gonna play some bawl and then watch a pro-grum about alligator wrestlers.”

Quip-ment – Equipment, stuff usually found on or around a farm

“I think we can get that trench dug for ya ma’am if John Henry ever gets here with that quipment.”

S – This letter is commonly added on to the end of whatever store is being discussed.

“They gotta good sale on Little Debbies goin’ on at Piggly Wiggly’s right now.”

“Y’all gonna stay with your Aunt Florence.  Yer Dead-ee’s takin’ me to Wal-Marts.”

Hep – Help

“John Henry!  Come hep me move this drive shaft.”

Den-uh – Dinner, see also Supper

Be very careful on this one.  Sometimes it means lunch and sometimes it means the last meal of the day.  The following sentence is a very tricky one.

“We got out there ’round den-uh time.”

This could mean anywhere from 11 am to 7 pm.  If you’re ever asked by a southerner to meet someplace at den-uh time, ask him to clarify.

N-ten-doe – Any video game system that has ever existed.  Today’s Playstation and Xbox along with classics like Sega Genesis and Atari are all N-ten-does.

“You lucky.  I didn’t have no N-ten-doe when I was growing up.”

“John Henry needs to quit playin’ that N-ten-doe and get out here and hep dead-ee with that quipment.”

Now you don’t need subtitles.


Drug Problem

One time a guy told me that he didn’t like going to the doctor because it was called a medical practice.  His point was that he didn’t want a doctor practicing on him.  His point was well taken.

In our country today, some in the medical industry are bent on practicing, or perhaps experimenting, on the youngest among us.  In recent years, we have seen an increase of bipolar diagnoses among children, many of whom are on two or three different prescriptions by the time they are four years old.

Medication is a result of God’s common grace.  It has made our lives longer and healthier.  But the opposite is true when these medications are forced on patients much like a sales associate at Big Lou’s Tire Emporium tries to sell you up on a higher, more expensive model that you don’t really need.

“I drive a mini-van.  Why did I just buy 26 inch wheels?”

Obviously, there are times when children need to be on medications.  Many children today have outlived their once bleak life expectancy or have enjoyed an incredibly improved quality of life thanks to God’s gracious provision of medication.  However, the increase of children being placed on drugs because of behavior problems should make all parents stop and evaluate what they’re being told.

In 2008, the PBS show Frontline documented the way that some in the medical profession push behavioral drugs on kids in a way that would make Freeway Ricky Ross blush.  This is in spite of the fact that there is limited documentation of long term side effects and that often the supposed cure seems worse than the initial disease.  To cure this dilemma, the answer from some is, “Well, try another drug along with this one.”  The result is a customer for life.

The Bible is not primarily a parenting guide and and we grossly miss the point of it if we make it one big message about behavior modification.  However, the Bible does speak to the reader’s heart through the power of the Holy Spirit and the heart is the source of our behavior (Mark 7:14-23).  Read two verses and call me in the morning is not the answer but careful study of the word in a community context puts parents and children on the pathway to healing by addressing the root of the issue.  That’s not something you can say about being prescribed a higher dosage.

Here are the money quotes from the Frontline episode below.

“Most of these doctors were experimenting.  They had no clue and were just saying, ‘Try this.  Try this.’  There’s nothing worse than seeing your kid, you know, go through something like this.” Iris Solomon, mother of a medicated child

“What you’ve got out there is a whole lot of kids who are being diagnosed with a condition that has not really attained respectability yet and they’re receiving medications that have not been fully tested on children.”  David Shaffer, Cheif, Child Psychiatry, Columbia University

“There’s no scientific answer here about what to do but I think we should try to go up a little bit on the medicine.”  David Axelson M.D., Bipolar Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center