There's a great dichotomy among Christian parents when it comes to values raising their children.
On one hand, we like to stress that we prefer our children to be surrounded by friends whose parents have similar values to ours. We prefer their friends to be clean-cut with good manners and even better grades.
Then at church, we often remind children that a Christian value is to include those on the outside looking in. We talk about befriending the new kid at school or sitting with the one who is left out.
We often assume that these are just the lonely nerds - the different ones who are awkward socially. But what if they are the kids who get in trouble?
What if they are the kids whose parents don't give them curfews?
What if these are the kids with an extended vocabulary or, worse yet, an extended knowledge of all things R-rated?
Then we begin to stray away from this value. The biggest difficulty comes in trusting that our kids will be the ones doing the influencing rather than being influenced.
This strange tension is what we'll be looking at in worship this Sunday. Our lectionary passage will be from the parable of the weeds and the wheat as told in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
What do we do when the weeds are allowed to grow among us?
And what if (with apologies to Pogo), "we have met the weed and he is us?"