I was nine when we moved from our small New England town to the suburban sprawl of Colorado Springs. Everything was bigger there. The houses, the churches, the mountains, somehow even God was larger, more real, more present.
Christianity had been an important part of our family culture before, but now it took center stage. Our social lives oscillated between attending a mega church (and all of the classes, groups, dinners and activities that came with it) and hanging out at the Focus On The Family complex which was conveniently just down the street.
My brothers and I spent countless Saturdays exploring in the Adventures In Odyssey wonderland while my parents steeped themselves in Dobson’s philosophy. His empire pumped out radio programs, magazines, and parenting books that explained how our “sin natures” caused us to misbehave and directed parents to set firm boundaries via physical punishment and authoritarian shaming to help children understand the dire consequences of their sins.
I’ve been trying to shake off the effects of this toxic approach for years…