A Little Child Shall Lead Them,by Johann Christoph Arnold (Plough/Intervarsity, 193 pp.; $9.99, paper);
Raising Them Right: A Saint's Advice on Raising Children,by Theophan the Recluse (Conciliar Press, rev. ed., 71 pp.; $5.95, paper). Reviewed by Gregory Mathewes-Green, a priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and pastor of Holy Cross Mission, Baltimore.
It is difficult not to envy the Bruderhof community. We rarely meet Christians with such dedication to their common life that they won't serve the Lord's Supper if any two members are not in spiritual harmony. Folks like that are just plain admirable, and in some ways a judgment on all the rest of us. And the wonderfully sturdy children's toys that come out of the Bruderhof shop are the envy of every parent who has attempted to cobble together wooden playthings for the kids. Then there is the Bruderhof's simple Christian lifestyle, a concept the rest of us have been talking about for at least a quarter of a century; while we have been yakking, they have been doing it.
So why is this book by a certified Bruderhof leader so disappointing? A Little Child Shall Lead Them: Thoughts on Children and Education, by Johann Christoph Arnold, elder, counselor, father, and grandfather, is a personal reflection that, while serving up some very moving stories and thoughtful insights, nevertheless remains fundamentally flawed. Early in the book Arnold builds on Bonhoeffer's "Wedding Sermon from a Prison Cell" and briefly states the case for a Christ-centered, two-parent family in which prayer is the sustaining force for living the biblical family life. It is within this kind of family that strong and Christian children will grow up, and where the husband and father will demonstrate ...1
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