Should Matt Chandler Be Joking about Whipping His Kids? Plus Fill Up Your Podcast Queue!

by | May 6, 2022 | Faith, Parenting Young Kids, Theology of Marriage and Sex | 66 comments

Yesterday on the podcast we looked at the metaanalysis about spanking, and talked about gentle parenting.

That metaanalysis of 160,000 children found that spanking was either neutral or negative, but not positive. Like if you parent well in other areas, you can blunt negative effects, but spanking on the whole is a negative thing. And we had Wendy Snyder on to talk about parenting that connects.

And all of this was yesterday. It’s not like we talk about spanking very often. I’ve done so maybe a handful times since I started this blog in 2008.

Which is why I thought it was really funny (ironic?) that the day that that podcast launched, Matt Chandler, megachurch pastor of The Village Church and head of the Acts 29 network, was on the Focus on the Family broadcast making a joke about whipping his kids.

(It’s just after the 15:11 mark):

Anyway, I know it was a joke, but watch how the four men in the room are really laughing about whipping your kids when they don’t want to sit still for family devotions.

I wonder if we can get to the point where we don’t laugh about whipping kids anymore?


A bunch of podcasts I’ve been on recently!

I record about 5 or 6 of OTHER people’s podcasts a week, and I don’t always get the chance to share them! So here are just a few that have launched lately:

Join me on Instagram as I talk modesty and yoga pants!

I try to jump on Instagram when I feel like it and I have a moment (it’s never really planned; if it had to be planned I’d never do it and I’d hate it because I’d feel the pressure and I have enough of that already!) and answer some questions.

Lately it was on modesty, so have a listen! There’s a part 2 that’s in my Instagram video feed as well.

Finally, I’ll just leave you with praise for The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex!

This was nice to read…

The All New Guides to Great Sex!

Available now!

Imagine building a great sex life–from the ground up!

What would it look like to build a picture of sex that was MUTUAL, INTIMATE, and PLEASURABLE FOR BOTH–with no harmful messages?

Welcome to the The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and the ALL NEW Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

Get them NOW!

And let’s make these the go-to wedding shower gifts!

What do you think? Should we be joking about spanking? Do you have any favorite podcasts I’ve been on (other than Bare Marriage of course!) Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Jo R

    Is it just me, or does the very name “Acts 29 church” give anyone else the heebie jeebies since, after all, chapter 28 is the last chapter of Acts?

    • Andrea

      Yes, that was the whole point, they think of themselves as the next best thing in Christianity. That is soooo heretical, adding to God’s Word, but no one cares about that any more as long as they all agree on female submission and hitting their kids, I mean, they’ve even changed the definition of the Trinity to fit their complementarianism.

      The title of that video though, “Passing the faith on to your kids” – they’re gonna whip their kids into the Kingdom. Let me tell you as a PK, family devotions don’t do much, in fact they feel quite performative, if the kids don’t see you living out your faith in everyday life.

  2. Jim

    Please watch the entire video.

    The advice that they were giving was actually really good talking about the difficulties with having family devotions with young kids, at least that was the context of the ‘whipping’ comment. Anyone who is a parent knows the frustration that you feel when you feel that your kids are not listening.

    To summarize some of the video, they talked about being a safe place for your kids, asking them for forgiveness when you mess up or overreact, and not expect them or you, the parent, to be perfect.

    These points are really important with all of the stress and struggle that we all experience as parents.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m sure the points are important.

      Is it appropriate to joke about whipping your kids? Could those points have been made without joking about whipping your kids?

      • Jim

        Could have the point been made without the joke? Sure.

        Was it inappropriate? That is open to debate. I would agree more so if they were endorsing whipping. This seemed to be an off-hand comment to illustrate frustration that parents may feel when kids are not listening during a devotional.

        But it is telling that you are focusing on a joke, and you acknowledge that is was a joke, in a almost 30 minute video.
        I know that you have issues with Focus, but you are showing your bias when you focus on one comment that you find objectionable when the rest of the video gave some great advice that I would think that you would agree with.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          is it EVER okay to joke about whipping a child? Is it okay to joke about lynching a black man? Is it okay to joke about raping a woman?

          When is a joke beyond the pale?

          Think about all the parents who listen to Focus on the Family who do spank with switches (like the Pearls teach). They will now be affirmed in this, because we’re all joking about it.

          • Jim


            Wow, drastic leap of logic.

            By your logic, jokes are never ok. Look at the context. Your bias and need to discount Focus is obvious. I know that they discounted you and your views but that is not an excuse to now ‘throw out the baby with the bath water’.

            “Think about all the parents who listen to Focus on the Family who do spank with switches (like the Pearls teach). They will now be affirmed in this, because we’re all joking about it.”

            A joke is an affirmation of this behavior? I would not think so and I did not take it that way.

            I’m surprised that you have not addressed the jokes and hyperbole that are in the Bible like:

            Matthew 5:29
            If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away…

            Luke 9:25
            What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

            2 Chronicles 1:15
            The king [Solomon] made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.

          • Darah

            Jim, I think you missed the point. There are some topics we don’t joke about because they’re not funny and have caused real pain. Whipping, lynching, raping, etc. are some of those examples. By encouraging people to laugh at these situations (“it’s just a joke, lighten up!”) just causes more harm to more people. Let’s find humor elsewhere.

          • Jo R

            Proverbs 26:18-19

            Like a madman who throws flaming darts and deadly arrows, so is the person who deceives his neighbor
            and says, “I was only joking!”

          • CMT

            How about eph5:4? Does it only count as “coarse joking” if you say cuss words?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Of course a joke is an affirmation of behaviour! Do you joke about raping someone? No, because rape is so horrid you wouldn’t joke about it (at least I hope you wouldn’t). And why would you joke about it? Because you know that to make light of it isn’t okay. Why not? Because when we do so, we take away the horror of it and we make it seem as if it’s not so bad. It’s commonplace. And that enables it to keep happening.

            Seriously, do you joke about Jews dying in the Holocaust? If not, why not?

            Now, ask yourself: Why shouldn’t those same considerations apply to whipping children?

          • GCB


            I will say on a side note that the ONLY time I’ve actually liked a rape/sexual assault joke was in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. It was the moment when Jeannie Beuller finds Principal Rooney infiltrating her family’s house, kicks him (and knocks him out) in self defense, and threatens him to leave the house over the intercom later on as she’s hiding in her bedroom, saying that she has her father’s handgun and a “scorching case of herpes.”

            The humor is executed in a way that empowers the victim/target rather than making light of the actual assault, or threat of it.

            It IS possible to joke about serious subject matter tastefully, without carelessness. But that line is incredibly difficult to walk, and the way these men are exemplifying it definitely not a good instance to take inspiration from.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Also, Jim, those are hyperboles. They are not jokes.

            Is it okay to joke about whipping children?

          • Cynthia

            I actually have a pretty dark sense of humor sometimes and have enjoyed some edgier jokes.

            That said, I agree with you that this was more light-hearted hyperbole than a joke. Chandler isn’t Russel Peters. It was a throwaway comment that sometimes, you are just trying to get through something without losing it, but it didn’t unpack or make anyone think about how we should act when we are frustrated. Also, while this particular topic seems pretty benign, the larger context is FOTF – a group started by the guy who gave advice on how to discipline your strong-willed kid by describing how he beat his small dog.

          • Linda

            Well Jim, it was I who happened upon this episode yesterday when I turned on my car radio. I don’t usually listen to FOTF any longer, but I was driving at a time I usually am not. I thought I’d put a CD on, but was intrigued by the topic. Yes, Adam said some really great things. It was wonderful to hear him speak of a “safe place” for kids, and the humbleness of a parent to ask forgiveness when they’ve messed up.

            Unfortunately, that was negated for me by Matt’s comment about the goal being to get through the Family devotional time – time spent learning about our Great, Awesome God – Who He Is and what He has done – without “sending someone to their room or handing out a whipping”…. it may have been a foolish joke, but can you not see the utter disconnection in his choice of words? To me, to whip someone is a violent act. Jesus was whipped so violently. How on earth could anyone equate teaching about God and whipping in the same sentence?

            What about individuals who do not understand sarcastic, dry or tongue-in-cheek humour? What if they equate your children not sitting quietly for devotions and whipping as a suitable form of discipline? In my view, why would any child want to learn anything about God? Also, what about a listener who was subjected to severe abuse and whippings? Now that person may in fact be turned away from wanting to learn anything about Jesus.

            Our words have power. As Christians, we are told to use them wisely. Even more so if you are a Minister of the Gospel.

            I have had enough about off-coloured jokes about Women and children and anything that could be related to abuse and violence towards them. He could have chosen any other words. It’s troubling to me to include this remark.

            I was not planning on even mentioning what I heard…I didn’t even know it was Matt Chandler when I tuned in. Yet after I learned it was him, in light of his past efforts to persuade a Wife to return to a Husband with a horrific Sexual Child Abuse Material viewing sin, the Bare Marriage Podcast subject yesterday and finally Sheila’s question about FOTF last evening – I felt compelled to share what I had heard. I wondered if I was the only one who felt that “joke” was in extremely poor taste.

            So, Sheila has not gone out of her way – it was I who brought it to her attention.

            “If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:26 & 27

            Do not Christian Leaders have an obligation to come up higher and choose their words carefully? As they do not know who is listening… non-Christians happen upon Christian radio programs too. That statement could have turned a person with deep childhood trauma away from Christ.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Exactly, Linda. And thank you for letting me know about that show! Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend my life listening to people/ministries I disagree with. In fact, I pretty much never do. I only learn of this stuff when someone tells me–like Linda did last night.

            And I found it so interesting that he said this the same day that we talked about spanking on the podcast!

          • Linda

            I also could not believe the “coincidence” with the FOTF show and your podcast episode, let alone the report that I read on Wednesday of Matt Chandler speaking at that conference with Mark Driscoll (barf – yes, I realize that is immature – but his sick comments make me feel that way), with the added coincidence of your question last evening… like I said, I was absolutely compelled to mention it. To me, that was a “God-thing” – bringing about circumstances to shed more light on dark things that remain under the surface.

            I know you don’t go looking for this stuff…it keeps landing in front of you…hmmm perhaps it’s due to your important calling and work…. Thank you, for continuing to advocate for those who do not have a voice!

          • Laura


            I heard about Matt and Driscoll speaking at a recent men’s conference. Supposedly this conference was at a giant megachurch where they had a giant drag racing event with fireworks. Seriously? Is this a new tactic to win men over to God?

          • exwifeofasexaddict

            Yeah, MAKE those kiddos love Jesus, by whipping them til they listen. Be a safe place!

          • CMT

            “Wow, drastic leap of logic.”

            Not really. I can see why Sheila’s comparison to racist or misogynist violence would seem extreme to you. Most people who spank their kids aren’t that brutal about it. But, some are, and some influential “Christian” teachers and movements present abuse level violence against children as godly. So, given the reach of someone like Matt Chandler, it is virtually certain that there will be many perpetrators and victims of child abuse in his audience. Neither group needs to hear jokes about hitting kids. Pastors and speakers need to stop talking as though only people just like them will be listening to what they say and taking it to heart.

          • Laurie Wood

            Hi Jim,
            As a child, I was whipped so I don’t find it a “joke” in the least. I was whipped with wooden spoons, a wooden paddle, a hairbrush, a ruler, and a wooden yardstick, always on my bare bottom – *repeatedly* for a LONG time. To give me RED and lasting bruises. And I was always told I was “lucky” my mother wasn’t using her HAND because then it would be even worse for me.
            So, any father who jokingly “in passing” says the word “whipping” is used to saying it in conversation and it’s part of his normal every day life. My mother spoke like that all the time.
            It’s called CHILD ABUSE. It’s illegal. My mother should’ve been put in jail for the things she did to the four of us, but CAS saw a “nice church-going family with an employed middle class father” – who drank, btw and never saved us from her.
            I watched the whole video and those guys sitting around the table having a good laugh at the idea of whipping their kids into submission for not sitting still and listening to their very likely boring family “devotions” made me sick.
            Whatever “good” points they had went out the window for me as soon as I heard that word.
            Try to educate yourself on what’s legal and what isn’t – and whipping/spanking your kids is illegal no matter what the Bible says.

          • Amy

            By way of example, last Sunday my pastor made a joke during the sermon about his wife being his hired household servant. It was meant to be a joke, however it was anything but funny. Men like my abusive ex-husband will take that joke and use it to justify their destructive behavior choices.

            What makes satire funny is the embedded element of truth. Same with jokes like this. The people who find them funny are the ones who deep down don’t see hitting children as all that bad or who do see their wife as somewhat of a hired servant.

            When someone tells you who they are, you should believe them.

          • Codec

            I am not sure I agree.

            Look at Cartman or Archie Bunker. The whole joke is not to be them like 80% of the jokes come down to these guys are jerks.

          • Jo R

            I think that’s rather the point.

            When a jerk propounds his jerkness as orthodox Christian teaching, no one and especially not a mere inferior-by-nature woman, is allowed to question it.

            Because he is, after all, a good-willed Christian man who must clearly be given the benefit of the doubt, and even if he is in partial or total error, his good intentions must be considered as paramount over any inadvertent harm that may arise from his slipshod pronouncements.

          • Codec

            Are not we questioning it right now? Now yeah good intentions don’t mean that you will get a good outcome. I get that. That is one of the big points of the story of Prometheus. People say and do things all the time that are not thought through. I know I do. I realize it is a problem.

            Part of why I respect Shiela is because she is not tearing people down. She is not saying ” Men suck, thats why your marriage sucks, I got the answers”. No, what she is saying is ” You are trying to use gas for an electric stove, lets try to figure this out and get rid of what is hurting you.”

          • Jo R

            Some people are questioning Sheila’s condemnation of the “joke” at the expense of any good ideas that may exist in the rest of the video.

            The problem is that the “joke” empowers further the powerful (an adult male who is a father) at the expense and further weakening of the weak and vulnerable (children who are being whipped).

          • Codec

            I want to ask what you think of the points I have made.

            I think we can both agree that the church and those in it have and continue to live up to what we should be. I have learned a lot reading this blog.

          • Jo R

            And part of living up to it is to be willing to be sharpened (that is, taught) by others. What we simply cannot do is grant exceptions or just silently overlook things because someone gets most stuff right, especially if that person has taken on a teaching role.

            When you know better, you do better. But making jokes out of something you perhaps haven’t personally experienced but that has actually been hurtful for many other people shows a lack of consideration and empathy, and such a person needs that blind spot pointed out by either victims or those who do know better.

          • Codec

            I appreciate ypur sincerity.

            As I have said before I have been the bully and the bullied.

            I am trying to understand my own story. It is hard. Confronting shame is hard.

            I find humor strange myself sometimes. Humor can sometimes be a mask for cruelty as The Screwtape Letters points out. I also understand that humor can be therapeutic. God himself used humorous stories wordplay irony hyperbole sarcasm and at Mt Carmel with Elijah dropped a diss track.

            I understand as Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and a place. Admittedly I have a hard time knowing when the time and place is a lot of the time.

            I do not know what you or Jim, or Phil, or Laura, or CMT have been through. I have been trying to figuring out what I have been through.

            I wonder sometimes what kind of jokes Jesus would tell. I bet he cpuld give Mel Brooks a run for his money.

          • Laura

            The pastor’s joke about his wife being a household servant is almost similar to when my pastor gave a sermon about submission in marriage, then he said, “But, really, it’s my wife who is the boss.” I think he was trying to save face because he knows that doctrine is not popular. Then he turns to his wife and says, “That’s right honey, you are the boss.” Thankfully, he hardly ever gives that type of sermon and I would not be surprised if she told him in private to stop doing that.

          • Faith

            As a biracial American woman I feel like you’re way off base comparing a spanking on the bottom to lynching someone because they are black! That is really extreme. I generally agree with you but this I can’t. My parents loved me and my brothers and we got a few spankings on the bottom as children. You’re basically comparing a lot of loving parents to rapists and lynchers. Even my black grandmother , who is the sweetest person and did spank her kids. That’s really offensive as my parents raised me to have a love for Jesus and are also loving grandparents !
            You’ve just insulted a whole group of fellow Christians who are nothing of the sort. I’m sorry but this really comment grieves me.

        • Meredith

          And here is Jim, proving the fact of male privilege, demonstrating that at some level he does not believe that little children are as fully human and valuable and worthy of dignity and respect as he is. If the “joke” had been about cutting off a man’s testicles or penis, would he still be finding it funny? It is so easy for the most privileged group of people in the world– white men– to laugh at “jokes” that demean and dehumanize other groups of people which they (consciously or subconsciously) believe are beneath them.

          • Jim

            Male privilege?

            Thank you for showing yet again that this is a feminist space where any man that does not agree 100% with the point of view is attacked for the sin of disagreeing and being a man.

            I have said it once and I will say it again, this is appears to be an echo chamber where there is very little room for debate or thoughtful discussion.

            The evidence is that I am often attacked for pointing out the flaws of logic and apparent bias.

            This is no different then what you accuse Focus of being.

            I’m out.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Jim, you always turn this into a feminist thing as soon as people point out that your logic is flawed and wrong.

            That’s really predictable. You said something awful, Jim. Maybe you should just own it?

          • CMT

            Ok I don’t agree w Jim here but I didn’t see anything awful that he himself said. He may have a blind spot as to why other people find certain jokes offensive, but that isn’t the same as saying awful things yourself.

          • Phil

            Jim – I believe we have had some exchanges. I was wondering when this was going to happen. So here today now You have showed us why you have been coming around. To fight. Thats what I felt before in watching your comments and our exchange(s) Turns out it was true. The better choice is to have objective conversations and maybe even if you disagree you can be mature and just agree to disagree. But instead, you chose to take up arms and then run “I’m Out.” Your choice to force your opinion on us and since we dont buy it then run shows the level of your maturity. I will close with this. It is better to understand than it is to be understood.

          • Codec

            Better to understand than be understood?

            The message isnt getting through either way.

          • Jim

            I did not come to fight but, as I said in previous posts, to try and here other perspectives. The main issue here is that my perspective is not respected.

            I have not insulted anyone here but it seems totally fine, if not encouraged, that those that disagree with the majority here are shown in the worst light.

            This is not a healthy environment for me since I am personally attacked for having a difference of opinion.

          • Laura

            This here is exactly why I refuse to listen to anything by FOTF because that organization is all about white male privilege. James Dobson, the founder, is a racist and a misogynist.

        • Michele Massie

          If the majority of FotF listeners believed spanking was wrong, maybe it could have just been a joke. But in the churches and circles I grew up in its funny because people believe spanking is good and biblical. So whipping is a nod to extreme and angry spanking which we all know is wrong. Wink, wink.

          The further I get away from spanking being an option of discipline the less I ‘wish’ I could just spank my child. Now I recoil at the thought. It isn’t funny.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Yes, exactly. And the show has an international reach.

        • EOF

          Of course the joke is inappropriate. Very much so. How is that up for debate? I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said by other commenters. They’ve already said everything I was going to say.

        • Lisa M

          What if my husband jokes about whipping me? Is that funny?

          What if I joke about whipping my mom who is elderly and at the beginnings of cognitive troubles? It can be very frustrating to try and explain to her why she can’t buy an airplane ticket and go on a trip. She thinks she can. Her medical needs are complex and she cannot go without a full-time caregiver. Is it funny if I joke about whipping her?

          Somehow, it’s funny when done to children but it’s not funny when done to the elderly. I don’t find either to be funny. Children are extremely vulnerable people.

          Do you joke about slapping elderly people around? They can be just as frustrating when they start declining mentally.

  3. Laura

    What I find a lot of parents doing is threatening they will give their kids a whipping, but they never act on it. So of course, the kid does not take anything their parents say seriously. If you tell your child you will punish them, follow through on that punishment like a time out or taking away a privilege.

    Spanking is not something to joke about. I didn’t watch this video yet. I don’t know if I can. As for Acts 29 church, that does sound heretical because like Jo R pointed out, “Acts 28 is the last chapter of the Acts.”

  4. A2bbethany

    My experience with family devotions is it feeling fake and nobody is enjoying themselves. But dad and the one sister talk back and forth while everyone else is bored stiff and mad at someone for something.
    That’s one kind….the other? It was a bit more fun… though still boring.
    We each get to pick a song and then we took turns reading through a single chapter. That was it…short(ish) and sweet. No deep theological questions that dad barely understood.

    For my own children….I haven’t decided yet if I’ll try. I don’t believe in faking through things. But at the same time you do some things because you choose to. Whether or not you’re in the mood that day.

    (Also thanks to you, I know that I 75-80%, need a pelvic floor therapist appointment! cause something is not right down there P.P.)

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yay for pelvic floor physiotherapists! I really hope it helps!

      We tried family devotions off and on (mostly we were “off”). It was always awkward. What worked best was just reading a gospel story and have each person saying something that stood out to them. We didn’t have to find a big theological point or talk too much, just say why we noticed soemthing. That was it.

  5. Active Mom

    My kids will laugh all the time (older kids-teenagers) when they see someone doing something awful. Example a girl told her dad to “shut up.” When retelling the story they will laugh and say something along the lines of “mom would beat the heck out of me If I ever said that to her.” I never have but it is their way of communicating in a funny way that I would lose it if they ever did something similar. Would I beat them? No. But life would drastically change for them. That is kind of how I took that joke. In some parts of the country whipping was the word used instead of spanking. I have been in similar situations with other parents. Kids are misbehaving and a mom will say something like “I’m going to throttle him.” Everyone instead of being offended takes it for what it was a sarcastic comment showing her frustration. Should it have come from Focus on the Family. That’s a fair point to debate. But the sarcasm I can understand.

    • Codec

      Sarcasm is funny but it can fly right over peoples heads.

      Ever heard the song Albaquerque by weird Al? It has a bit where a guy sarcastically jokes as he is struggling to lift a couch that he sarcasticly says that someone can cut of their arms and legs with a chainsaw. We know its sarcasm. The guy actually does it. The guy points out he was being sarcastic. It is funny because in real life we know the guy would not actually get chainsawed.

      • CMT

        “ It is funny because in real life we know the guy would not actually get chainsawed.”

        Right. It’s absurd. Weird Al goes over the top, making gags out of things that are completely and obviously preposterous.

        A conservative evangelical pastor joking about hitting kids isn’t like that. Even if he himself does not whip his kids in real life, it’s virtually certain that some of the people listening to him do. It’s not an absurd, over the top, this-would-never-happen-in-real-life scenario.

        • Codec

          I have to admit I do not know what a solution would look like.

          I really do not.

          I understand that abuse and cruelty is awful. I have seen it firsthand. I have been bullied and been the bully. I don’t like seeing people cry.

          At the same time I understand that sarcasm and humor are good things. I remember a story of a psychologist helping a kid recover from getting hit by a bus by telling the kid that he didnt know a lot of folks who could fight a bus and win. It helped the kid move past the idea that he was a hopeless victim to being a capable overcomer of a horrible event.

          I honestly try to learn from folks here. I think it is sad that folks get into squables. I think it is sad that Shiela and Fotf have had bad history. I think it is sad because I would rather see them laugh together than laugh at each other.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, I just want to point out that the best-seller Shepherding a Child’s Heart recommends spanking babies who wiggle on the change table (wiggling is a sign of their sin nature, apparently). And Michael and Debi Pearl, who have written the book To Train Up a Child, very common in homeschooling communities, actually do recommend spanking your kid with a switch (so whipping). And I could go on and on. In the Christian world, whipping your kids is all too often acceptable. I even banned The Transformed Wife and her husband from this page about 8 years ago because they were arguing in the comments that you can spank babies with a switch. I drew the line there.

          That’s the issue–it’s far too common. And remember that focus on the Family is braodcast internationally, in some places where whipping kids may be commonplace.

  6. Codec

    Sheila I have a disagreement with you about comedy.

    People make jokes about serious stuff all of the time often through mockery or exageration.

    Napoleon Bonaparte for instance was a military genius. He was a pioneer in law reform and terrified the british. So what did the British due they called him the boneyman and laughed at the little emperor.

    Ypu have the scene in Oh Brother were art thou where the main characters show everyone how ridiculous the KKK was while simultaneously pointing out how evil they were.

    You have Mel Brooks and Charlie Chaplin making a fool out of Hitler and Nazism.

    Ataru acts like a pervert Lum zaps him.

    I think comedy oftentimes exist as a way to deal with self loathing pain and at times even evil.

    I do not think that people should be cruel. I just find it interesting how much comedy came out during or after hard times in human history.

    I want to know what you think.

    • Sarah

      Yeahhh, I’m with you here. Making jokes or using hyperbole about serious subjects is not only absolutely fine in my book, but the stuff comedy is made of. Some may think it’s too dark; I’m not one of them. If I ever say something my little sister feels embarrassed by (like telling her she’s adorable) she tells me in a joking fashion that she’s going to kill me (she’s 13, I’m in my 20s). We communicate a lot with dry humour though, so she’ll say it in a completely flat tone so as to up the comedic distinction between her tone and her words.

      It’s a fine line though and I agree that the context being Matt Chandler and FOTF adds to the weight of this being a grey area for joking. I think intent has to be taken into account. There’s a great Donald Glover sketch where he jokes about abusive ex-boyfriends (don’t knock it till you’ve seen it!) but the underlying emphasis there is that men don’t understand how seriously women mean it when they say ‘my ex is crazy’. With Matt, I want to assume good intent, that he didn’t mean it literally and it’s along the same line as how my grandma would warn me she’d ‘wash my mouth out with soap’ if I was rude – she never did, and I understood it as hyperbole even as a kid. If he is just making an aside to his current parenting practices though – yikes.

      • Codec

        I agree Sara.

        There is a world of difference between comparing someone to say Nurse Ratched as a joke about feeling like you are dealing with someone controlling or as a joke about how actually you are nothing like the poster child of a soft spoken sociopath and legitimately using that comparison to say that someone is being a controlling vindictive and sophisticated bully who would have people suffer to maintain a sense of order.

      • CMT

        I agree that the speaker’s intent probably was not to excuse child abuse. But is intent the only thing that matters? Doesn’t anyone-but especially a pastor-have the responsibility to consider the impact of their words too? And sarcasm/dark humor, etc are not inherently bad or problematic. They can actually be really healthy, imo. But a person with power joking about harming a person without power, in a context where the behavior is not at all outside the realm of possibility… is that a healthy use of humor?

  7. Ray

    Making jokes about very sensitive topics can be done…but they are usually only received well when the joke is funny only because it is obvious that is not the right way to respond.

    The show The Office is brilliant at this. They say a lot of racist, misogynistic, and other offensive things and is generally well received because the joke is pointing out how ridiculous the racist or misogynistic idea is.

    It’s possible Matt Chandler could make a joke feeling like he needs to whip his kids because the reality of the messiness of life is not meeting his ideal expectations of having a nice family devotion together. But only if he points it back to how crazy that really is and further showing people that it’s comical to even approach the situation like that.

    Not sure if this makes sense but I think the issue is that the audience might not think the idea of whipping your kids because the are being a bit wild and not listening to the devo is way out there and something you obviously shouldn’t do.

    Also, it’s good to point out that he probably has lots of good and helpful advice but shouldn’t have made this comment.

    • Codec

      I think you make a good point.

      I think it is interesting really how the incredible difference in what people have experienced will shape what they do.

      I am honestly trying to understand myself. I heard once that sometimes people laugh because they do not want to cry.

      I find Shielas fixed it for you stuff to be hilarious. Not because I am laughing at her but rather because she really is fixing something. She doesnt have ill will. Its like finding out someone is trying to run their car on water instead of gas of course you laugh because that wont work.

      I have to say that Sheila has been funny. The image of a racoon washing cotton candy was introduced to me by her.

  8. Anon

    Oh boy. We’re becoming soon easily offended these days. I do advise that if you’re offended by that minor comment in that video don’t listen/watch to any Latin or Filipino talk about parenting/their upbringing. “La Chancla” is a necessary item for discipline in their homes. Comedy/humor is cultural that is to say communal. One community or culture can see the humor in something, while another group hears it and is horrified or uneasy. Assuming the higher ground simply because of one’s own view on things like methods of discipline is misguided. A simple mental “i wouldn’t have said it that way but I get his point” is all that was needed not a blog post.

    • Meredith

      So we don’t have to follow Jesus’s rule of loving others and honoring them because our right to be amused trumps their right to feel safe. Gotcha.

      And just because something is cultural doesn’t make it right. Cannibalism is cultural.

      • Codec

        I think you and Anon both have a point.

      • Angharad

        Maybe cultural differences are why some people are ‘how on earth can anyone find this comment ok?’ and others are ‘why is everyone being so oversensitive?’. Because we ‘hear’ it differently depending on our cultural background.

        I heard the comments as being hyperbole – a kind of eye roll at how, the moment you make a disciplined effort to sit down as a family and spend time with God, everything goes pear-shaped and you couldn’t end up feeling less spiritual. Possibly not a wise comment to make when you are being recorded and have no idea how widely your views may be broadcast, but it must be hard when you are having these kinds of ‘informal’ conversations on film to make sure every sentence is the kind that can’t be misunderstood.

  9. Leona

    After reading through this thread I have an observation, our friends at FOTF won’t have a sensitivity to a topic unless someone is courageous enough to point out the problem. The joke unto itself is an old one and honestly I would have laughed at it in context of the presentation (guessing because I didn’t listen to the presentation). But as I was reading through the comments, I’ll bet it was about the 4th time when Sheila asked that same question, “is it ok to joke about whipping children?”, that I had to stop and carefully consider her point. And I agree with her.
    When we become aware is when the change can happen. If FOTF wants to remain relevant and a leader in Christian family topics, I believe it’s to their benefit to approach this with humility and consider if there is a grain of truth.
    Sheila, you’re a bold woman and I truly appreciate the “silent places” you speak into!!


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