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Monday, September 22, 2008

Ted Tripp, the Paradox, and How to Wield the Power of Christ Against Your Children

posted by on September 22 at 13:28 PM

Ted Tripp—pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Hazleton, PA, and an outspoken advocate of corporal punishment—spoke before a congregation of new parents and young couples at Mars Hill Church in Ballard on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Tripp came to Mars Hill to deliver an essential lesson in Christian living: How to put the fear of God into your children.

Tripp, who’s been in the news lately because of the controversy surrounding his advocacy of corporal punishment, stood next to a drum set and amps on MH’s stage, which sometimes doubles as a live music venue called the Paradox. Tripp’s image was projected on four giant screens as he condemned modern society for being “obsessed with equality” and refusing to accept the authority of God.

Tripp stuck to dopey jokes about how children try to trick you and told the couples gathered at the Paradox and those watching the live feed at MH’s other campuses how to “win the battle for your boys’ souls.” Apparently female children are beyond saving.

Tripp’s argument for spanking was abstract: because God commanded that ancient Hebrews use “the rod,” that’s the best way to get your children to submit. “I would never have spanked my children if it wasn’t something I felt God was calling me to do,” he said. His directions, in contrast, were much more specific: “remove [the child’s] drawers,” because “we don’t want the spanking to be lost in the fabric of the pants.” Then, “take him on your lap and remind him how much you love him.” Smack him, and make sure you use a paddle that “spreads the shock over the wide area.”

The young couples nodded and eagerly took notes on how to get their children to “joyfully accept their authority”. They were all about the same age as me—college age or a little older. No one in the room looked like they were too old to be one of Tripp’s own children.

There was no sign Saturday morning of the protesters who had staked out the church the night before. During the coffee break, I spoke to a young woman about my age, who said that she’d read Tripp’s book and was glad to be able to hear him in person. Outside in the lobby, Mars Hill members were snapping up copies of Tripp’s book like they were communion wafers dipped in chocolate.

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I think these people misunderstand "turn the other cheek."

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 22, 2008 1:38 PM

It's all so creepy...

Posted by Darcy | September 22, 2008 1:42 PM

And people wonder why we don't like their god. He's an abusive ass.

Even if the Christian god turned out to be real, I think I would still be an atheist.

Posted by Giffy | September 22, 2008 1:44 PM

Seems to me that the Mars Hill people, despite their obvious shortcoming, are more in tune with what's actually in the Bible than most Christians. Perhaps next week the sermon will cover slavery, which the Bible strongly advocates in both the OT and NT.

Posted by PJ | September 22, 2008 1:48 PM

I'm never complaining about the disobedient kids I see in public ever again. Better that than this. Gross.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 22, 2008 1:49 PM


Posted by Westside forever | September 22, 2008 1:49 PM

These people are fire-breathing Protestants who don't even have the decency to be Lutherans or Episcopalians. Communion wafers - even chocolate-covered ones - are an affront to God.

Posted by TVDinner | September 22, 2008 1:51 PM

"We don’t want the spanking to be lost in the fabric of the pants..."

Sounds like something from my column.

"Where is that spanking? I had it a minute ago. Oh, damn—lost it in the fabric of my pants."


Posted by Dan Savage | September 22, 2008 1:52 PM

@4 That's the thing. There is nothing this guys says that is not backed up by the bible. Of course most Christians(thankfully) don't really give a fuck about the bible, but still.

Its why I think liberal new agey Christians are the silliest. They claim to follow a religion they actually don't. Instead they have just invented and imaginary all loving friend and hammed it into an established religion.

Their Jesus bares little resemblance to the asshole jesus of the bible.

Posted by Giffy | September 22, 2008 1:53 PM

Can't spell Christianity without insanity.

Posted by T | September 22, 2008 2:15 PM

I was raised conservative Christian and I was spanked. It definitely worked, for 18 years I had the fear of my parents (disguised as the fear of God) in my soul. But now I'm a pot-smokin, butt-fuckin, drunk-dancin, card-carryin liberal homo. Whoops!

@9 Jesus is portrayed as an awesome dude in the Bible. The assholes are God of the OT and Paul of the NT.

Posted by Nixor | September 22, 2008 2:18 PM

This is a millenia-old question, but how do people, young people, in this day and age, fall for this shit?

Posted by laterite | September 22, 2008 2:22 PM

This is how a group of young conservatives create the next generation of young liberals.

Posted by inkweary | September 22, 2008 2:49 PM

Those kids are my kids' future competition. Please continue destroying them, religious nutjobs.

Posted by pox | September 22, 2008 3:38 PM

sometimes little boys can use a smack on the butt to focus their ears & remind them that they're not in charge.

but ritualizing it is bizarre.

Posted by max solomon | September 22, 2008 3:39 PM

Interesting that the crowd was so young. I wonder if this whole thing is cyclical. People in their early to mid-twenties were not spanked when they were younger because it was not as acceptable in the 80s to do so. So, now, here’s this big revolutionary new idea… Spanking!! How could it go wrong?!

Posted by Julie in Chicago | September 22, 2008 3:57 PM

Uhmmmm ""remind him how much you love him"" what? And are the girls lost to parents? Or are they pure and only the boys need to be so harshly corrected. Or does Pastor Tripp just like spanking the boys? -_-

Posted by anthony | September 22, 2008 4:17 PM

Mars Hill is such an effing cult. As for the bare-hand-on-bare-butt discipline, nothing like creating tomorrow's clients of dominatrices.

Posted by Madashell | September 22, 2008 4:24 PM

@11, re OT and NT: that's my reading, too. Ever wonder how come modern-day American Jews are more likely to be Democrats, and modern-day American Christians re more likely to be Republicans? I mean, the Old Testament God is a classic Republican type, whereas the Jesus of the four gospels is a text-book liberal Democrat. Someone got their sacred-text wires crossed.

Posted by Eric in Boulder | September 22, 2008 4:39 PM

Note that this guy advocates spanking children as old as 8 months old, and makes a big point of teaching children to be "submissive to their parents".

Folks, encourage your children to think about a career as a therapist, because it sounds like they'll have plenty of patients.

Posted by Missy Miss | September 22, 2008 5:40 PM

Okay, I don't think giving your kid a swat on the a$$ is child abuse if he/she throws itself on the floor and starts shreiking for some $hit in the grocery store (or similar), but this f**ked up perverted. This guy is totally getting off on this.

Posted by yucca flower | September 22, 2008 6:12 PM

what is he so afraid of?
it's just one big fucking power trip

I could just puke thinking about all the parents that are going to listen to this fear based, power starved anti-christ

Posted by 4f...sake | September 22, 2008 6:42 PM

I must admit that Mother and Father Vel-DuRay were never into corporal punishment. Mother's frequent threat of the violence of the Craftsman yardstick, or the dire consequences of waiting until "Your father gets home!" were usually enough to strike fear into the heart of a young Catalina.

In reality, Mom's most drastic punishment was for me to sit quietly in the kitchen for five minutes by the clock on the wall oven.

Dad once did attempt a pseudo-spanking on my bare thigh (it was in the days of young boys being in short panted suits) but it was in the back of church, and the echo of the spank reverberated throughout the whole place, and caused quite a stir. Sensing an opportunity, I had hysterics. That was the end of that.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | September 22, 2008 7:16 PM

@11 Have you read the gospels in their entirety. Cuz in the ones I have read Jesus is constantly threatening people with hell and even whole cities with destruction. That, in my book, is assholish.

Posted by Giffy | September 22, 2008 8:54 PM

Thank you for covering this.

The church hates public exposure of the things they prefer to teach in the dark to their circle of young, zealous followers.

Those people have already started whipping their toddlers and babies. Pretty soon Leary street will be full of them heading to their cars with screaming babies and toddlers so they can discipline in "private". Makes the stomach churn, doesn't it?

Posted by Nicola | September 22, 2008 9:20 PM

Betty: "Do you think you'd be the man you are today if your father didn't hit you?"

Don: "My father beat the hell out of me. All it did was make me fantasize about the day I could murder him."

- Mad Men

Posted by Cheshire | September 23, 2008 11:44 AM

Just remember, when you're hitting your kids: they'll be the ones choosing your nursing home.

Posted by Missy Miss | September 23, 2008 1:02 PM

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