LOS ANGELES, CA – Several parents of Asian descent at local churches were surveyed and interviewed in the Los Angeles area concerning the parenting of one of the highest profile parents that they know, God the Father. Surveys showed that 64% of them strongly disapproved, moderately disapproved, or slightly disapproved of the Father’s parenting skills and of how Jesus his Son turned out. An additional 13% did not necessarily disapprove but chose the option of “Kind condescension.”
“Look, Jesus was a nice guy, but his Father obviously never pushed him in school and to get good grades,” said Dae Jung Cho, ruling elder of Korean Presbyterian Church of Koreanness. “Now look at his Son, Jesus. He did not become a lawyer or a doctor. He didn’t even become an engineer or an accountant. He became a carpenter, a carpenter, like his step-dad… and that’s not even mentioning how shady that is.”
Jang Mi Lee, head deaconness of the same church and organizer of the annual Korean culture celebration that takes place every Easter, concurs. “We always hear the story of Jesus at the temple when he was 12 years old, displaying his knowledge of the Bible. I mean, it’s good to learn some of the Bible,” Lee hastily added, “but that’s what Awana and youth groups are for. Why else are my tithes paying the salaries of the children’s minister and youth pastor? The Bible isn’t going to get you into Harvard and then into medical school. My kid can still recite some of the memory verses he learned, but he also knows the definitions of 1500 SAT words. Could Jesus do that?”
In fact, Lee argues, the story of Jesus at the temple and his subsequent slide into poverty as a carpenter shows that he spent way too much time at church activities and not enough time studying math. “Somewhere in the Bible it says that there is a time for everything: A time for fun church activities but also a time, a lot of times, for studying.” When informed that her reference was from Ecclesiastes and that it didn’t quite say that, Lee shot back that she was to be respected as an older deaconness.
Gregory Chang, Sunday School coordinator of Chinese Baptist Fellowship Church, echoed these sentiments. “Not only did Jesus become a carpenter because he didn’t go to college, he didn’t even stay a carpenter. He evidently stopped working to go around preaching, and then he would complain that he didn’t have a place to rest his head. Look, I like my pastor, but let’s be real here: If these people were capable of doing something else, they would have.”
Charity Wong, the choir leader of CBFC, also observed that Jesus remained unmarried throughout his life and then eventually got arrested. “I’m not trying to gossip, but there’s a reason why Jesus stayed single and then got arrested by the authorities, shaming his family. If God the Father was doing his job as a parent, Jesus would have been financially stable enough to marry and would have avoided that bad crowd of much younger ‘disciples’ who eventually got him into trouble.”
Criticisms of the Father also turned into declarations of both disapproval and sympathy for Mary, the mother of Jesus. “I feel so bad for Mary,” Lee said with a hint of a smile. “My oldest child, who went to Stanford and became a lawyer by the way, bought me this new Gucci bag for my birthday. Mary apparently never had one. To make things worse, Jesus knew he couldn’t take care of her like this and told his friend John to do it. Who does that?”
“Paul’s dad was a good father,” Chang claims. “Paul was put through a lot of education and could clearly take care of himself. It’s not his dad’s fault that Paul abandoned all of that to be a preacher. At least he tried. God the Father could learn a thing or two from him.”
When asked about the spiritual instruction of their children, many parents affirmed its importance as long as they were not troubled with it. “That’s the church’s job and the pastors’ jobs,” Benjamin Park of Seoul Methodist Church argued. “My job as a father is to make sure my kids go to the best school and get the best careers.” He then mumbled, almost inaudibly, “Better schools than the Cho kids, at least.”
What if God calls their child into ministry? “What?!” Park shouted in anger. “My son is going to be a lawyer. Why would I trust the Father with my child’s future when Jesus turned out so badly?” When asked what he would do if his daughter tried to marry a missionary, Park nearly turned violent.
Anita Ho of First Chinese Church of LA was less critical, but nonetheless stated that God the Father’s parenting philosophy was not for her family. “I’m glad there are some people who do that, especially if they can’t afford to get their kids better opportunities. We need people in ministry who do nice things and take care of my kids on Sunday morning. But for me and my house, we are called to make money. I mean, we can tithe 2% to them, right?”