Amy Chua, the gospel, and self-esteem
What do Amy Chua and the gospel have in common? Neither one panders to the idol of self-esteem. Neither the gospel nor Chua defines our worth intrinsically. The self-esteem movement says we can look in the mirror and declare by fiat that we are worthy. It sounds good but it is really a Christian heresy. According to Chua, worth comes from individual accomplishment and excellence. In the gospel, worth is defined by the Christ's death and resurrection. It is an external, historical event that has past, present, and future implications. We define our worth according to this act and we are continually defining ourselves in relationship to Him. This means our worth is not intrinsic. Its not something inherent in our nature, its not something we're necessarily born with or entitled to. Our worth is a gift to us, external to ourselves, and having nothing to do with any accomplishment. Some people say faith is a type of accomplishment or work. I disagree. Faith indicates the direction of your heart. Its not any thing you can really boast about. Its not anything you can put on your resume. Its not even that visible - not immediately at least. There may be little gospel in the teaching of Tiger Mom, but Chua (and Chinese culture) get this right - our worth is not defined internally on our own. It can only be defined according to an objective accomplishment. The question is who is doing the accomplishing?