Just looking at this blog and thinking…
That I haven’t had any real profound thoughts in a long while. Not that what follows is in any way close to profound.
Although tonight we had fun discussing Mary and some of the differences between Catholic and Protestant beliefs about her. And I brought along my great big heavy book of excerpts from Karl Rahner’s writings. The bit about the immaculate conception was a bit obscure in its discussion of this but I could understand the part where he states something to the effect that Mary was unique in that from the beginning God willed her to be perfectly obedient so that his plans for our salvation would take place.
But there are times when these deep theological matters really don’t seem to matter. I doubt we understand the half of it. How can we. We look at things after the fact and try to make sense of things that are too big for us to ever understand. And so we set up barriers to communication between different branches of the church and between people.
I wonder who pleases God more – theologians developing arguments or some poor soul out there handing out a blanket to some unknown street person who knows no theology other than love.
We began reading the book The Real Mary by Scott McKnight. I think it will be a good book to read and discuss as a group of women. Sometimes our discussion wanders a ways from the original topic so we touched on everything from the humanity of Jesus to the Trinity. It was good to look back at the passages in Luke and Matthew and think about what the real Mary has to tell us about faith and trust. We have lots to learn from her and our challenges are not so big as hers must have been.
My challenge is to act as something of a leader. Sometimes I feel as if we go on wild goose chases. However, that must be a sign that we are free enough to ask questions – another topic we touched on – that God gave us minds that ask questions so that we should not be afraid to explore. Questions keep us from being sucked into taking another’s word as truth without understanding.
Now I am tired and tomorrow begins another busy week.
Good night all.
Jamie tells a couple of stories over at his site. They are reflections of the life he and his wife have chosen to live. Stories that come out of their experiences as they share the streets and neighborhood with the people in north Winnipeg.
Read them. They may challenge you to rethink some things about your own life and what God wants from you.
May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us.
May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.
May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.
Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him.
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Isn’t it great how the internet latches on to words in our e-mail to suggest sites we might want to visit? You too could be linked to someplace suitable for your old age just by mentioning it in an e-mail.
It is scary that someone out there might need to link up with another active senior by an internet site. Finding friends who like to hike – or whatever sounds a little like an on-line dating service.
And then all the health tips – or promises of some magical potion to postpone the inevitable aging process. Maybe one would need that if they are out there looking for a job in our ageist culture.
Makes me think of my 80ish patient who came in lamenting that she was being forced to retire at last.
I finished the book.
You know, I think this whole task of caring for children never ends. I can see that when I began having children, my intentions were the best. I would raise them to know God. They were a gift and I would entrust them to God.
So much living gets in the way of our true intentions sometimes. We did not become the idyllic Christian family that I envisioned – all my children growing up deeply devoted to God, serving him, all eventually married to good Christians and in their turn raising up more Christian children.
Instead, I have raised a hodgepodge of humans. Weak, sinning humans. Some know and follow God and some really do not care. Yet.
The author of In The Midst of Chaos talks about the “religious familism” that idealizes the mother who stays at home devoted to her children at the expense of her own life. A lot of guilt weighs down on those of us who have chosen another path. The author deals with this too. She speaks of a new type of family where mutuality in parenting is practiced. Imagine – giving the role of parent enough credibility that it is work worthy of sharing as equally as possible, juggling work roles outside the home along with caring for our children. Hard but worth it.
The author covers topics in the last few chapters on family life, choices families make about where they will live, their lifestyle that makes the home a mission field and a place for reaching out to others. She talks about the value of play, of playing together as a family and the importance of instilling in children a love of reading. Finally she discusses the need to let children go and the small griefs one lives through along the whole parenting journey.
I think that a similar book could be written for grandparents. I guess that I can learn from this book and extrapolate meaning from it that I can apply to this final stage of parenting. Choices also have to be made about how one will grandparent as well. And that is the place I am in now. Making choices, trying to find more time to do this grandparenting thing well; passing on some of the things I value to the little ones that are mine.
More from In The Midst Of Chaos.
In chapter four titled, Taking Kids Seriously, the author talks of how children are not taken seriously as being persons with a spiritual and philosophical capacity. We do not pay them much heed. Children do not have much to contribute any longer to the economic well being of the family. They began to be viewed as spiritually and morally innocent so were sentimentalized. Children born to families that are economically well off are prized possessions and given an abundance of material possessions with little thought to the well being of children in less fortunate circumstances. In spite of the fact that children are prized, it seems to be preferred that they are kept in their own circles, farther away from the adult realm of reality, losing contact with the wider group of non-family adults.
Today, the author says that the sentimental view of children is changing to one of the “knowing child” – to a view where the child must be taken seriously. She says:
What is required now is not just a shift in our understanding of children. Rather, we must consider how our new regard for their complexity is expressed as we practice our faith within the daily rounds of family life. Taking children seriously entails not just what we believe or how we think about children; it also involves new ways of including them in the shared life of faith. Children are active agents and participants in the practices of faith, even if they bring their own perspectives, capacities, and insights. Now we must figure out what this means for our lives together. p.65
Recognizing children as knowing spiritual and moral beings has consequence for how we treat and interact with children economically, psychologically and socially. Chidren need greater participation in the family economy and welfare, but we have only begun to scratch the surface of what engaging children more actively in this realm might entail. p74
If adults diminish children as active participants in religious practice, we both reduce the vitality of our own life of faith and overlook the human complexity children already possess. If we want to experience the daily care of children as a spiritual practice, then we must take kids and their faith seriously. p76