Posted by: minnow | August 26, 2008

Asking Questions and My Religious Legacy

If I read any blog on a daily basis (or as often as she writes) I read Kathy Escobar’s The Carnival in My Head. Check it out! Her posts are detailed and thought provoking. They often inspire me to delve into a topic more deeply myself. Such is the case with this post. Recently Escobar examined the question: How are children impacted when parents veer off road from the traditional (evangelical) super highway? She did not put it that way exactly–hers was a much more personal pondering–but in a generic nutshell that was the question. I have been chewing on this subject for over a week now.

Unlike Kathy, my whole family has not taken the “off road trip” along with me. In fact, my husband still heads up the men’s ministry in our Building-Based Church, my eldest son just finished a two year school of ministry program through the Church, and my youngest son and oldest daughter are working their way onto the youth group’s worship team. My middle son is the only other person in our family who has expressed any interest in an “off road trip” but mostly he is adding to his adventure, not leaving the weekly Sunday jaunts behind. So what does this all mean?

Well two weeks ago, at the request of my husband (kicking and screaming in my head the whole time), I returned to Egypt (as Kathy has labeled the traditional Church experience). Not having been in any kind of leadership role (in this fellowship anyway) I have not experienced the hurt at the same level that Ms Escobar has experienced it. I have been a slave to some ideas but not to the often fruitless and abusive work load many in leadership live with daily. Instead, I mostly sat in my seat wondering where God was in all hoopla, and who we were helping, and how we thought we were doing it, and what message we were communicating to the outside world, and if we really are as blind as we seem to be, and… 

The things is, I was not giving my children much in the way of stability or foundation by my ugly attitude.  I was critical and sometimes even petty.  I played the holier than thou game and it was not healthy.  It also was not Jesus.  I needed to leave.  I needed to examine my heart and find out why I was thinking/feeling the way I was.  Some of what I found was righteous anger but a whole lot more of it was pride and self-justification.  I do not like those qualities in myself and they do not do anyone in my life any good.  So I took a break.  I got out of Dodge and I started to ask myself: What was important to me?  Who is God in my life?  Who should He be?  How do I let Him in?  With what do I trust Him?  And, when do I rely on my own abilities?  What witness do I want to be giving my children?  My friends?  My unChurched connections?  I am asking a whole bunch of other questions as well but these are the driving ones for right now.

The legacies our lives leave to our children can be curses or blessing.  They can be law or freedom.  They can be sickness or health.   We can live forgiven, grace-filled lives in front of them (and the rest of the world for that matter) because we are forgiven, Grace receiving people or we can live tortured, condemned, and empty lives hidden to the best of our abilities because we are afraid God really is reflected in the ugliness of His creation instead of its beauty.  Where we are standing when our children witness ourlives may not matter nearly as much as the condition of our hearts as we stand before them.  I took a break from Building-Based Christianity but two weeks ago I went back to the building.  God talked to me inside the walls–probably just to prove to me that it could happen.  I’ll talk a little more about that in another post.

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Responses

  1. hey minnow! 🙂 I think of you often and I have been following all your entries on bloglines – so even if I don’t comment, I’m here! 🙂

    I hope you are doing great. I love that you are humble enough to be able to assess your own attitudes and how they might be influencing your children. You clearly want to be like Jesus and I have no doubt because you are seeking God out so much – He will be there and I’m sure He is more than ready to reveal Himself to you if you’re ready.

    Love,

  2. minnow, i really appreciate your thoughts here and your integrity in really searching your heart & asking some really hard and i believe important questions related to your faith & listening to God as you walk into uncharted territory especially when your family is in a different place. i really respect your journey & love that your heart is open & you are walking through some doors with a new perspective. i think our children value integrity & honesty over almost anything else & that sends an important message that permeates more than we think. thanks for sharing. peace, kathy


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