Lead a Child in the Way She Should Go... Part 1 of 2

Many of you, I am sure, have heard the verse, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6). I heard it as a child but it has only been as an adult when I have really understood it. As you know if you regularly read my blog, I have had difficulty attending church as I knew it with all the praise singing, the sermons, and the spoken prayers. And, I am sure, I still have some of those same issues. But, I have now surprised myself by turning back in that direction, needing to walk down that path and explore it with new eyes and a more developed voice.

This returning need has been brought about by not only the natural course of my journey, but by several experiences I have lately had. It seems our general culture has come to stand behind a phrase: "spiritual but not religious". They want something bigger than themselves but they don't want the discipline of religion or the box they feel religion will put them into. Or, maybe they want God without having to deal with God's children. They want their individualistic beliefs without having to work those beliefs out in community. Basically, they want it their way, freedom of choice. Isn't that what our culture is all about? Your way, all the time? No real commitment, no rules, a spirituality you can design and no one will tell you that you are wrong. Why? Because we have taken right and wrong and made much of it grey. Yes, we each have the light Quakers keep talking about but we also have the capacity to do evil too. I think we have taken what is in the Bible, cut out all that stuff about sinning and doing wrong, and only have kept that feel good, God is love, readings. We have forgotten our conviction.

Maybe it was a necessary part of my journey that I needed to let go of the idea of right and wrong and just explore for a while but I have come back to black and white knowing that even while the world is full of color, there are still morals, there are still right and wrong ways to behave and we have become so caught up in how we look, we have forgotten to pay attention to who we are. After all, it is not what goes into a person that makes them unclean, but what comes out. We have become so caught up in not offending someone, we have forgotten to lovingly call ourselves and each other back when we are doing something that God specifically told us not to. How can we be so afraid of what others think and ignore God?

For several years now, I have not read the Bible on a regular basis outside of seminary as I had been taught to do as a child. Lately though, I find I have really needed to pull it off the shelf, open it up, and take in what it says on those pages. At a time in my life when so much feels like shifting sand, I have needed the grounding, the truth, the Bible holds. I have needed to hear God's voice in its pages filled with directions, guidance, and love. We wonder what God wants us to do so many times and it's there, waiting to be read: don't be rude, seek understanding, watch what you say, love the Lord your God. While there are many questions yet unanswered in my life, I know that if I listen for God's voice and ground myself in his written word as I was taught, then at least I know I have sure footing as I seek what is to come.

365-09 #208

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Walking the Sea: Lead a Child in the Way She Should Go... Part 1 of 2

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lead a Child in the Way She Should Go... Part 1 of 2

Many of you, I am sure, have heard the verse, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6). I heard it as a child but it has only been as an adult when I have really understood it. As you know if you regularly read my blog, I have had difficulty attending church as I knew it with all the praise singing, the sermons, and the spoken prayers. And, I am sure, I still have some of those same issues. But, I have now surprised myself by turning back in that direction, needing to walk down that path and explore it with new eyes and a more developed voice.

This returning need has been brought about by not only the natural course of my journey, but by several experiences I have lately had. It seems our general culture has come to stand behind a phrase: "spiritual but not religious". They want something bigger than themselves but they don't want the discipline of religion or the box they feel religion will put them into. Or, maybe they want God without having to deal with God's children. They want their individualistic beliefs without having to work those beliefs out in community. Basically, they want it their way, freedom of choice. Isn't that what our culture is all about? Your way, all the time? No real commitment, no rules, a spirituality you can design and no one will tell you that you are wrong. Why? Because we have taken right and wrong and made much of it grey. Yes, we each have the light Quakers keep talking about but we also have the capacity to do evil too. I think we have taken what is in the Bible, cut out all that stuff about sinning and doing wrong, and only have kept that feel good, God is love, readings. We have forgotten our conviction.

Maybe it was a necessary part of my journey that I needed to let go of the idea of right and wrong and just explore for a while but I have come back to black and white knowing that even while the world is full of color, there are still morals, there are still right and wrong ways to behave and we have become so caught up in how we look, we have forgotten to pay attention to who we are. After all, it is not what goes into a person that makes them unclean, but what comes out. We have become so caught up in not offending someone, we have forgotten to lovingly call ourselves and each other back when we are doing something that God specifically told us not to. How can we be so afraid of what others think and ignore God?

For several years now, I have not read the Bible on a regular basis outside of seminary as I had been taught to do as a child. Lately though, I find I have really needed to pull it off the shelf, open it up, and take in what it says on those pages. At a time in my life when so much feels like shifting sand, I have needed the grounding, the truth, the Bible holds. I have needed to hear God's voice in its pages filled with directions, guidance, and love. We wonder what God wants us to do so many times and it's there, waiting to be read: don't be rude, seek understanding, watch what you say, love the Lord your God. While there are many questions yet unanswered in my life, I know that if I listen for God's voice and ground myself in his written word as I was taught, then at least I know I have sure footing as I seek what is to come.

365-09 #208

Labels: , ,

4 Comments:

At July 30, 2009 at 10:21 AM , Blogger Janelle said...

I have mixed feelings about some of these ideas. I think I am so turned off by legalism and judgemental people that I'm not quite ready to be back in that community yet. I love that part about want to have God without having to deal with his children. :)

I, too, have been drawn back to reading the Bible more lately, though I haven't really done it yet. I've also been discovering a lot of cool Quaker quotes about listening to the Spirit within, but I know that has as many potential pitfalls and abuses as misusing scripture. Either way we must learn to really hear God's voice.

 
At July 30, 2009 at 10:47 AM , Blogger Sarah Katreen Hoggatt said...

I have had similar mixed feelings about religiousity and legalism. Addressing these concerns will be included in part 2 to be posted today. Thanks for commenting Janelle, I really do appreciate hearing your thoughts!

 
At November 19, 2009 at 8:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the 1st time i came to this blog, and i have to say i connected to every part of it. I'm at the cross road right now trying to stay on the right track, and i always end up turning in the wrong direction. This is great i will be reading it more often. Thank you so much, i needed that

 
At November 22, 2009 at 8:29 PM , Blogger Sarah Katreen Hoggatt said...

Thank you SO MUCH for your comment. I really needed to hear what you had to say. Sometimes I feel like I'm sending my thoughts into a great void. A voice calling back telling me my voice is heard inspires me to keep writing. Thank you.

 

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