Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Contentment vs. Complacency

Godliness with contentment is great gain...  I fully believe this.  Is there a difference between contentment and complacency?  There is no doubt, there is.

I believe we indoctrinate our children children to be complacent.  Schools teach children to never think too far outside of the box, never color outside of the lines.  In fact, never paint pink what is "supposed to be" blue.  We have become such a standardized society, it is either go along with it or be left behind, cast aside.  So we go along, telling ourselves, "This is the way it has to be."

How does this translate to our churches?  We Protestants often laud Martin Luther as a hero of the faith for having the courage to buck complacency and give rise to the Protestant Reformation.  But would we have the courage to pound the nail?  Do we even have the guts to disagree with our denomination's doctrinal stance when we cannot agree in our heart of hearts?  Or are we content to go along, to follow the crowd, believing "it doesn't really hurt anything"?

I had to smile when I heard a conversation between Taliesin, my ten-year old son, and his church music teacher a few days ago.  Taliesin was showing her some of his recent ocean creature drawings.  When he came to the lobster, she asked him if he likes to eat lobster.  He explained to her that he is vegetarian.  She seemed a bit surprised and asked, "Don't you like hotdogs?"  He made a disgusted face and, again, said he is vegetarian.  She told him some of the seafood she likes to eat.  He listened politely, but he did not give up his stance.  It was a perfectly respectful conversation on both sides.  But I was so proud that he did not give in for the sake of not standing out - not even when an adult, a teacher-figure, had questions.  I feel confident that Taliesin will not give into complacency.  The meaning of his name - "having a firm brow" - is so appropriate for him.  I believe we could take a few lessons from his determination.

Godliness with contentment in all circumstances, when we have little or when we have much, is great gain.  Complacency for the sake of going along, is great loss - not only for us, but for the Kingdom of God.  For God has given us our interests, our talents, our passions for a reason.  I believe He expects us to use them. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Just some thoughts today about differences, unschooling, and God...

In I Corinthians 6, Paul discusses the issue of lawsuits among believers.  How often we read this and think, "This really does not apply to my church today."  I used to think this as well.  But now I wonder how many times we truly live out this concept. 

Example #1:  When a family needs help financially or even needs assistance with the basic needs of life - food, clothing, shelter - does the church send them to someone else?  How often do Christians condemn a welfare recipient as lazy, and then expect that individual to "ask the church" for help. 

I have heard more than one example of families who were turned into child protective services by a member of their church.  The church "family" member was concerned that the children did not have enough to eat or did not have their basic needs met.  If this fellow Christian truly felt this concern, was taking it to the government the proper course of action?  Was it really the Christian thing to do, based upon I Corinthians 6?

Example #2: Why do we often make it our business to judge someone else's lifestyle? 

I encounter this a lot with my son, Taliesin.  I have had more than one Sunday school teacher question how he learns.  I have received many comments (or condemnations) from well-meaning Christians about the way my husband and I choose to educate our sons.  They believe in a different philosophy of education than I do.  That is fine.  Differences of opinion are fine.  Differences in education are fine.  Not recognizing that differences of opinion are okay is not fine. 

What many Christians so often fail to recognize is today's American education system is based upon the Greek model of learning - not upon the Bible or the early church or Jesus or ancient Hebrew.  Not that the Greek model is wrong for everyone.  But it's also not right for everyone.  And to hail the Greek education model as the only Christian way is not only wrong; but, in my mind at least, it violates the very premise of I Corinthians 6.  We are handling private matters through the government or the government's way. 

Just some further thought: 

In the first example, are we not rendering to Caesar that which is God's?  Scripture is clear in both Old and New Testaments that we are to care for the needs of one another.  Jesus' teachings on the division of His true servants from those who only claim to be, Paul's teachings on bearing one another's burdens - these are just a couple of examples. 

In our second example, are we not doing the opposite? - rendering to God that which is Caesar's?  We are placing man's ideas and philosophies on the same level, if you will, as God's.  We are saying, "This is the only correct way" when the Bible does not say that at all.  We are placing societal "rules" in a position of authority.  Is this not contrary to what Jesus taught against in His "Render to Caesar" teaching?  Is this not what the nation of Israel did prior to her fall in the Old Testament?  God calls this type of devotion to society above devotion to Him by name - idolatry, unfaithfulness, spiritual adultery

What a dangerous territory...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Fun

Summer Activities

So far this summer, Taliesin and Nathanael have been delving into sewing, cavemen, the Vikings, and lots of outdoor fun.  For those that are not friends with me on Facebook, I have posted many updates and photos.  I seriously need to get better about blogging.  Oh, for more time in each day.