My God is my God (Part 2 of 2)
Are your experiences with God shareable, or should they be kept private?
We begin with this question as we pick up from last week’s column where I wrote about how many of us have become our own islands when it comes to sharing our godly experiences. In last week’s conclusion, I invited you to think about your own island, or what I’ll call this week your own spiritually contained island.
I also invited you to think about how your faith grows on your own island. Time alone with God and scripture is vital. Jesus himself went off by himself to pray many times.
But are too many too alone?
I argue the answer is yes.
Again, yes, private and personal time with God is a must. But faith is never born in a vacuum. It has to be taught, even modeled.
I know of a grandfather who is about seventy years-old. He has been a churchgoer his whole life, so has his son—at least while he was living with his dad. Now the son is on his own and suggests that his daughter, who is five, can decide for herself whether she wants to pursue a faith. This is not uncommon these days, but it drives the grandfather crazy.
“How can my granddaughter choose a faith,” he laments, “when no faith is presented to her?”
This is heartbreaking for the grandfather who does model his faith when he is with his granddaughter.
I share this story because the father of the five-year-old isn’t practicing a faith. He’s not sharing God as he knows God. I haven’t given a lot of details with this story, but it’s true that the dad just thinks his daughter is going to “get it” on her own.
Think about your own faith. It has been heavily influenced by someone, perhaps even someone with little or almost no connection to God. As we can learn a lot from a bad teacher, (I am reminded of a college writing professor), we can also learn a lot from a person who lives a life absent of God.
Flip it. We can also learn a lot from a person who is present to God.
If you are one who grumbles about the godlessness in our nation and in our schools, yet are silent about God in your life, then I say, “Huh, you might want to think about this.”
Just as praying out loud can seem odd at first, sharing your faith out loud can seem funny at first, too. But do it. Your God is not your God. Your God is shareable.
Turn to a children’s book about the characters in the Bible as an adult if you’re shaky at the start. Key biblical ancestors are there—people who ran from God, pleaded with God, denied God, and certainly put themselves before God. We can find ourselves in these stories, and we don’t need theological degrees to enter into how scripture informs us.
A teacher’s assistant on the master’s level suggested we first-year divinity students grab a children’s Bible for good reason—to lock in the fundamentals. Maybe it’s time to Christmas shop for a children’s Bible for you and the five-year-old in your life who may now be fifteen, or even twenty-five.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on November 20, 2019.