My book, Faith at Home, has been out in the world for a year now, and I am as proud as a parent, and so grateful, too, for the warm welcome it has received. I have learned a lot, as parents do in that first year especially, and I am at the point when I am thinking about another one, perhaps as some parents think about having another child when they have forgotten the pain of the process. My next book will be about compassion: why we need to teach active empathy, and how we do that most effectively. So, yes, the book’s been out a year, but I’m definitely not finished with it. I am actively engaged in its life and ideas, giving keynotes and workshops and writing (all-too-infrequent) blogposts about it. And I am developing a reader’s guide (which will be posted on the website.) Here are some reflections for the first chapter:
Chapter 1: Talking About God
Many of us, even those who count ourselves believers, do not talk about God. It’s easier and more comfortable and a lot less dangerous that way. However, let’s take the risk… What we are trying to articulate for our children might be drastically different from the understanding of God that we grew up with. Our thoughts and beliefs may not be what are commonly accepted in popular culture, or even in our extended families. (p. 2–3)
- How’s the God-talk going at your house?
- What’s your way “in” to the conversation?
- If you aren’t talking about God, what might help you get past your discomfort?
Let’s talk about God in metaphor and mystery, in simple, concrete ways: as a mother hen, a friend, a gardener, as artist and builder, as light and rock. Let’s talk about what we imagine when we say “God.” (p.5)
- What names or images of God resonate for you?
- What stirs your imagination or your heart when you think about God?
Our son Peter, who was sent to theological debate camp this summer against his will, is at the eye-rolling age of 14 now. He’s still singing in a choir so he finds himself at church every Wednesday and Sunday (“I am the most religious kid I know!” he told me recently and with some horror), where he is snarkily critical of sermons and hymns. I am fine with that, and so is God, I’m certain. It’s the conversation that’s important. God is still speaking.