When I was young my Mom taught me how to sew using the sewing machine. It was a finicky one and the bobbin kept messing up, or the feed dog would get jammed, or the thread would break. I would ask for help and my Mom would fix the problem. The bad part however is that she didn’t show me how to fix the problem myself.
Years later, after she had died, I wanted to sew something and I still didn’t know how to fix it when something didn’t work right. I fooled around with the machine but it wasn’t budging. I decided to buy a used machine that was simple to operate and had an instruction manual with pictures. I learned how to use it and wondered why my Mom never thought to teach me how to do this myself. It was really easy to do. By hiding it from me, she made it seem like it was something special that only she could do.
It seems to me that part of the job of being a parent is to teach their children to be self sufficient. If they still needing your help to fix things when they are adults then that is a bad reflection on the parent.
I’ve encountered the same attitude from church. I’m hopeful that all churches aren’t like this, in the same way that all parents aren’t like mine. But my experience over all of my life has been that in every church I’ve gone to, the minister has treated me as a passive observer in my faith life. They have acted as if the life of faith is something that happens to you, rather than something you do.
Then I started going to a spiritual director. She has been to seminary, but she isn’t ordained. She is like a personal trainer for the soul. If the journey of faith uses a car, not only is she teaching me to drive, she is teaching me how to find the tools and repair it myself. Meanwhile, all the ministers I’ve ever been lead by have treated me like I was a passenger. They didn’t teach me how to drive. They didn’t even let me know I could.
It is a little overwhelming. I feel like I’m late to the party. I feel like I should have known this all along. This is part of the purpose of my blog – to let you know that you too have the right to drive this car of faith. I describe tools to you as I come across them.
Imagine how powerful the body of Christ will be when we all wake up to our true potential and realize we aren’t passive observers.