Saturday, August 30, 2008

Deeds, Not Creeds

I have days when I really question myself - my ability, my calling, my faith. Thankfully, I occasionally get external reminders that I'm not a complete loser ;). Yesterday, I got two of my prior learning evaluations for college, and they made me sound amazing! I think I'll put them on my website as testimonials or something ;). But really, it was a nice reminder that, despite my almost constant attention to parenting my four little wild heathens for the last 12 years, I have accomplished some pretty amazing things in my communities. I have not just talked the talk, but walked the walk. I have put my time, my family, my values on the line, and lived them. It's good to remind myself of that when I am struggling with feeling judgmental, or struggling with how to model the values that are important to me.

In A Chosen Faith, Forrest Church says:
"...the principal sin besetting many of us today is the sin of sophisticated resignation. This sin is particularly insidious because it comes with its own veil. That is, it appears respectable. It allows us to feel strongly about injustices without prompting us to do anything about them. This sin is tailor-made for many of us because it is fed by knowledge."

"Our heritage reminds us that we are a faith of deeds, not creeds."

"In face of this, we are left with two choices. One is to climb off our moral high horse; the other is to learn how to ride. Both are preferable to high-minded posturing and sophisticated resignation, but only the latter represents the promise and fulfillment of our faith."

As a mom of a large family, it is sometimes very easy for me to fall back on being an "idea person" rather than an "action person." It's hard to attend peace rallies on corners with 4children in tow. It's hard to attend film screenings with a toddler. It's hard to make phone calls to representatives when the kids have "phone radar" and start screaming as soon as the dial tone reaches my ear.

These aren't excuses; these are realities. But as someone who thrives on action, it's hard to remember that you can do everything, but not all at once. I do serve my community - I educate moms on birth and breastfeeding; I serve on the local homeschooling board, and put out a newsletter every month. I try to donate money to families who are struggling, or to bring meals to those who have a new baby, or a death in the family (I admit, this is not my strong point).

But, I can do deeds, even in small ways. My daughter and I talked about this, and my struggle to feel effective and not judgmental about the poverty and lack of education in our community. I can reach out in small ways to be the change.

Something else that we talked about is the fact that not everyone has the same opportunities. Church also points out his belief in a gray area between original sin and children born pure:

"Having observed my own children, I am ambivalent when it comes to these two positions, nature and nurture We are born with a capacity for both good and evil, and society contributes directly to the development of our aptitude for each. Einstein once said that God does not throw dice. I disagree. That is precisely what "God" does. Each fertilized egg is a throw of the dice, and so is the family, environment, nation, century, and set of opportunities - or lack thereof- into which we are born."

When I read this to my daughter, she said, "well, that's what you said yesterday. Were you quoting him?" I wasn't. So I must be doing something right; saying the right words, walking the walk.

Buehrens tells us, "...the difficult, ordinary heroism of unknown people in their daily lives is often more important than the inspiring words of their better-known leaders."

You and I, and my kids...we can all be the change, a day at a time, a deed at a time. Falling prey to sophisiticated resignation is easy to do, but as long as we keep action at the forefront of our minds - walking, not just talking - each one of us can make a difference.

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