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Home-Based Spirituality and My Immaturity

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Posted on : 9:12 AM | By : Nic | In :

We homeschool. We homebirth. We do a lot of work from home. It only makes sense that our natural inclination is to base our spirituality from home too. In reality though, it's not that simple. We've both had bad church experiences, both raised in fairly conservative religious homes, and both kind of let the spiritual fall by the wayside. We've thought of going to church to let the kids socialize, and sometimes we do... but us adults can't seem to get anything out of it. Oh believe me we've tried, and we enjoy the experience. But it's the difference between sitting in a lecture about what chocolate tastes like. Yes you get all the knowledge about the flavour of chocolate, but you really need to experience chocolate, right? I'm pretty sure God is the same way.

It's not that I've never experienced God either - just never in church. It has happened when reading the Bible, when praying, when out in nature (many times), when bad things have happened and I needed strength, when living life with my husband, and most of the time out of the blue when I will have sudden clarity about a situation.

And I fail - oh, how I fail! - to maintain this experience in a satisfactory way so that I can pass it on to my children. This is where home-based spirituality seems to come in. I must add that I make no pretenses about my spiritual maturity. I am mature in one way only. and that is with my diplomacy and non-judgmental nature. I laugh heartily at Spongebob and bodily noises like any child, and even though I am very, very familiar with the Bible, my faith is at the primary Jesus-loves-me stage. Despite fighting at this to try to fix it, fighting against myself and the rhetoric around me that seems to detract from my faith... it hasn't gotten better.

So what to do? The human inclination is to copy church at home, the same way many homeschoolers start out copying school at home. Obiously that doesn't work. So here are my goals:

1. Read the Bible daily, and during the school year study other scriptures as well. Without comparison then how do you know what you believe? Faith by default isn't really faith.

2. Pray more as a couple and as a family. We are very bad at this. I felt like prayer in our house had become trite in following the formula - I want to have a real conversation.

3. Experience God in nature more.

4. Do these things with the love of my life so that we will both experience God together, and that can only make us closer.

Comments (5)

Those are good goals. Thanks for posting this.

We've been thinking about this same topic because of dissatisfaction with our current church set-up (segregating children from adults, very teaching-oriented, etc.) and because our son's now, at 2 years old, starting to talk and imitate us. And so we realized -- oh, right, we're supposed to be modeling what's going on in our heads.

My husband had this insight that the churches we've attended have always been school-based. Kids are taught little lessons, teens are taken on field trips, and adults are taught lecture-style, like at college. But it's all learning, not doing.

For a few years now, we've been leading a weekly small group where we talk about our spiritual lives and commit to doing something to change for the better, and then next time we tell each other how it went and ask for insight. We really enjoy taking our son to these meetings and hope that's another way he'll absorb our faith through modeling. I think it's an easy enough concept that a child can participate in it once he's a little older.

We're also starting to sing some of our favorite songs with him in the car. We tried doing it at home, and it seemed kind of hokey, but in the car, it feels just like fun (and keeps him happy besides).

As for your #2, I totally agree that praying as a family is hard. I found it hard to be that vulnerable, and hard not to let that unaccustomed openness make me retreat into being formulaic. I'm hoping to work on this, and find a way for it to be natural.

Your small group seems ideal for what I'm craving, lol. Maybe I'll run into something like that sometime.

And you summed up exactly how I feel about praying with family. It's nice to know I'm not the only one! :D

Have you ever been to unprogrammed Quaker meeting. Basically, you sit in silence unless and until God speaks to someone and that person decides to share it. We attend Quaker meeting, but you can also do this at your house, sit in silence together with the possiblity that someone might decide to speak up and share their truth.

My H and I pray together every day and we try to spend at least fifteen minutes in sitting meditation together each day. We end this meditation by turning to each other an looking into each others eyes for a while and then we pray. It has been transforming our relationship to each other and to God. We invite our son to sit in meditation with us when he's awake when we sit, and we ask him to sit in on our prayers if he's around when we are praying together. At twelve he claims to be an atheist, but he is willing to sit and listen and talk to "the universe."

When my H and I pray together, I try to forget that he's there and just converse with God. It's hard sometimes, but we've been doing this for three months, and it gets a bit easier with practice. It is lovely to see into his heart. Of course, I still spend time in individual prayer each day, and sometimes then I pray things that I might filter in front of my H or my son (basically, personal struggles that might hurt them if they knew about them).

We do attend Quaker meeting most Sundays for the fellowship and the silence and the wisdom of spiritual elders and youngers in our meeting, but the real important part of our spiritual life happens at home on our meditation cushions.

I love Hobo Mama's idea about singing spiritual songs in the car. And we're trying to form a spirtual friendship group at meeting.

Thank you for the wonderful post.

Hi LaughingLG I have not been to a Quaker meeting... I have really hesitated since I have very young children, but I've really wanted to. Also here on the island there appears to be a group but it is very small and meets in someone's home... it would be hard for me to boldly march in with my noisy children, lol.

Your meditations sound lovely - thanks for letting me know it is possible! :)

Fabulous thoughts here and I totally agree!