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Passing on Faith: Answering the BIG Questions

A few weeks ago, I began a series called Passing on Faith to explore some of the views there are when it comes to parents passing on faith to their children. The first post in this series talked about viewing faith as an inheritance. If you missed it, be sure to check it out.

Today, we’re going to look at an article by Rev. Raymond J. de Souza that was originally posted in The National Post on February 25, 2010. Be sure to check out the article in it’s entirety.

de Souza sees the act of passing on faith as being willing to engage the BIG questions in life:

“Parents owe their children the best of themselves. Their best is not only good schools and extracurricular programs. It is their basic values, including their answers to the ultimate questions.”

He goes on to say,

“Parents owe their children their best answers to the deepest questions. Children are genuinely interested in the larger questions, as anyone who has spent an hour with a four-year-old asking “why” about everything knows. For many parents though, being honest with their children provokes an awkward examination of conscience. The religious formation of children requires one to be honest about one’s own religious practice.”

I believe that this issue of trying to provide answers to “ultimate questions” is where parents stumble the most. Most parents (me included) feel inadequate and unprepared to answer these questions. We feel that if we don’t know the answers, then we should avoid these types of questions and leave it up to the professionals to answer them.

It is here where I think that the church can make one of the greatest impacts on a parent either negatively or positively.

The church can point out to parents that they are “abdicating their responsibility” to pass on faith to their children. The church can browbeat parents, making them feel guilty for not having the spiritual maturity to be able to address these ultimate questions. In so doing, the church either pushes these parents further away from the faith of their children or creates parents who, out of guilt, superficially or legalistically whip their families into shape.

The other thing churches can do is meet parents where they are and honestly admit that the “professionals” don’t even have all the answers. The church can encourage parents to humbly journey in faith alongside their children, learning together and growing together. The church can cheer parents on and help parents see where they already are positively passing on faith. When churches do this, they raise up families excited to grow in faith together.

Maybe better than answering the BIG questions, passing on faith is about exploring the BIG questions and seeking out where God is in those questions.


3 Responses to “Passing on Faith: Answering the BIG Questions”

  1. Wayne Stocks April 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Nice post. Thinking we have all the answers is a sure sign of pride. One of my favorite Bible verses is Deut 29:29:

    "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

    It reminds me that I will never know it all so I don't need to act as if I do, even with my kids!

  2. henryjz April 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Thx Wayne. I am a big fan of cheering parents on and letting them know that they don't need to HAVE the answers just be willing to explore them with their kids as they seek out God. It's amazing the huge burden that is lifted off parents when I tell them that and the excitement they have about passing on faith to their children.

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