7 Things I Want To Teach My Kids About Spirituality

Image7 Things I want to teach my kids about Spirituality.

Often I think, the last thing the Internet and blogosphere need is another list. There are always special cases where the words and insights bring us into alignment. Today was my birthday and I received a few emails reminding me to reflect. Well I did, and as always a little too much but I though about my life and what I wanted to share with my kids. Something bigger than morals, something larger than words and books. I want to be able to share with them something that can not be captured in a doctrine but explodes with relevancy.

7. Sex
Sex is one of the most spiritual acts that you can participate in. You are valuable, treasured, and you do not need a purity ring or a “true love waits” commitment card to find value within yourself and your sexuality. Since the days when I was a child growing up, all I can remember being taught about sex was that bad things happen when someone has sex. I wasn’t taught that sex and my sexuality was something to be valued and treasured.

I remember reading a book called “Kissing Dating Goodbye” from a guy who I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he couldn’t have any girl he wanted.  Being taught about not dating from a handsome guy is like being taught about poverty from a rich man.

6.  Love
Oh I know this one was predictable, but the word Love is used over 500 times in the English Bible. The Qur’an uses the word Love almost 70 times. Whether it is the Greeks Agape or the Middle Easts Hubb or even the French’s Amour, we are encaptured by the need to be loved and give love.

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Life without love is no life at all.”
Shakespeare Pleaded that we, “Love all…”
Jesus said, “Let me give you a new command: Love” The Message

Despite our many obvious and veiled differences, we all have the same passion for love in our lives. A baby reaches out with love to a mother it only unconsciously knows. We open a book in search of love. Music, speaking, plays, etc all bring feelings of love. Love, I think is the one thing that is beyond our verbal boundaries of expression.

We must take this Biblical love literally or we cannot take anything literally.

5. Paths
There may indeed be one answer, one way, and one God but one piece of wisdom I’ve gained is that God may use many different paths, methods, and ways to bring people to himself.
But Paths are tricky. See paths can have obstacles and unseen hindrances. And no matter what path you take, you will undoubtedly face turmoil and pain on each path.
My hope for my children, and all those reading this is that while on these many different paths you travel, you exercise patience, grace and love.

4. God is Good
Throughout Churches,I’ve heard one consistent phrase since I was young, and this phrase wasn’t hindered by denominational factions. Southern Baptist though episcopal-all the way through the progressive, I heard the Phrase, “God is Good, and all the time God is Good.” I love this phrase probably for different reasons than many. I believe it’s meant as an exclamation of God’s goodness towards our lives. I want to teach my kids that above all else, “God is Good.” He is goodness, good things,and good hopes. In every bit of goodness is an opportunity to experience God.

It is not just a phrase to say, but something to experience everyday.

3.  Heaven and Hell
Hear me out on this one. I know we are treading some thin lines. But for my kids, I want them to know that one thing the Bible teaches consistently throughout its covers is this concept of a Heaven and a Hell. Definitions, locations, and interpretations can cloud what I think is the real beauty of the reality of a Heaven and Hell idea for Christians and non-Christians alike. (I am using the words Heaven and Hell loosely since few times are they mentioned in the same manner and objective in the scriptures. I am using the modern words as a pointer to a bigger but mainstream concept that we have of Heaven and Hell.)

The reality of Heaven and Hell brings to the surface the intense revelation that this moment – this life is about more than just this moment. It’s about more than just this life.

Life, it is more than just you. It gives us the revolutionary realization that this moment is more important than we might think because it can affect myself or someone else down the road. My struggles can be my generational burden.

Whether or not our beliefs and doctrines of Heaven and Hell match,  the literary descriptions, or are even all on the same page, we can find a muse to be more conscious of our actions and deeds. If we live with heaven in mind, we’ll see heaven in our sight.

The notion of Heaven and Hell is somewhat of a reminder for everyone that this day, no matter how bad it may be, has an ending. That in every moment there is a choice to be made; to do good or not.
2.  God Loves Religion
Religion often gets a bad rap, sometimes understandably so. The news is often so crowded with the stories of abuse and harm that we don’t get to hear the good being done in the names of many god’s spiritual leaders and religions. I am a believer that God loves religion. The Bible gives us a clear statement on what kind of religion pleases God.

James 1:27 Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I think that we can misinterpret what God wants us to be zealous about. It’s not a book, persona, or building. It is people.

In our day of equal rights, mentoring, and giving we can all agree this is the type of religion we need to be focused on. If religion is to be, than it should be an example of charity and assistance. This should be the focus of everyday expressions of God and belief.

Religion is what we would call a tool that assists in connecting us with what we cannot explain. As with anything religion can be perverted. But if you are religious about anything, be religious about serving and loving.

1. Miracles

I spent the past two years visiting over 200 churches while working on a new book and a journey of what I called My Spiritual Re-discovery. In the majority of the churches they spoke about miracles being an essential part of the Life of Jesus. I agree. I think often the biggest miracles of Christ went under shadowed by the more talked about happenings.

This is something I’ve always agreed with. However, my view of a miracle is a little different than what I’ve seen in many churches.

In the Biblical book of Luke, we get a clear description from Jesus himself as to why he was here and what he was focusing on.

“…to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” – Jesus

Jesus had a different view of miracles than I see in many churches today. He repeatedly told the people, “See that no one knows about this.” Matthew 9:31

What if the real miracles were the forgotten teens Jesus mentored whom we now call disciples? What if the real miracles were the times he served and gave of himself?

I believe Miracles should be a daily part of this life journey we are on. It’s not necessarily a blind man being given sight or the dead being raised. Often times it will be needs being met, service being offered, and assistance with burdens.

You can be someone’s miracle today.

What makes the Bible special is that it isn’t a record of God, because God cannot be contained between two covers and some ink. What ultimately makes the Bible special is that it has the ability to tell the story of the reader, and is as unique to each person as the hair on their head.

What I am saying is, instead of us often taking what the Bible says seriously, we should take what it’s saying to each one of us seriously.

Advertisements

A New Kind of Fathers

Since my early days in church I’ve often been told I had to relate to God as a father. I just couldn’t… I tried but.. Couldn’t.

See, I never knew my father, he caused my mother horrible pain and left our family to fend for itself excelling us into a deeper poverty and depression.

Amongst all of the constant struggles just for daily food and hoping for shelter in the coming months as bills piled up, in church I was told to pray to God, my ABBA father.

That word ABBA was foreign to me. Not in the sense of the definition, i knew how church folks defined it, I just didn’t know what it looked like.

In my mind I didn’t see much of a difference between God and a deadbeat father.

Over the past decade my thoughts have changed. Now I want to share with you some insight about real fathers. I hate to disappoint you but this blog won’t be specifically tied to God being our father, nor to biological fathers.

In my last book I taught of a new way to understand fathers. One of the Hebraic words for Father is אמן and is pronounced ‘aman.

The definition for the Hebrew word for father is one “who offers his right hand.”

The definition beautifully brings to mind the prefect expression of what a father is and can be.

This word father here is more than a person who works, provides and loves. This wisdom in the word father is about a person who seeks to lead, guide and walk with you.

I’ve never had a father. But I have been very blessed in my childhood to have many men and women come into my life to lead me and take my hand while on this spiritual journey and this life journey.

My hope on this day when we celebrate fathers we include those mentors, spiritual fathers and all who have had a hand in leading someone.

I am convinced that God loves puns when reading the Bible, and this Hebrew word used for father is ‘aman…or as our English eyes might see it, A Man. A man is someone who leads. A man is an example. A man is a guide.

Let us not only celebrate the men in our lives doing this but embrace anyone who leads and instructs regardless of gender.

To all the Leaders out there… Thanks from a former broken and lonely kid.
Ricky Maye

20130616-082125.jpg