Tuesday, April 28, 2015

God Matters

Folk like handing me articles and other things at the door on Sunday mornings. While I often appreciate what is offered, where do I put the stuff!

Recently I was giving the Maclean's magazine with the cover article showing a cheesy looking anglo Jesus and the title The Science is In JESUS SAVES (seriously). The article is about the positive effect of faith and faith community on the health and happiness of children.

In a time when we are all stunned by the brutality of ISIS and we live with the ugly realities of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic church, not to mention our sorry history in the Residential Schools, it is tempting to dismiss the value of religion.

This article focuses on a book by Lisa Miller, the director of clinical psychology at Columbia University's Teachers College called The Spiritual Child, soon to be published. She concludes that trust in a higher power makes a significant difference for teens. They are less likely to enter into substance abuse and depression. Spiritually oriented children also tend to excel academically, if they are encouraged to think openly and ask hard questions. Miller comments "in the long run we think religiosity will confer a protective effect against all kinds of disorders."

This has been my experience. In my previous congregation I watched children grow into teens and young adults. I saw their faith develop with the mentorship of excellent leaders and a caring, nurturing congregation. Yes, some of them experienced the angst of teen life. On the whole though so many of them were becoming and are still developing into balanced, whole persons. I am so proud of them, and when I left I felt as though I was leaving family. I am convinced that personal Christian faith and Christian community matters. I don't doubt that the effect of other religions can be positive as well.

What are your experiences and comments about this?


Laura said...

I did pick up this issue at the grocery check out(it caught my attention even over all the royal baby splash) and in my limited experience find the same conclusions as the article. As you said, faith and church involvement is not a magic pill that allows one to pass through the teenage years with ease but truly I think it grounds our kids when so many parts of their lives and their world are swirling, at best. I think this article hit on some of the best parenting advice out there today...the downside though...churches don't, and perhaps some can't, invest in making it appealing to future generations.
A gang of your former flock looks forward to being at Bridge St for worship at the end of next month.

David Mundy said...

I have thought about their presence and I am excited. I will probably be quite emotional to see them here. Bless you for the wonderful work are doing with them Laura.