Tuesday, April 28, 2015
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?