Finding ways to authentically practice faith-based parenting means looking for teachable moments rather than forcing lessons on my kids. You don’t want parenting to feel like school. Tonight I was blessed with a three-generation discussion about the Bible. I’m still pinching myself.
My dad is an Episcopal priest. Many of you clergy families and PKs out there know what that means: there’s no such thing as retirement from the priesthood. Dad enjoyed a long career as a parish priest, then as a Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, until he retired in 1999. After my mom died in 2001, he returned to parish life as an assistant rector, and he’s still working.
People always say, “Spend time with your loved ones while you can.” Those people are right. Now that I’ve added a broken ankle to my hip replacement, I have lots of time on my hands to enjoy good conversations with Dad when he brings my girls home from school.
Today Dad noticed my copy of The Path: A Journey Through the Bible on my table. It’s a recent publication from Forward Movement designed to bring you closer to scripture by focusing on the major stories and narrative arc of the Bible. Since I love the Psalms, I was skeptical as to whether or not I would like it. Good news – it’s like reading the Bible as a novel. Confession: I brought it home to read, and to introduce it to the girls in the hopes of adding it to our family Bible study. I pitched it a few days ago and got a lukewarm response.
Dad said, “Hey, I saw an ad for that on the back of The Living Church.” He looked it over, read a few pages, and said, “I like this, it’s nice. Can you get me a copy?” “Sure, Dad, of course.” (Full disclosure: he loves FM and will happily pay for the book.) Dad prides himself on his Biblical knowledge, rightfully. He started reminiscing about various Bible studies that he and my mom led through the years at St. Andrew’s, including a ten-year read through the whole Bible. I shared with him what it’s like to read the Bible and not always have the needed context, but as a librarian, I know how to find answers. I referred to online sources I use, like biblehub and biblegateway. He was suitably impressed.
I can’t say what my relationship with the Bible would be if I weren’t working at Forward Movement; the boost in my faith life is a continued blessing. The biggest blessing is that it’s also brought me closer to my dad, because now I have deeper conversations with him about scripture, the Trinity, and living a faith-based life. These are conversations I hadn’t had with him since confirmation class over thirty years ago.
The whole time we talked, the girls sat quietly listening. This organic conversation with Dad gives me a gateway to invite the girls to build a relationship with the scripture. Now they know –it runs in the family.
What are your family’s Bible traditions? How can you create new ones?