In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice

In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice

by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
     
 

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When people think of the spiritual life, they often automatically picture uninterrupted silence and serenity. When people picture parenting, they see noise and complication, dirty diapers, sleepless nights, phone calls from teachers, endless to-do lists, teen rooms strewn with stuff, car-ride pandemonium. By and large, these portraits are accurate. Spirituality

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Overview

When people think of the spiritual life, they often automatically picture uninterrupted silence and serenity. When people picture parenting, they see noise and complication, dirty diapers, sleepless nights, phone calls from teachers, endless to-do lists, teen rooms strewn with stuff, car-ride pandemonium. By and large, these portraits are accurate. Spirituality requires focused attention, and caring for children in our fast-paced, stress-filled, technology-driven, postindustrial, postmodern society is perhaps one of the most intrusive, disorienting occupations around. How can we find spiritual depth in the midst of the chaos of our lives with children?

Theologian, mother, and writer Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore gives us some answers to this question and shows us how to integrate and strengthen the practice of faith in the everyday (and often mundane) experience of raising children. In the Midst of Chaos reveals what it takes to find the spiritual wisdom in the messy, familial ways of living. By rethinking parenting as an invitation to discover God in the middle of our busy and overstuffed lives, it relieves parents of the burden of being the all-knowing authority figures who impart spiritual knowledge to children. Finding spirituality in family activities such as reading bedtime stories, dividing household chores, and playing games can empower parents to notice what they are already doing as potentially valuable and to practice it more consciously as part of their own faith journey.

Miller-McLemore's book is both child-friendly and caregiver-supportive and promotes a greater understanding of faith and theology. Filled with real and sometimes humorous stories from the author's and others' lives, each chapter explores one practice that encourages both adults and kids to grow in faith. In the Midst of Chaos shares a sense of the grace that comes when we are honest about the difficulties and attentive to the blessings present in everyday family life.

This is a volume in the Practices of Faith series. A study guide and further resources are available at www.practicingourfaith.org.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780787976767
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
10/20/2006
Series:
Practices of Faith Series, #16
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
447,671
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.07(h) x 0.98(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Parents fear that because they can’t find the time andsilence needed for prayer in the all-consuming whirlwind of caringfor children, faith must be put on hold. In the Midst ofChaos challenges this assumption. Through personal stories,biblical text, and the ideas of religious thinkers and childpsychologists, this book offers a fresh perspective on faith thatreclaims routine practices of family as deeply spiritual."
—Michele Borba, author, 12 Simple Secrets Real MomsKnow

"The seriousness with which Miller-McLemore takes up theexhausting topic of postmodern parenting is not only refreshing; itilluminates as much as it surprises. In the burgeoning arena ofChristian practice writing, In the Midst of Chaos stands atthe very top of the list."
—Serene Jones, Titus Street Professor of Theology, YaleUniversity Divinity School

"What does it mean to ‘sanctify the ordinary,’ to‘redeem the waking, walking, buzzing routine itself’?With wonderful honesty and a wisdom born of informed theologicalreflection, sound cultural critique, and the lived experience ofparenting three boys, Bonnie J. Miller-Mclemore helps us to ponderand to clarify the deep questions that stir in those of us whoraise families, hold down jobs, and want our faith to meansomething in the real world."
—Wendy M. Wright, professor of theology, CreightonUniversity; author, Seasons of a Family’s Life

"The flip of chaos and flop of quiescence are rejected in favorof finding God’s presence in the living complexity ofevery day. This deeply pondered and theologically literate bookwill not let you go without a blessing because the print will notstay on the pages. It is as good and true as it isbeautiful."
—Jerome W. Berryman, executive director, Center for theTheology of Childhood

"This is an absorbing book that moves seamlessly between animaginative reading of Christian texts and compassionate insightsfrom personal experience. It transforms the chaos of parenting intoan arena for spiritual practice in which parents discover the'clearest truths about our deepest values.'"
—Herbert Anderson, visiting professor of pastoral theology,Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley

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