I will continue the series of Colorado posts, but there was something I was wrestling with in my mind, something I’ve been trying to grasp and even apply to other facets of my life. I told Gena at the retreat it was something prompted by reading The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer. Something that had to do with believing and obeying. Something I believe it’s talking to me also about multiple layers of my life as a teacher, mom, and christian.
I will write quotes in blue, and indented, (as quotes are), -bold text is not by the author but my highlight-, and my comments in normal text font and color.
The idea of a situation in which faith is possible is only a way of stating the facts of a case in which the following two propositions hold good and are equally true: only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.
I was struck by the interdependence of faith and obedience. Never before I thought about the symbiosis, the bond that shouldn’t be broken. It took me to the marriage between the why and how of almost anything we do, most specially, our homeschooling life.
It is quite unbiblical to hold the first proposition without the second. We think we understand when we hear that obedience is possible only where there is faith. Does not obedience follow faith as good fruit grows on a good tree? First, faith, then obedience. If by that we mean that it is faith which justifies, and not the act of obedience, all well and good, for that is the essential and unexceptionable presupposition of all that follows. If, however, we make a chronological distinction between faith and obedience, and make obedience subsequent to faith, we are divorcing the one from the other -and then we get the practical question, when must obedience begin? Obedience remains separated from faith.
Many of us consider faith an obedient faith, a faith that, as Bonhoeffer says, cannot be detached from the fruits that the obedience bears, and we believe that those acts of obedience do not justify us nor do they earn us salvation. (I understand many of you fully agree with Bonhoeffer, or like me, disagree with him, or with each other, when it comes to identify what constitutes and obedient faith. But I recognize most of us who call ourselves christians, know that there is no way to earn our salvation, and that it’s by faith in Him we can aspire to eternal life). Bear with me, disagree with me if you wish, or ask me further publicly or privately, but park the theology, and continue, if you wish, to see if my thoughts translating this into my homeschooling life make any sense to you.
I have come to realize I cannot separate the whys of our homeschool and life from the hows. Modern man is used to divorce this, the heart from the mind, the action from the theory, the philosophy from the steps it leads to. In the last podcast on culture I listened to, Andrew Kern said that it’s not only ideas have consequences, ideas precede ideas, and even further, events shape ideas, ideas impact events, happenings, actions.
Charlotte Mason did not divorce the whys and hows. She always presented and spoke and delivered both in the intellectual realm, and in the practical day to day domain. At the retreat, Dawn pointed to our need to ground ourselves into the whys, yet I understand our urgency to look at the hows. We need both, at different times the emphasis may fall on one over the other. But -humor me-, woe to the mom who dares separate them chronologically!
The whys of our homeschooling are rooted on our faith, the hows of our homeschooling show also our obedience and commitment to our children.
And, since my daughters call me to my duties, I’m going to stop here, but it looks like I have ideas for another post about this, and surely for a lifetime of living it.
PS: the photo to me represents the division of the sky in two parts, but it’s not a true partition, for who could slice the sky in two? And we are there, like the bird, looking up or down, sometimes forgetting to come down from the clouds to get on the ground or a tree to feed, or nest. At others forgetting to look up and wonder, for, as the teacher said in The Wheel on the School, “We can’t think much when we don’t know much. But we can wonder! For sometimes when we wonder, we can make things begin to happen” (page 6)