This will be a more personal blog entry, so those uninterested, be forewarned.
Our grandson was born early and was hospitalized before his first year for respiratory problems. His difficulty breathing led to feeding difficulties that resulted in adnoid surgury before his second birthday. Even though he has had a "rough road" in his short lifetime, he is a very pleasant little guy and we are all blessed.
Our daughter is a nurse, so she is more aware of what his development "should" be. This has led to her concerns over his delayed development and her anxiety about his future learning ability. He will be two in November and doesn't really say much of anything. And my daughter pointed out yesterday that he doesn't stack blocks or run without falling down.
My husband and I have enjoyed both of our grandkids and have not been overly concerned for him although he is way behind his bigger sister. Is our lack of concern because we inadvertedly compared him to her and she is functioning way above the norm? Or was our lack of concern a lack of "connection", as sort of "denial"? I don't know how to gauge, but I am glad that he will be having his two year check-up in the next two months. Maybe we can get more answers from his pediatrician. I hope so for all of us.
I tell this little story to make a point. Every individual develops differently, and at their own pace. But, there is some sort of standard in which "normal" development is measured. Is this the case with moral, spiritual or emotional development? If so, when should we expect someone to behave at a post-conventional level? How do we know when someone is morally, spiritually or emotionally handicapped? Do we make the allowances for these people and how do we do so without intruding upon another's "space", patience, and 'peace"?
It seems to me that many conservative religious people are caught up in the "own world", which is separated from the 'real world'. And it leads to much "disgrace" to the religious community. Is this because of "emotional need", "moral immaturity", or "spiritual failure"? I think that there is much that would collaborate that some never develop beyond an "pre-conventional level". Should we be concerned or let these people function in their "little worlds"?
This morning our pastor preached a sermon on "Abraham"'s faith. I checked with my husband to make sure he heard the same and he confirmed what I had understood. Our pastor was calling for a "radicalized faith" that was disrespective of reason, a "jump in the dark". He wanted to encourage people to leave their comfort zones, whether homes, family, etc. to "follow God". He used Hebrews 11, as his text. He promised that those who did would find "greatness". Greatness was not celebrity or fame, but gravity in impacting the world. I cringed because it literalizes a specific understanding of "faith" and it also suggests that faith is most "faithful" when it disregards reason. This view dismisses "reason's" reasons.
None of us want to be "wrong" or be responsible for bringing heartache or damage upon another. This is what our daughter is dealing with in feeling responsble for her son's learning difficulties. When was she to be concerned enough to demand attention, when several attempts were re-buffed by professionals? Should she have demanded irregardless of these professional opinions? Would it have made a difference?
What about our pastor's suggestion about faith? Isn't it cultish to suggest especially to young people to "trust" God and to disregard reason altogether? Should a parent be concerned if a student decides that God has called him to quit school and "do something for God"? Isn't suggesting that this kind of "call" is something that is "more" or "above" another's "common job"? I think this is dangerous and I am concerned. Should I be? Our pastor made a point that Abraham had lied, cheated, and stolen, but he did follow God.
Responsible behavior should be what every young adult increasing demonstrates in his life. Irresponsibilty in the "name of God" has brought much reproach upon Christian faith, the Church, and religion, in general. And I have found that when I have expressed concerns about "radicalized faith" in the past, the "professionals" disregarded my quesitons, as well. Were they being as presumptuous as my grandson's doctors? Will my faith in "faith communities" forever be damaged because of this "oversight"?
All I know is that really listening and hearing others is always hard. But, it is impossible if we have other agendas, like who is next on my appointment book, or minimizing another's situation with platitudes of "better days" ahead. We just never know when our concern will make a powerful difference in another's life. A lack of concern certainly has impacted my daughter, my grandson, and myself.
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