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In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice Hardcover – October 20, 2006
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"Parents fear that because they can’t find the time and silence needed for prayer in the all-consuming whirlwind of caring for children, faith must be put on hold. In the Midst of Chaos challenges this assumption. Through personal stories, biblical text, and the ideas of religious thinkers and child psychologists, this book offers a fresh perspective on faith that reclaims routine practices of family as deeply spiritual."
—Michele Borba, author, 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know
"The seriousness with which Miller-McLemore takes up the exhausting topic of postmodern parenting is not only refreshing; it illuminates as much as it surprises. In the burgeoning arena of Christian practice writing, In the Midst of Chaos stands at the very top of the list."
—Serene Jones, Titus Street Professor of Theology, Yale University 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 theological reflection, sound cultural critique, and the lived experience of parenting three boys, Bonnie J. Miller-Mclemore helps us to ponder and to clarify the deep questions that stir in those of us who raise families, hold down jobs, and want our faith to mean something in the real world."
—Wendy M. Wright, professor of theology, Creighton University; author, Seasons of a Family’s Life
"The flip of chaos and flop of quiescence are rejected in favor of finding God’s presence in the living complexity of every day. This deeply pondered and theologically literate book will not let you go without a blessing because the print will not stay on the pages. It is as good and true as it is beautiful."
—Jerome W. Berryman, executive director, Center for the Theology of Childhood
"This is an absorbing book that moves seamlessly between an imaginative reading of Christian texts and compassionate insights from personal experience. It transforms the chaos of parenting into an 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
From the Inside Flap
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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Top Customer Reviews
Who will think of parenting as a spiritual practice? Who will think of parenting as being spiritual? For most of us parents, parenting is just basic survival, living day to day. Bonnie Miller-McLemore's book catchy title, In the Midst of Chaos captures the messy aspect of parenting exactly. It also throws a new perspective on parenting.
Bonnie is no ordinary mum. She is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at Vanderblit University Divinity School. I wonder what it will be like to have a theologian as your mother. In this book, she invites us to "...(by) rethinking parenting as an invitation to discover God in the middle of our busy and overstuffed lives..." Taking the ordinary task and routine of parenting, Bonnie shows us how to be "contemplating in chaos." She invites us to take kids seriously, dealing justly with them, playing the field (x-box, soccer etc) with them, read from Seuss to Scripture and finally to blessing and letting go.
This is a good read for parents who are struggling with being parents in the midst of chaos. God, have mercy.