Friday, March 11, 2011

Catching up on my reading

I have been working throughout the break to catch up on my reading of the blogs that I "follow." I say "follow" in that really that just means that I am subscribed to them on google reader and after about a month's hiatus I try to make it through all of them.

Anyhow, I was reading a post on Millennial Catholic (which I must have heard out about through Mary's Aggies) that offered a reflection on the Gospel reading from a few weeks ago. I remember thinking at the time how pertinent this passage was and is to my life right now because in it Jesus addresses the human tendency to worry. Through a lot of beautiful imagery and analogies, He essentially says, "Don't worry about it, yo! God provides for those whom He loves. And He loves you A LOT." My favorite line is this:
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
~Matthew 6:26. Read the full passage here.
What really struck me about Millennial Catholic's post, however, was a few paragraphs in which it addressed what is called "functional atheism" by an author named Parker Palmer.
Functional atheism “is the belief that ultimate responsibility for everything rests with me. It is a belief held even among people whose theology affirms a higher power than the human self, people who do not understand themselves as atheists but whose behavior belies their beliefs! Functional atheism is an unconscious belief that leads to workaholic behavior, to burn-out, to stressed and strained and broken relationships, to unhealthy priorities. Functional atheism is the unexamined conviction within us that if anything decent is going to happen here, I am the one who needs to make it happen."
This was most striking to me, I believe, because I see it taking hold of a lot of people in my life. Honestly, it's even taken a hold of me some this year as I struggle with the difficulties of being a first-year teacher (and a teacher in New Orleans at that!). It's easy to think that everything depends upon me, because in a great part the success of my students does depend upon my work in- and outside of the classroom (and also because that's kind of what Teach for America teaches us corps members -- see Academic Impact Model, addressed briefly here).
But I have to remember that there is One who is above it all, and that in truth, I must place all of my cares on Him and trust that He is doing what He wills in my life--so long as I let Him.

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