Wednesday, September 23, 2009

God Fearing

I was reading a mommy-blog this morning and she was talking about her sister. I don't have a sister, nor do I have what I would call a very close relationship with my older brother and my my younger brother is still in college and we don't see him much, but man, I love that kid. Her post intrigued me, until she described her sister and I couldn't stop thinking about it after that. She described her sister as, "one of the nicest, most understanding and forgiving, God fearing, relaxed people I know." The "God Fearing" part just struck a chord with me.

I was raised catholic and have baptised my children in the catholic faith, but I wouldn't be what you would call a "good catholic girl." I had pre-marital sex (oh my!), lie and swear quite frequently (no, shit?) , don't take my children to church (gasp!), don't say grace before dinner (Rubba, dub, dub, thanks for the grub!), don't have my children say prayers before bed (now you want me to read a book and say a prayer? I've got to watch Glee at some point here.) and take the Lord's name in vain (Jesus!). But, let's get back to the God Fearing thing.

God Fearing...why is this considered a positive trait? Should I fear God, my creator? Should I live my life thinking that my choices are going to anger God to the point where he's going to be mad at me and I should fear his reaction?

I make thousands of choices and decisions per day. As a teacher alone, I answer 1,500 questions. It's not as simple as it sounds. For example, "Can I go to the bathroom?" The answer to this question is a simple yes or no, but the impact on the child is far from simple. I have to take into account, did I just let this person leave the room for something? Will they miss something important while they are gone? Did a friend of their's from another classroom walk by and that's why they want to go? Thousands of choices and decisions that I am held accountable by myself, my students, their parents, my principal and now also God? Should I fear that God wanted me to let little Johnny use the bathroom during his math test??

If I am God fearing, should I be authority fearing? Since God is seen as an authority figure, should I fear all authoritative figures? When I first began teaching, I was fearful of my principal. She was not supportive and caring. When she walked into my classroom, I froze, got beat-red and by the end of my two years there would break out in hives whenever she would talk to me, look at me or email me. Is this the kind of fear I should have for God?

As a catholic we are taught to fear authority. Do what the priest says, or you'll go to hell. Vote how the Bishop tells you to vote, or you'll GO TO HELL. Pray everyday, go to church every week, get married only once, don't have sex before you're married, read the bible, respect your elders, Go to CCD, give money to the church out of your paycheck even if you're on food stamps, be pro-life, don't use contraceptives, don't use the Lord's name in vain, don't ask questions or YOU'LL GO TO HELL.

What kind of God is like that?

Not my God.

I am a very spiritual and religious person, but I don't fear God. Do you?


Liz said...

To me, God-Fearing means believing in God and being spiritual. I don't think there is any reason to actually FEAR God. I would consider myself God-fearing but only in the definition that I believe in God, I go to church (infrequently, but I still go) and I pray (maybe not before meals - Bless us oh save us said Mrs O'Davis as she fell down the stairs with a peck of potatoes.)

Amanda said...

Let me just tell you how much I loved reading this post Pam. I was not raised in the Catholic Church. I am a Christian.. I attended a liberally minded church.. I was married in that church to a man who was raised of the Catholic faith.

Let me tell you.. I've never had "the fear of god" instilled in me.. and like you so eloquently put it, "Not my God."

Anonymous said...

This is why I'm not Catholic anymore. I consider myself Christian (Jesus is my home-boy) but I worship at an Evangelical Lutheran Church. It's like low-cal Catholic. All of the fun, none of the guilt. --Leigh Anne

Hayley said...

Hey - I totally came on here to try and find out a bout some quilting pics or something about a rotary cutter, then started to read this. I have to say that I totally disagree. and it's your beleive and I respect that :) your way of seeing things and mive are two totally different things as any two people would, but I am God Fearing in the literal sence. Is God a caring, loving, forgiving God who loves us? Yes. Do I beleive that if I sin, which I do often, that God can forgive me if I ask for it? Yes. But is it also possible that if I as a beleiver don't follow the laws that are stated in the bible that God will punush me? I beleive so. Is it possible that I will simply be punished in stead of going straight to hell? I honestly hope so. But if I beleive that God is the almighty. That he is the creater and ruler of all things. That the 'meaning' of my life is to be here and serve him as best that I can, then I also beleive that he can take it all away if I don't obey his word. It is "his will" as they say. So yes, I am God Fearing. But not in a way that makes me mistrust or cowr away from him, but in a very respectful way. I take it as God means business. If he didn't, then what's the point?

Jennifer said...

Hey Pam,
I like your post- especially your Edward you are part of my 6 degrees of separation from Edward! Thank you :)
I also thought your God Fearing post was witty. I did want to make one little observation about comparing your heart stopping principal to fearing God. Your principal doesn’t love you as a daughter she didn’t bless you with a wonderful husband or two amazing kids, God did. Instead of God fearing I would say that the relationship should be more about love and respect. After someone sins they shouldn’t think about how God will hurt them for it, but they should think about how that sin has hurt their Father. You know, you’re a parent. You wouldn’t let your kids stick their fingers in electrical outlets because you know they will get hurt. You discipline your children because you love them and because you want them to have the best life possible. “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 When it comes down to it we should follow God because He loves us and we love Him.
My comment was far less witty than yours, but I hope it got the point across ;)
Xoxo Jennifer

Pam said...

I did not think this little blog would get all this attention, I just never really thought about being described as "god fearing" before I read your blog entry, Jennifer! I am red in the face thinking that you read my blog! Yikes! You make an excellent point about God vs. my old principal. She doesn't love me as He does and she thrived on making people feel uncomfortable and I was frightened of her (and had the hives to prove it!). I am not scared of God, although sometimes, I am scared of his plans for me!