Scolding Spirituality

frowning nunMany of us grew up with what I call a scolding spirituality. It was completely focused on what NOT to do. That can seem like a really good idea if you are in the thought and behavior control business, but it’s not very pleasant if you are on the receiving end of it. There is also a practical problem inherent in it. If you get to the point where you have effectively memorized all of the things you aren’t allowed to do and managed not to do them, what comes next? It’s true that not many people manage to memorize the list of what not to do. A more likely scenario is that since scolding spirituality never transforms the heart – because fear cannot possibly transform the heart – the moment someone gets out from under their spiritual supervisor (whether parent, pastor, or Mother Angelica) they run wild. Finally free to try new things and see what the world has to offer, they become a bull in a china shop. This is the classic story of the child of the over protective parent who was a superlative student in high school coming home after the first semester of their freshman year of college having flunked out. Healthy spirituality is never scolding!

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