The Broken Chain

The Broken Chain

How do we learn language? Or gardening? Or baking? Or woodwork?

Chances are, we learned from our parents and grandparents. Following them around. Getting underfoot. Begging to try to glue those boards or roll that pastry. We speak the language they spoke to us. We tend to hold the same worldview as they did. But what happens when those role models are removed?

We need look no further than our own First Nations communities for the answer to that question. These were highly developed groups with a rich oral tradition. But when the Sixties scoop and the Residential Schools took children away from their role models, their language givers, that chain of cultural inheritance was broken. The history, the stories were lost, and the tragic results are only too much with us.

It's the same with Christianity. Don Grayston said once that we lived in the first post-Christian era, a horrifying thought. We look around our own church and see how few children are learning the richness of Christian heritage from their parents and grandparents. The chain, with my generation, was, if not totally broken, very much weakened.

The sixties was a heady time in which to grow up. Old norms and values were kicked aside and we strode into that brave new world. Did I take my own children to church? No, the chain was broken with me. So many times I have heard--oh, my children can decide when they grow up if they want to go to church. Well, obviously, that wasn't so. They can't. You can't want what you don't know. Or can you?

There are many, many folk, young and older, who desperately need a spiritual anchor in their lives. They seem fairly sure they won't find it in the mainstream churches.... They want 'spirituality' without 'religion'.

Those of us who weakened the chain, must needs find a way to reforge it. I just wish I knew how.