God’s will

  There is a second way in which confusion about God's will leads to passivity in women.
That is the supposition that God's will is a detailed plan for every aspect of our lives,
so that discernment is not a matter of adult reflection and decision,
but a feat of finding the hidden preplan and then simply conforming to it.

—Kathleen Fischer, Women at the Well: Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Direction
courtesy of Jane Redmont on Facebook

I would contend that while this may indeed be a greater danger for women, it is in fact a risk for men as well.

Phillip Cary, in his book Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don't Have to Do, makes a similar argument. The book, which is geared to college-age women and men, takes on a number of positions held in the evangelical community which Cary maintains are harmful to young people.

Cary takes a similar position to Fischer's about finding God's will, but says that what you need to be doing is looking at scripture rather than finding that elusive inner revelation. I certainly agree more with Fischer's approach of "adult reflection and decision," but Fischer and Cary are in agreement about behaving as autonomous, responsible adults and not looking for some message etched in stone which we must then execute without thought.

This hits close to home, because this was the kind of indoctrination I got as a high school teenager in my local church youth group in the late 1960's and early 1970's. I rejected this notion fairly early on, but I'm sure it is a troubling matter for those who haven't. And it seems to be a persistent theme in some circles. Fischer's book was published in 1988 and Cary's last October.

I'm glad that people like Fischer and Cary are out there reminding people that this is not necessarily the best approach to take in finding one's direction in life.



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