Friday, October 29, 2010

I was asked to participate in a spiritual mentoring program at a church using a book that draws upon the biblical mandate in Titus 2:3-5 --
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Biblical mandate. I know, right?

I'm put off by the intentionality of this because relationships ought to form naturally. For instance, when I first volunteered to teach, I was friended socially by another who became an informal mentor, most memorably recommending the prayer of the rosary to me, and otherwise setting a fine example.

Was I just lucky then? True, I haven't experienced a similar relationship since.

This isn't at a Catholic church.

Particulars aside, the proposal, as well as my other reading, has made me aware that I'm not in the habit of putting into practice specific scriptural advice, like mentoring. The tendency can't be found in the popular Catholic ethos and that concerns me.


Kathleen@so much to say said...

The fault for the lack of mentoring is on both sides. Experienced women need to make themselves available, but young women need to ask. But making it an issue that people think about is the first step. These are things we are not as good at as our Protestant brethren (and "sistren").

kkollwitz said...

"putting into practice specific scriptural advice"

Yes. As a kind of exercise I did just that with "whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers" decades ago, and it made a huge difference in my life.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

You know, sometimes our modern words can be the problem. When I was growing up we were taught to live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and told to do it in the opportunities God sent our way.

So "mentoring" is a spiritual work of mercy - "Counsel the doubtful" and the scripture gives us a specific in the case of older women advising younger women. The fact that a non-Catholic church has a formal program is good because it allows for people to ask and people to answer that particular call.

Without a formal program, we do not know who is asking and who is answering, but we cannot assume that it is not happening.

I am impressed that any group would take the role of women so seriously as to offer this. Christianity is so counter-cultural!

Joann said...

Here's my two cents, Teresa:
I'm not put off by such a group because gifts and offices, such as counsel and teaching, are not personal rewards or adornments, they are meant to be used for the good of the Church. The good thing about such a group is that those who join, in essence, give permission to be instructed and are open, rather than defensive, when instructed.

As to relationships: I think they form with opportunity and this is such an opportunity. Relationships, generally speaking, take proximity, time and mutual willingness; the rest comes, as you say, naturally.