In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice
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More About This Title In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice


Theologian, mother, and writer Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore gives us some answers to this question and shows us how to integrate and strengthen the practice of faith in the everyday (and often mundane) experience of raising children. In the Midst of Chaos reveals what it takes to find the spiritual wisdom in the messy, familial ways of living. By rethinking parenting as an invitation to discover God in the middle of our busy and overstuffed lives, it relieves parents of the burden of being the all-knowing authority figures who impart spiritual knowledge to children. Finding spirituality in family activities such as reading bedtime stories, dividing household chores, and playing games can empower parents to notice what they are already doing as potentially valuable and to practice it more consciously as part of their own faith journey.


Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore is the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Pastoral Theology at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, author of a previous book on children from Jossey-Bass (Let the Children Come, 2003), and a respected scholar in theology.


Editor’s Foreword.


Chapter 1: Contemplating in Chaos.

Chapter 2: Sanctifying the Ordinary.

Chapter 3: Pondering All These Things.

Chapter 4: Taking Kids Seriously.

Chapter 5: Giving unto Others . . . But What About Myself?

Chapter 6: Doing Justice and Walking Humbly with Kids.

Chapter 7: Playing the Field: Xbox, Soccer, and Other Fun Family Games.

Chapter 8: Take, Read: From Seuss to Scripture.

Chapter 9: Blessing and Letting Go.


The Author.



"Parents fear that because they can’t find the time and silence needed for prayer in the all-consuming whirlwind of caring for children, faith must be put on hold. In the Midst of Chaos challenges this assumption. Through personal stories, biblical text, and the ideas of religious thinkers and child psychologists, this book offers a fresh perspective on faith that reclaims routine practices of family as deeply spiritual."
—Michele Borba, author, 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know

"The seriousness with which Miller-McLemore takes up the exhausting topic of postmodern parenting is not only refreshing; it illuminates as much as it surprises. In the burgeoning arena of Christian practice writing, In the Midst of Chaos stands at the very top of the list."
—Serene Jones, Titus Street Professor of Theology, Yale University Divinity School

"What does it mean to ‘sanctify the ordinary,’ to ‘redeem the waking, walking, buzzing routine itself’? With wonderful honesty and a wisdom born of informed theological reflection, sound cultural critique, and the lived experience of parenting three boys, Bonnie J. Miller-Mclemore helps us to ponder and to clarify the deep questions that stir in those of us who raise families, hold down jobs, and want our faith to mean something in the real world."
—Wendy M. Wright, professor of theology, Creighton University; author, Seasons of a Family’s Life

"The flip of chaos and flop of quiescence are rejected in favor of finding God’s presence in the living complexity of every day. This deeply pondered and theologically literate book will not let you go without a blessing because the print will not stay on the pages. It is as good and true as it is beautiful."
—Jerome W. Berryman, executive director, Center for the Theology of Childhood

"This is an absorbing book that moves seamlessly between an imaginative reading of Christian texts and compassionate insights from personal experience. It transforms the chaos of parenting into an arena for spiritual practice in which parents discover the 'clearest truths about our deepest values.'"
—Herbert Anderson, visiting professor of pastoral theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley