“Faith can be caught, not taught”

“Faith can be caught, not taught”

“There is no guarantee that a child will choose to believe or want to live a Christian life later on. And we must not brainwash them in any way. It will be their choice. They need to know why and how the Christian faith is believed to be true—to hear clear answers that demonstrate that Christianity fits into reality like a key into a lock.

They need to be introduced to the living person of Jesus, who is a shepherd seeking them, loving them. He is there; this must be no school lesson. It is terrible to turn this amazing person into a lesson. Children must catch the scent, the scene, the wonder of who He is. If they are used to being interested and moved by other stories, the person or persons in this story will reach them more easily. His Word is the best way to learn about God and His way of working in real history. Love is a great attraction for people, and if children are able to understand this “old, old story of Jesus and His love,”  their hearts often open to the Savior who is the source of love, goodness, beauty and abundant life. Children love in return. They appreciate mercy. They respond to kindness. They care passionately about fairness. Jesus is all these things and more.”

—from “The Value of Charlotte Mason’s Work for Today” by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay in When Children Love to Learn edited by Elaine Cooper.

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  • Quick question, Melanie.  What other Waugh books are we talking about here?

    Starting off your Waugh experience by reading Brideshead is a bit like reading A Tale of Two Cities before you get to any other Dickens.  It’s not really all that typical of his work, in my opinion.

    His satirical style is much less on display in Brideshead, I think.  And he does not walk anywhere near as close to the “mean-spirited” cliff in it as he does in his other works.  (Like Vile Bodies, for example.)  So, a post-Revisited let-down is almost unavoidable.  He’s not the man you thought you knew.


    (I must admit to having a great deal of fun with The Loved One, even though it is very, very pointed.)

  • Specifically what prompted this post and the earlier one about Waugh was my recent reading of the Sword of Honour trilogy. I’ve also read Vile Bodies, Handful of Dust, Decline and Fall, and Helena (which I posted on previously as well).

    Perhaps once I get used to it not being the same as BR, I’ll come to like his other work for what it is. But it could also simply not be my thing. Time will tell and a judicious re-reading at some point in the future. After all, I didn’t really like Brideshead the first time I read it.

  • Ah, I see.  I didn’t quite do my homework.  (Not sure how I missed the previous Waugh post.  I shall never forgive myself.)

    Interesting that you didn’t care for BR much the first time through.  Perhaps the same thing will happen with the others.

    Why did you decide to give Brideshead another try?  Would the same things you came to appreciate in that work be things you might suspect would crop up in the others?

    I’m a big believer in the idea that “some books don’t work for some readers.”  So that’s an option, as well.

  • No problem, I think the previous post had scrolled off the front page. I should have included a link to it; but I was being lazy. (I’ve since added one.)

    I think I decided to re-read Brideshead because I’d been hearing so much about it from Catholic bloggers. And because of an excerpt in Catholic World Report that I had no recollection of having seen before.

    I don’t even recall when I originally read it; but I was not ready for it, being more immature in my faith and knowing nothing at all about Waugh.

    Also, when I re-read it I was reading more slowly. It is a personal fault that on my first reading of most books (unless I’m reading them for a class) I tend to gobble them whole, reading almost exclusively to find out what happens next, missing most of the details and with very little recall afterward.

    Which is why it’s entirely possible that on a later re-read I’ll enjoy other Waugh books more. On the other hand, as you say, it could be that he’s really not my cup of tea.