Faithful Families is a thoughtful, practical guide to teaching by doing – to integrating prayer, tradition, Scripture, and ritual into the routines of a normal, busy family.
– Rachel Held Evans
A few years ago I began a project that I called a 40 Day Sabbath, or A Sabbath Experiment. In this experiment, I spent time reading and studying the history of sabbath, other people’s experiments with making the Sabbath a regular part of their lives, and considering what sort of relevance it has for the busyness of the 21st century. I ultimately determined that Sabbath is more about a perspective and way of being than a set of rules or a specific day of the week. As I realized this, I began lifting up what I called “sabbath moments,” opportunities in our daily life to reorient ourselves to the presence of God in every moment and recognize those things that God sanctifies (makes holy) surrounding us every day. Unfortunately, I only heard about Traci Smith’s book Seamless Faith after completing my 40 day experiment. However, since discovering her work I have followed her closely by signing up for her newsletter and following her blog. I was very happy to hear about the reprinting of Seamless Faith, now, Faithful Families, and with more practices! It paid to wait! Here I have found an author and pastor seeking to do much the same as what I sought to do with my sabbath experiment – lift up the sanctity of any moment through practice, intention, and doing faith. As Rachel Held Evans mentions in her foreword, Faithful Families “illuminates the sacred in the everyday,” recognizing a myriad of opportunities to look for God “hiding in plain sight.”
Faithful Families is a user-friendly resource, combining the value of a cookbook or a playbook, but for a household’s life together. It is not a book one needs to read from front to back. It is not a book just for parents, but for grandparents, godparents, minsters, and teachers. It is broken into three parts: traditions, ceremonies, and spiritual practices. Each of the 50 ideas comes with suggested ages, materials, time investment, how to, and additional notes to ensure a meaningful experience. The book begins with frequently asked questions and tips on creating a sacred space in your home. Supplemental materials at the back help grandparents and ministers discover the best ways to use the ideas in their context. There are plenty of note pages for a family to jot down their own ideas and favorite family practices too.
As a minister to youth, children, and families, I look forward to sharing this resource as well as using it to highlight different events and milestones throughout the year. One of the first ways I’ll do that is by leading an event at an upcoming family camp where we will take time to talk about the importance of being a “faithful family,” why people of all ages need rituals and traditions, and how we can best incorporate some of these ideas into our daily lives. I look forward to the conversations that will ensue.
As a Godmother and aunt, I look forward to the next time I get a visit from my nieces and nephews. I now have a special way to mark our goodbye with the Separating from Family after a Visit, found in the Ceremonies section. What a beautiful way to remember our time together and also practice that hard thing – saying goodbye.
Thank you, Traci for putting together such a thoughtful resource for so many people to use. It’s a great place for any young family wishing to share meaningful moments with their children, or even just together, to start living their faith in the way they always hoped to.