did we lose god from guiding?

>>  Thursday, February 06, 2014

Sometime ago I wrote that I thought it was about time to review the Guiding Promise, I thought society as a whole had moved on and the promise that included 'to love my God' was excluding too many people to make it relevant to the all inclusive Guiding movement of today.

As luck would have it, the powers that be felt the same way and there was a consultation where all members were asked for their opinion.

The result was a new promise.  We no longer promise 'to love my God', we promise 'To be true to myself and develop my beliefs'.

This has caused great consternation in some and in a few marked cases has caused units to threaten to leave the movement completely.  But so far there is no compromise.  The promise is the promise and it is here to stay.

Most importantly we must all say one promise. Girlguiding believes in the value of learning by doing. This is put into practise through a Method with five interlinking elements, known as the Five Essentials of guiding, the last of these is 'sharing a commitment to a common standard'.  The main part of that is the promise and the laws.

I can still see my God in the promise, but taken at face value it has caused some, including Church leaders, to question whether the change is a step too far.

I read this recently.  It is a most succinct description of exactly how I feel.  Please go and read the whole piece, but I will quote some of what this vicar wrote for you here.

"... the improvement that struck me is that it replaces a static sense of duty with a commitment to development. It is now much more akin to the promises made at baptism or confirmation.

'To do my duty to God' is a promise that embodies a very static, hierarchical view of God and our relationship with him/her. The implication is that this 'duty' is a given, and our only valid option is to obey and do what we are told. Whereas the new promise embraces an understanding of faith and life as something that is, ideally, always growing. I'm still not entirely sold on 'being true to myself', but the more I think about it, the more I love the promise to 'develop my beliefs'.
In fact, this is a far more significant and far more religiously profound promise to make. It commits the new Guide to taking faith seriously, whatever their current beliefs. It commits her to working for her faith development, to accepting, and desiring, that her beliefs will change and grow.
In the church, we spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to achieve culture change from maintenance to mission, from a consumer view of church to a participant view, from a static receptive idea of being a member to a dynamic proactive one."

As a movement we do so much to develop girls in the 'right' direction, we work hard.  In all of our aims, vision statements, methods, programs etc I see a solid underlying religious ethos.  Whether that is Christianity or any other. We have a core of  'be nice to your fellow human, do nice stuff, learn how to make a difference and be part of that difference'.  It seems we are taking a bit of flack right now for a few words but if the actual difference we make as a movement was viewed, it would look like a huge iceberg with a few words poking out of the water with a world of good underneath.


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