Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Duggar Faith: Always Moving Forward

One thing that has always attracted me to this family is the fact that nothing seems to knock them down. Granted that there hasn't been much TO knock them down. Up until Josie's birth their life has pretty much been gravy. Although if you read their book, you'll find that isn't exactly true. It's their TV life that's been gravy, they actually worked pretty hard to earn their gravy life. They've made some business mistakes, learned from them, and moved forward. But that's one theme about the Duggars, they always seem to be moving forward.

Regardless of their religious preference, which doesn't particularly atrract me; or their political stances, that don't stir me; that one bit of positivity does. This family is a constant moving entity that is growing, ever changing, yet always re-examining itself. One thing that caught my attention that they do every day is read the Proverb that coresponds to that day, and then discuss it. Well that's something I could do--Jews have the Proverbs in the Tanakh. But what got me wondering, if after years of doing this, wouldn't it get tedious? Then I remembered Michelle's description, they apply it to their day. And no Duggar day is ever the say. They aren't talking about the verse itself and discussing the verse itself--yes that could get tedious month after month--you'd have it memorized and the meaning memorized--but applying it to your day month after month--each person's day--when each person had a different day, a different outlook towards the day as they grow, would be quite different.

A service for me is the same every Friday night. We follow the same service printed in the Sidur, depending on the time of the month or the year, some of the words may change in the prayers, but essentially it's always the same. Yet, as a mother of a toddler, I'm often finding myself coming and going from the room and not always able to follow the service from beginning to end. When you pick up a book and start it from a different place every week, you notice things you've never seen and they stick in your head. I've found great peace and knowledge during that service, which I'm sure on it's face, could have sounded quite dull--it's ok to say that--we've all been to dull Sunday services, yet still gotten something out of them. The point is that every week something is different even if it is the same and that in itself is a way of moving forward.

I don't know how the Duggars choose to do their Bible study, they haven't shared that with us. Jews read it in Parsha format. Each week of the Jewish year (different than the regular year) the Torah is divided into a Parsha so you read the entire Torah in one entire year: beginning and ending with Rosh Hashanah--Jewish New Year. The Torah being the first 5 books of Moses (Genesus, Exodos, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers). The rest of the books of what you'd call the "Old Testament" are called the Haftorah and those are used to supplement the study of the weekly readings. However they choose to do their Bible study, I doubt even the Duggars when they study the same lesson twice, have the same emotion twice. Because when you read scripture you're never in the same place emotionally and emotion is part of interpretation and takes bearing on scritural study. It wouldn't surprise me at all if some of the kids had taken on the task of reading the entire Bible cover to cover. Moving forward.

One quote Jim Bob likes to use when tackling a huge problem is "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Deep down and probably away from a camera where he's "camera goofy" he's not a stupid man. He knows how to tackle problems and fix them or at least identify them and acknowledge that you might have to wait for them to be fixed. Patience while looking ahead to the future--eating that elephant one bite at a time--moving forward, even a bit slowly.

This family will continue to move forward. They'll do it in their own Duggar way with their usual Duggar spirit and their famous Duggar trust in G-d. I have no doubt in that.


  1. Just a quick little correction:

    It's the book of Proverbs that they read that corresponds to each day. Proverbs has 31 chapters, so many Christians read Proverbs 1 on the 1st, Proverbs 2 on the 2nd, etc.

    Mrs P

  2. You are totally right...Proverbs...I shouldn't write these the minute I wake up! hehehe Thank you :)

  3. I love this post. ♥ I'm really enjoying your writing. xoxox

  4. As someone from the UK I was really suprised at first with the Duggars' faith, just because I'd never come accross the conservative baptist viewpoint before. As we've seen more and certainly read more about them and their faith you begin to see how much it is a part of them and why there are now who they are.
    I have no idea about whether their faith 'fits' into a particular slot, I know a lot of people can get quite heated regarding whether they are Gothard spokes-people or just quite like parts of what Gothard has to say, but I have to say that I just see the Duggars doing their best to apply all that they learn to their lives. As they have benefited from praying decisions through and giving control of their life to God they seem to be reaping the rewards.
    I think what interests me is how many people have had their faith influenced by the Duggars and moved forward. Many of these seem to be of different denomination and perhaps even religion. But seeing a family making their faith a central part of their life and having so many positives come from that, seems to make viewers/fans reassess where they are with their faith.
    Michelle said that in their Home church they had speakers or sometimes watched DVD's - it would be so interesting to know what they are studying etc I would love to find out more about their faith just because it has inspired me - but here's an interesting question...
    As one of the commandments, we Christians and Jews too (? Marybeth) are told to worship God and no-one else. Ok simplified I know but do you think that the Duggars run the risk of people beginning to worship them (possibly without meaning to) and not God, if the fans emulate the Duggars in their faith. Is that why some of the faith issues get shared but we don't see their home church or their fellowship much. Or perhaps we do get all that and it's just me wanting more of that and less of the trips out and about...

  5. Chris, that's a very very VERY good point--havy to do with what i'd call "idol worship"...but when i wrote about Jim Bob in the "cult leader" post...personally I think they gleaned some information from here and there, took what they liked, and moved forward with their lives...I don't think, personal opinion here, that they are true Gothard followers--just because I don't think Jim Bob himself could FOLLOW anyone--other than Christ--because he's too loud, too public, too vocal, too on TV--he's not a follower in general...I think he did probably take some of the Gothard ideas and applied them to their lives, but I don't think their family is a true Gothard family...

    I think their home church came more out of necessity than out of true Gothard teaching--it may have started with a Gothard idea...but after their family got so large I don't think getting to church on time was ever a liklihood for them, as they've mentioned...and since Gothard doesn't "approve" of going to outside churches at all...and the Duggars DO go to outside churches--they're going to one every Sunday in Little Rock..and they do have a "church home" in Tonitown--the one they got married in (twice)...kind of shoots down those that believe they are Gothards through and through.

    Another point is the Bates family who don't home church. They go to a Southern Baptist church every Sunday and yet they are an ATI family as much as the Duggars are--that's how they met. And ATI is supposed to be Gothard territory from what I understand. So I think that home church just became something that was just easier for them to do once Michelle was always pregnant and they had all the little ones.

    There is some Biblical precedence for the man leading the home and in prayer and I think that's where it came from. Someone who knows the Bible better than I do will have to help with that one. But I go to Chabad and that's in the Rabbi's home--same idea, but Jewish, only all Jews are welcome.

  6. If you read the book of Acts you will find that initially all Christians met in homes. This book is the story of the early church after Christ died and I find it fascinating reading.

    As for the Duggars and ATI and Gothard, I think your are right Mary Beth. They certainly teach things like the 49 character traits as outlined by Bill Gothard and if you read those traits they are great for anyone to live by and to raise their children to follow. Their home schooling convention is also ATI and is connected to the Bill Gothard site, but many of these people do not appear to follow the same standards of dress, etc as the Duggars, the Bates and the Jeubs. They just have a common belief in Christianity, home schooling and conservative Christian values.

    If you go to the site advertising the conventions for this year you will see the Bates in one of the picture banners at the top of a page. The Duggars are not prominently featured. The categories for the children using terms such as "cadets" are very similar to our "pathfinders", the Baptist Awana girls and boys, and Girl and Boy scouts. Kids like uniforms and military nuances and all the groups offer these. It doesn't mean they have plans to "take over the world" as some claim.

  7. I'll be the first to admit i've never researched anything about Gothard or ATI just watched everything Duggar and read their book and everytime something about the Duggars shows up in People or whatever I read it...and frankly I've never seen anything Gothard in any of that...of course that doesn't mean anything...but like i said, i think they probably got into it in the beginning, took what they liked and moved on...Jim Bob just doesn't grab me as a follower of any person--and ATI doesn't sound like a cult, it sounds like a networking conference...and if I weren't Jewish, I'd probably try it out myself...

  8. I am fascinated with the Duggars 'Homechurch' because it seems to be very similar to what was happening in Acts in those very early days... also because our 16th century church with victorian pews is preventing me from attending a Sunday service at the moment.
    I chat with some people that i've met through Duggar fan fb pages and many of them share conservative beliefs or homeschooling etc Some go to the homeschooling conferences and one was contemplating an ATI course. They certainly aren't all Gothard people but may have many things in common. I'm becoming more of the opinion that the Duggars don't want to be following anyone but God. Just my opinion of course :)