Waldorf and Christianity: Are They Compatible?
Once upon a time, when my kids were much younger, I had a different blog. On that blog, I wrote about homeschooling with a Waldorf philosophy. The name of that blog was Renaissance Mama. Eventually, as my kids got older, out of respect for their privacy, it felt right for me to take that blog offline. But I also wrote some guest posts during those early years. Those are still available on other people’s blogs. It was one of those guest posts, about Waldorf education, which recently brought me in touch with a young mother who had some thoughtful questions for me.
Her questions invited me to draw a sort of bridge between what I wrote about then and what I write about now- the Waldorf philosophy and Christianity. I’m interested in doing some deeper thinking (and writing) beyond the short answers I was recently able to give her. I also want to pray about these things. For now, I want to share with you, here, our conversation (paraphrased), for anyone who has had similar questions.
If you are the Renaissance Mama who wrote at The Magic Onions, I hope you'll take some time and read what I have to say. My heart is troubled. I have Christian friends who warn me that Waldorf can be damaging to the faith -when in my perspective it isn't the case. They warn me about the fairytales, a big part of the early childhood years in Waldorf. They said these stories take away the glory from God. When I read your entry from the Magic Onions and you mentioned giving honor to our Creator, my eyes lit up. Oh! She might be a Bible-believing Christian! So here I am at your blog, so excited. Then I try to look for a Waldorf related blog entry but there is none. Did your views on Waldorf change?
Thank you for writing to me! Yes, I did write under the name, Renaissance Mama. Your letter brought back sweet memories for me as I went and looked back at what I had written on The Magic Onions and thought about those early years with my children. I am a Bible believing Christian and I did embrace much of the Waldorf philosophy when my children were younger. I don't write about Waldorf anymore because I have a new blog with a new focus (trusting in Jesus). Also, my kids are much older now. But you've certainly given me a lot to think about (and maybe even to write about).
I’ve always been cautious about some parts of Waldorf. Yet, I felt like it was easily adaptable to my Christian beliefs. That deep reverence and gratitude towards the natural world, a big part of Waldorf, is something I appreciate, but always with a caveat...we worship the Creator, not the created.
I can see why some Christian friends might be concerned, particularly in regards to Anthroposophy (which I do have some problems with). I would not want to direct anyone in the wrong direction, and I'm probably more cautious about these things, now, than I was when I had the Renaissance Mama blog. At the time when my kids were younger, I don't think I thought as deeply about how Waldorf was compatible (or not) with Christianity. Now, I’m thinking more deeply…but I still don't have all my thoughts sorted out. I wish I could give you better answers.
The fairy tales didn’t concern me- and they still don't. (I’ll explain more on this, later.)
So to answer your question...I don't think my views on Waldorf have changed…much. I was, and still am, cautious. There were a lot of good ideas that we used from Waldorf that I see, even now, as beneficial. I don't know if I got it all right. I hope that I didn't introduce any ideas to my kids that could be harmful towards their faith. I'm so thankful to God for his grace and his protection over my children, even when I mess up. I think it's important to always be testing our philosophies against the truth of the Bible, to pray often, to be cautious, and to think deeply about any ideas we embrace. I'm glad you're doing that. God bless you.
As I wrote to this dear lady, I knew that I would need more time and thought to properly answer her questions. I would like to write more about fairy tales and Christianity, in particular. So be looking for that here, soon.
Finally, I’ll leave you with two verses that came to mind from this conversation, one that has long been a great comfort to me as a mother- a mom who wants to get it right, in all that I do with my kids, yet a mom who makes mistakes and needs grace,
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.
The other verse is a challenge,
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;” 1 Thess. 5:21