the gospel mean and wild.

"it is by warfare the soul makes progress." 
{abba john the dwarf}

"it is the essence of the sin of the garden to re-imagine God as the mythical tolerant god." 
{dean waldt}

the more my kids develop as individuals, the less useful i find gospel presentation. those cute little Bible board books & flannel graphs, although have their place, have become increasingly limited in their redeeming power as my kids age. more and more i find my fingers scrambling for tools of gospel application. time for them to meet the real person. the real power and truth. Jesus.

"it is a spiritual gift from God for man to perceive his sin."
{st. isaac of syria}

with a constant tornado of evolving carnality needing to be diffused, i find myself ill equipped in really digging to the eye of the storm or the root of the problem. they were born in a clump. and their issues seem to clump and interweave and feed each other so you don't know when one ends and the other starts. sibling grappling, truth spinning, boisterously brilliant self-expression, they keep me on my toes. instead of the clear communication of "no" to their brother, they catapult their message from the banisher high dive landing their feelings in a graceful bellyflop on top of their unsuspecting sibling. instead of coming clean right away with the truth that they had indeed pinched their sister's bottom to get a reaction, they spin an elaborate story about how their fingers, possessed with injustice, took it upon themselves to sheriff the situation and how they really had no control at all in making them stop.  they have creatively re-invented discipline into discipleship for me. taken the words punishment & penalty from me and inserted equipping but costly consequential life, learning. i am not raising mindless lemmings and my goal is not obedience.  it's to know Jesus. uncut, unedited and in full. Jesus redeemer & rule breaker. Jesus, the untamable God.  

" on the whole, i do not find christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. does anyone have the foggiest idea of what sort of power we so blithely invoke? or, as i suspect, does no one believe a word of it?" 
{anne dillard}

"woe to the person who smoothly, flirtatiously, commandingly, convincingly preaches some soft, sweet something which is supposed to be christianity!"
 {soren kierkegaard}

i don't just want to keep my kids in line or keep them from making mistakes & spilling milk. kid's are professional mistake makers and this is how they learn. i want to be more about the motivation and less about the don'ts. more about that complicated but tremendous muscle, the heart. less about the surface observation of improper behaviour. but this is a tall, tall task, one with no match to it's intensity. until i realized, Jesus is not some passive meek person. He was kind and good but He was also dangerous & unpredictable. our christian culture has emasculated Him. watered Him down to some trickling brook not the earth trembling, tsunami that He is.

"at first i thought, it's ok. nothing bad is going to happen. a few seconds later the wave hit the road, and i thought, now i die." 
{tiina seppanen, tsunami survivor}

maybe it is just the beginning of summer transition. maybe it is just their combined ages, i'll never know.  but i have found myself upping the anti around here. instead of a sweet, sensible talk about lying being unkind, i find myself intensely describing that lying is like playing for the other team. satan's team. it's dressing in clothes that are not God's and it's helping the other team score a goal. so which jersey are you going to wear, which team are you playing for? or instead of a repeated discussion about the choices we have been making, the story of one of the wilkins' infamous uncles who could not abide within the parameters of the reasonable law & always had to have it his way, and decided he just did not want to get along with anybody and he now spends his days a small cage called prison, with no friends or fellowship, gross food and no choices left to make because they had all been taken away from him. do you want to follow him? and when i look into their saucer-sized eyes, i can see it. i can see the gospel being worked into their consciousness & growing into conviction. and although this may seem a bit much to an outsider looking in, it is the yeast getting worked into the dough. it is the kingdom becoming beautiful revelation to them.

"we are fonder of consolations than we are the cross."
 {teresa of avila}

and sometimes the kingdom does come with the whisper of a prayer or the cuddle of comforting psalm but sometimes it also comes with a crashing confronting force. you cannot have one without the other. He is not a cuddly, soft blanket anymore than He is a raging wild fire here to consume it all. He is equipping just as much as He is demanding. He is more than our fluffy board books. more than our sing-songs. more than we can imagine. and i don't want to forget that, as parent or as their sister in Christ, who is only two tiny steps ahead of them on this journey of sanctification.

this is the beginning of the good news of Jesus.
this is the gospel mean and wild.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah. So much to comment on in this post. It's content is so much a reality we have walked and are walking thru still. I think your approach about whose team they're on was spoken of in an earlier discussion, but we take it to the wider principles of God too in our house. Each one of us are not unlike your kids - learning through our mistakes how the grace and sanctification of Jesus is so tangible in our lives.

    Keep writing!