Faith for a child

Are children’s devotionals simple because they are aimed at children or do we just assume that kids do not understand complex things?   Maybe my brain is fried from all my work+ stress, but the words seem out of sync with the ideas.  Some  our devotional books have big words but simplistic ideas (they even dumb down the Bible stories) while others have easier words (for the kids to understand and for my 5 y/o to read) but hit topics they do not understand.  Any ideas on what to do to get a better balance?

Faith or theology?

I was reading a post on Christianity Today’s blog, and the following paragraph really hit me.

We should consider letting go of our obsession with certainty; we do, after all, “see through a glass darkly,” as the apostle Paul reminds us. It is hard to claim clarity when shadows linger over what is revealed. The future of faith does not lie in the declaration of certainties but in the living out of uncertainty. “Believing that one believes” is how philosopher Gianni Vattimo puts it: “To believe means having faith, conviction, or certainty in something, but also to opine—that is, to think with a certain degree of uncertainty.” Our declarations about matters of faith are always fragmentary and provisional.

(From the April 10th entry, “Muscular Christianity or Fluid Theology?”, at http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2007/04/muscular_christ.html)

From Hebrews 11:1, I get that faith is not certainty. If my “faith” is all proved and certain, it might be good theology, but I am not seeing that it is faith. Yes, I am certain about Jesus and his promises, but that is the person of God, not an idea. Theology is important; it is part of what defines my faith community. Theology is part of the fuzzy boarder that defines my faith community, not its core, which is the person of Jesus. I see much of Evangelicalism (and Fundamentalism) conflating the Word of God that is Jesus with the words of God that is Scripture.

So how do we keep pure without certainty or “core” theology? We return to what the the church started on, Jesus and the good news of his coming to right our relationships. If Christianity is to be imitators of Christ, being and doing have priority over believing, tho each is important. Of course being and doing are the harder to accomplish and to evaluate so things get messier. But God is the one who judges in the end, not I. And for that I say, “AMEN!”

Computers in Libraries

I moved my blogging about the Computer in Libraries 2007 conference to http://rorypatt.blogspot.com

 

Craziness of love

Why is love so crazy?  Why is it so sweet one second and so hard the next?  Why do my kids come ask for a hug, the turn around and hit each other?  Why do I stand in wonder at my wife’s beauty and support of me, then say something hurtful?  Why do I praise God for his mercy to me as I read the Bible, but five minutes later think rather unkind things at the person turning without using their blinker?  Why does God love me when I do so much against Him, his creation, and his image-bearers?

Love.

Love thru the hurts of the highs and the hurts of the lows.  God is love.  God must be rather crazy because love sure is.

Holy Week images

I have been reading Jeanne Conte’s “Lenten Reflections: A closer walk” for Lent, as I have the past three years.  This year I also gave up something for Lent and it has made me more aware of Christ’s suffering for me.  I found Christianity Today’s  great set of Holy Week images (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/aprilweb-only/114-22.0.html) today and have appreciated the artists expressions of Christ’s suffering.  I grew up, and attend, a low church, but am also trying to find the mystery of the God, rather than the “logic” I already “know” of Him, thru the Church calendar.  I am finding God is a lot bigger and more awesome this way.

So where are you this Holy Week?

Addictions

There is a problem in my house. It steals time, wrecks schedules, destroys budgets, shrinks rooms, and hinders relationships. What is this horrible thing? Books!

I am a recovering book addict and my eldest is having trouble walking away from a book, even to eat. My middle son (kindergarten next year) loves to read, even small chapter books, tho not yet as much as his elder brother. My youngest son (way pre-school), not wanting to be left out, tries to read (he seems to have about 5 words) and wants us to help him read the other words. So my wife doesn’t get much done because she is reading to 1 to 3 boys, or listening to 1 or 2 boys read. Then I come home and want to read.

Any tips on how to escape the tyranny of books without burning them?

Language communities, or different pronunciations and different meanings

I was listening to someone talk about absolutes and one comment distracted me for the rest of their talk.  They said that the sound “a” makes in an absolute; it either makes its sound (ah) or says its name.  That immediately hit me as wrong because how my high school English teacher from South Carolina said “a” was different from how my second grade teacher from Virginia said “a” and both differ from how my Canadian friends said “a.”  This ignores all the special cases for “a” and its combinations. 

 
As I thought about where this “absolute” statement failed, it hit me, faith communities are like language communities.  Take a language and treat is as synonymous to a religion, i.e. English compares to Christianity, Arabic to Islam, Chinese to Buddhism, etc.  (This is not to say that any language is synonymous with a religion, but just treat it as such for this exercise.)  Each dialect or country’s version of the language is similar to a branch of the religion, so British English, Australian English, Canadian English, American English, etc. would compare to Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, Copts, etc.  Each is still apart of the greater whole (English or Christianity) but there are distinctions and different interpretations or pronunciations.

 
Each branch or division has its own sections.  Just as American English has many accents, Protestantism has many denominations or sects.  And as languages have many subparts, religions have many faith groups.  One interesting part, is there must always be a group.  If an individual says – or interprets – something their own way, it breaks communication with others because they arrive at a different, meaning than the person intended or no meaning at all. So my religious terms, just like my pronunciations, are not mine but rather my language/faith community’s, allowing me to communicate and share meaning with others in it.

 
So does this mean everything is relative?  No, I am bound by my language/faith community.  It does mean that absolutes are not as absolute – or as numerous – as some people indicate.

The value of Community

I am learning the value of community. I am being forced to make a decision without consulting my friends, family, or faith group. Our culture promotes individuality and rugged individualism, but times like this make me realize how important – or dare I say, necessary – community is. As a librarian, I am used to connecting people with information and enabling the free flow of information. This required secrecy is antithetical to that and hindering my work.

Friendships are based on sharing; shared interests to get together, shared events to strengthen bonds, and shared feelings to deepen the relationship. This discussion inhibited decision is hurting my friendships because my friends know something is up, but I’m not sharing.

My faith community is based on working together and openness towards one another. The Way requires being open to each other. This secret-keeping opposes this communal requirement and hinders my walk of faith.

I am not against secrets: I have held security clearance and know the necessity of some secrets . There are secrets in friendships, for throwing surprise parties. There are secrets in work, for protecting patron confidentiality. There are secrets is my faith community, keeping silent on what might harm another’s walk of faith. But this decision is at once bigger and smaller than these, and must be decided without the blessing and assistance of community.

So what is this decision? Sorry, I can’t say.