Sabbath Reflection for October 4 (’14)
We all know why the kids’ pool (of any nation) is warmer. It’s the same reason we never go there unless a child (usually our own) is in distress. Who wants that kind of contaminated water on them if they can help it? Put 10 or so toddlers in a pool and feel the temperature increase suddenly. This is just the way it is, and we don’t get angry over it. In fact, it’s a little bit endearing, even cute, all while still having the “yuk” factor we’ll never quite shake from our adult sensibilities. To the kids, it’s all comfortable, warm, and inviting. It’s shallow and safe. There’s no arguments here over a toy, for they all have the same, ubiquitous toy. There’s no fights over food, only who splashed who first and, of course, this can always be settled by a quick eye-for-eye.
It’s not just “yuk” for adults to play in the kiddy pool. It’s downright creepy. So we don’t do it unless we have to for a distressed child. The rest of the time, we stay in the cold and deep areas of the pool that allow for swimmers to play, dive, hunt under water for money and other treasures, and see who can hold their breath longest without panic.
We want our kids to grow up like us—for them to grow up out of the nasty shallows. Of course.
So, why do so many American Christians seem content to wallow in the nasty shallows of the doctrinal equivalent of mental waste and indifference? Is it really just because it’s warm and inviting? This metaphorical cholera is just as deadly for the soul as actual cholera is for the body.
As I watched a snippet of Joyce Meyer the other night with my 8 year-old daughter, I heard Joyce say, “You have the power of God!” This was defined, in the sermon, as “being able to overcome any obstacle and speak forth victory.”
Piss in a kiddy pool.
If you think that sounds harsh, consider: is cancer an obstacle? Unemployment? Persecution? Can any of us speak our way forth to victory in such circumstances? Is the “power of God” mentioned by Paul in places like Colossians a power given us to overcome or endure?
I used to apply (what I thought was) the cleansing power of logical argument against such cholera-doctrine when my children were exposed to it. This time, I simply asked my 8-year old, “Do you have the power of God?” She said, thoughtfully, “I don’t know.”
I said, “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook?”
“Can you name every star and bring them new birth or death?”
“Can you count every hair on your head and know the first from the last?”
“Do you have the power of God like this?”
Then, with a bit of sassy attitude, “No, I don’t.”
Serve. Ace. Match. By an 8-year old.
I wonder why so many of us are afraid to swim the depths of the cold deep blue—to enjoy the difficult and dangerous waters of doctrinal depth. Is it simply swimming against the tide that makes us scared? Are we scared of what will become of our hearts and joy? Are we scared it will divide us further?
Peter Leithart reminds us that pushing forward in maturity towards a deeper, more profound hallelujah honors God. It doesn’t create division, except in the way you should expect. After all, some people never want to grow up. They seem destined to remain on the warm and shallow kiddy-pool side of the floating buoys that warn, “You can’t go beyond this point unless you really want to swim.” However, we should never be content with this. At some point, Gerber should give way to grouper; mush replaced with Mignon.
Leave the warmth of the shallow kiddy pool for the cold comfort of the deep.
So, Colossians 1:9-11, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”