Friday, March 20, 2009

Is God Still Creating?

My 4 1/2 year old daughter just asked me this question yesterday. I loved it. I don't know where it came from, but it was such a great question.

You have to realize that I am extremely careful not to overload my family with "God talk." While I try to be a spiritual leader and teach God's truth, I have never and will never teach them to superspiritualize everything or make all our actions and decisions result in a spiritual lesson. I love Jesus and my greatest desire for my children is for them to love Him too, but I want their faith to be their own, not something that was forced on them.

I write that because this question (and others like "what does God look like?") she asks to do not come from an effort on my part to get her to ask them, they come straight from her own mind. Which makes the question that much more enjoyable. She's thinking about the same theological questions that I'm thinking about. Its a beautiful thing. I hope she always feels that she can ask me anything. I promised myself long ago that I wouldn't get mad or impatient about her questions. Sometimes they can be frustrating, especially when she asks the same thing over and over again. But I'm careful to handle it in such a way that she feels like I will always answer her willingly and honestly.

Of course the answer to her question is "yes!" In more ways than we realize.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Words I don't like

Obedience: When I think of obedience, I think of a dog going to obedience school. I don't know why, but I really wrestle with the word "obedience." I just get an image of a dog lowering his head under his master who is disciplining him to force obedience. Even though I know theologically God is not like a dog trainer, this is the image that comes to mind.

Niceness: Niceness is overrated. Don't get me wrong, I'm a nice guy and I appreciate nice people, but I would rather be described as holy, warm, compassionate or caring rather than nice anyday. Part of this idea comes from a scene from C.S. Lewis's The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It goes something like this: Lucy asks if Aslan is nice. The answer is that Aslan is not a tame lion, but he's good. Again, I would rather be good, than nice, anyday. I don't think Jesus was always nice, but he was always good.

Moderation: Jesus didn't teach moderation. He didn't. He taught wisdom. He taught and lived what it meant to have a close relationship with God. He taught love without limit. Not only did he teach love without limit, he demonstrated it by willingly going to death for the sake of the rest of the human race.

Your thoughts...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Three Aspects of Love

I recently attended a marriage conference led by Les and Leslie Parrot. They talked about three aspects that define love: passion, intimacy and commitment. The passion aspect of love is the desire for physical closeness. The intimacy aspect of love is the desire for emotional closeness. The commitment aspect is the shaping of the will to love no matter what.

They shared an exercise they do routinely based on these aspects of love. They start by writing down on a scale of 1-10 where they are at the moment with each aspect of love. So he may give passion a 6, intimacy a 7 and commitment a 10. She may give passion a 4, intimacy a 6 and commitment a 10. Then, the couple can talk about why they are where they are on the scale.

I will be the first to admit that this little assessment has its limitations, but it may be helpful for opening up the communication lines. My wife and I have yet to try this, but its not because we aren't willing. I'll let you know how it goes when we do try it out.