Sunday, August 09, 2009

we’re not as mature as we think we are

This morning’s sermon was a bit of a rework of my week. Since I’ve essentially given 13 different talks in the last 5 days, I thought there was some sense, being back at Opawa, in doing a recap. So I talked about how faith grows.

The Bible text was Luke 2:41-52, how does Jesus grow? We read the text through the eyes of a 12 year old, and then the parents of a 12 year old. Linked in with this, I contrasted the image of faith growing by passing through hoops – baptism, confirmation, ordination, with faith growing as a tree.

To quote John and Olive Drane: “our underlying theological starting points will to a large extent determine how we feel children can or should articulate faith. Those who prioritise the axis of Fall and Redemption, seeing people as irredeemably sinful until touched by the Church, are likely to view spiritual development in terms of jumping through hoops in order to conform to church order and discipline .. their real subtext is ‘you can be part of the community of faith, but we’ll let you in on our terms.’ If we are to prioritize the doctrines of Creation and Incarnation, however, our starting point will be rather different: ‘You are a person made in God’s image, how can we help develop that.’” (Family Fortunes, 119)

This suggests the image of trees; that all trees (young and old) are real trees, that trees grow in the right environment and in a slow, orderly way.

The ensuring conversation got pretty heated, as we wrestled with our images of Jesus as fully divine and fully human and of parenting. And the great (after church) question of what marks maturity? Are we as mature as we like to think we are?

With hoops, I guess it is simply have you jumped through the right hoops. With trees, what marks maturity? Perhaps the ability to give shelter, to be complex in structure, to be more likely to survive hard times.

What is it for you? What do you think should mark Christian maturity?

Posted by steve at 07:51 PM

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