I read today something that I hope to always remember. Pyromaniacs started a series entitled "Hello Out There." In it, the author intends to speak culturally to cultural people about important things, leaving behind the shibboleths of Christianity. I think this is a good idea. I think that I myself have nothing to say to the world, my neighbors, others. God does, though, and I keep hearing people say that you have to give it to them in their own language. You have to be relevant. So, I'm glad the Pyros have started this. I am looking forward to learning how to be as wise as serpants, and as gentle as doves.
In the first installment, on truth, the author says:
The Christian agrees with his non-Christian neighbors on one point: no mere mortal has the authority to create and impose truth on another. It is the Christian position that we are all finite: "we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow" (Job 8:9). Even the smartest man is limited in his grasp of the facts. Further, none of us has the infinite perspective necessary to assign the right meaning to those facts we do possess. We are bound into our own context, and lack a transcendent vantage point.
I think it is also important to remember to keep the content scriptural. How do you find that balance? I don't know, but I will try. I'm not sure that it is a balance so much because, how can you possibly balance anything with Scripture. When men try, Scripture gets diluted. On the other hand, I get in trouble, and err, when I think I am God's interpreter, His lawyer, His partner, His beautician, His public relations coordinator.
Church of the Good Shepherd had a very compelling sermon called Fruit of the Spirit (2/26/06). The springboard for this sermon was Galatians 5:22-26. While the sermon was excellent, I question the premise (although, God may use children to grow the fruit of the spirit in His children). If I were discussing godly seed, the blessing of children, or full quivers, I would not use Galatians 5 to back me up.
Pastor Bayly, however, used an unexpected springboard for this sermon, quite possibly for the very purpose of calling us from our selfishness, greed, fear and pride. I will also approach this discussion from probably an unexpected direction to shine God's light, I hope, on other ways that we may fail, calling God's discipline on us.
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER This may seem a little backward, but bear with me for a moment, and I'll see if I can't get to a point.
I grew up in a family of ten children. As a child, my plan was also to have as many children. When my eldest brother stopped having children after two, I promised my Mom that I would have 18. My parents were jars of clay. They did their best, and that was a mighty fine job.
When I was thirteen, my Mom was expecting her eleventh child. My oldest brother, who was thirteen when I was born, had a son. The pregnancy was, I'm sure, not an easy one for my forty-six year old mother, but she bore this burden joyfully, even while defending the child's very existance. She sewed diapers, burp cloths, nighties and quilts. She was glowing.
My little red-headed sister, Dinah Ruth, did not live more than thirteen hours out of the womb. She was born too early, and her lungs were not ready. Her death was a greater burden to my mother than her life had been. Her smile and joy were packed away with the unused nighties and the unsoiled diapers.
The next few years were very dark, and to my shame, I was not a help to my mother in her pain, or a comfort in her time of sorrow. Instead I distanced myself from her need. The odd thing is that distance tends to create callouses, where as closeness creates softness in hearts. Here is where I began to despise my mother.
For many years, I continued in this sin, and God did not strike me down. I began to see all of my mother's faults, and to disagree with her lifestyle. I remember telling people as an adult that I thought my mother should have stopped having children after four, because the world would have been a sadder place without my oldest sister. So I despised the goodness of God, and loved the things of the world.
As an adult the concept of birth control was not even an issue. Yes, you control births. Relationships, education, career, and self esteem were my highest goals. My first marriage was to a barren man, and I cried myself to sleep at the thought of never having children, but I did not still recognize my sin, or repent of it.
After that one failed, I married a man (Glen) who had two children already, and he longed to have children with a wife (me) together. So we "decided" to have children, and did have two of them. (Praise be to God for His inexpressible mercy to us, opening my undeserving and rebelious womb, and granting us children to teach us our sin.) Then the decision was made for me not to have any more.
Is this command to honor your father and mother tied up in the blessings of God? I think so. God has used His birth control, to discipline me, and convict me of this sin, and teach me His way.
I have worn myself out with this first point, and cannot complete the next two points, but leave them here to feed our thoughts. I am happy to engage in this discussion personally or by blog or email.
SERVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, ALL YOUR HEART AND ALL YOUR MIND
Serve the Lord now. I see and experience so much discontentment with where we are, always hoping for the next blessing. I want to be married. I want to have children. I want to have more room for hospitality. I want to serve the Lord in Africa. I want to do this, I want to have that.
We need to be looking daily, and asking daily for the tasks and relationships that God has for us today, while it is today. We need to be faithful in the small things.
RECEIVE WITH JOY FROM YOUR FATHER'S HAND
Would you receive "good" only from the Father's hand and not evil too?