Monday, January 14, 2013

the profundity of four-year-old orthodoxy and orthopraxy

On our trip to South Carolina, two moments stick out to me with regard to my son, Atticus.

Scene 1: Orthopraxy

In the lobby of the hotel one morning during breakfast I asked him to sit in his seat.  I instructed him not to get down from it as I was going to get a refill of free biscuits and gravy (cheap is free after all).  While I was getting more biscuits and ladling gravy, Atticus' grandmother (my wife's mother), arrived in the lobby from her room unaware of the previous edict issued by me and asked Atticus to get down from his seat and to come and sit on her lap.  He responded, "No, daddy told me to stay right here and not move."

Atticus obeyed the voice and command of his father.  The challenge to my command came from someone he trusts and loves.  They were not wooing him to disobey out of malice, but out of a natural desire to be near to him.  Atticus discerned the situation and chose to obey my original command.  He listened to the words of his father and obeyed them in the face of an alternate plea.  He chose to be relationally near by honoring me.

This event produced in me one of the deepest and most appreciative senses of honor and respect I have ever enjoyed. What a joy to hear my son honor me over everyone else. I had not even issued the command with a hint of suspicion that he may disobey it.  I had not discerned any challenges that would likely come from outside.  I had only anticipated perhaps his own desire to wiggle off the chair as on obstacle to his obeying my desires for him.  But he respected my wishes.  He demonstrated love for me.  My heart grew two times that day.  Poor Atticus and his grinch of a dad. But that's another story. Literally.

Scene 2: Orthodoxy

Atticus asked Paige and I why Jesus didn't get married when we were travelling down to South Carolina.  Paige explained that when people get married they become one flesh and come together to represent God in a unique way in which neither of them in their own right could do.  Since Jesus was God, He had no reason to be married.  He already fully represented God because He was God.  There was no reason why He would need to be married and nothing He could gain from being married as a human. Additionally, but not secondly, the Bible does not report Jesus ever being or planning on being married.  That is less a commentary on marriage and more ac ommentary on Jesus. 

On the way home from South Carolina, Penelope was in the backseat singing "John 3:16" by the Rizers.  Atticus told Penelope to stop singing when she said that "God gave His only Son."  His reason?  He retorted, "God did not have a Son. God was NOT married."

Atticus put some very important pieces of information together in his own mind by his creativity and God's grace.

(1) Most people get married
(2) Jesus was not married
(3) Only married people have children.
(3) Jesus was not married
(4) Jesus was God.
(5) God could not have a Son.

While theologically a mess, Atticus did, however, rightly use his logic and understanding to draw these conclusions.  We both applauded his logical conclusion and then drilled deeper with Atticus to mine out meatier theology to explain why God was not married, but had a Son.

My heart swelled with joy in the realization that he is hearing truth and adapting it to a worldview in which God should not be spoken of wrongly by anyone.  If Penelope is singing songs that promote false doctrine, he should shut her down.  Also, married people have kids.  Only married people should be coming together as one flesh.  Jesus was never married because He was fully God.  No human could complete Jesus. Jesus was God. No single person was the source of His pursuit. He came for more than one earthly bride.  He came to purchase the Church and prepare for her white clothes to wear as His bride.

I love being a dad. 
I adore it.

I love theology.
I adore Jesus.

I love my kids and the chance to tell them about the God I love.
What a blessed opportunity.

Thank You, Jesus for the chance to learn more about You and appreciate You more as I live my life before You.  May my kids understand early on the glory You earned and deserve.  May they appreciate how far short of offering this right sacrifice they fall.  May the Gospel swoop into their hearts and resurrect their dead hearts to life and rebirth them as children into Your Kingdom.  May they inherit a Kingdom of peace and joy-filled, faithful living.  May they inherit Your blessings.  May they humbly receive their justification FROM You and be delivered from the tyranny of attempting to achieve it on their own merit.