Since my son’s second set of seasons, I’ve sought a scalable summary of the gospel.
Something simple enough to be sung by a six-year-old, yet sufficiently sophisticated to stun seminarians for centuries.
Here’s my most successful statement so far:
God Loves Us Like Jesus
Simultaneously saying, in short:
- The Father loves us the way Jesus loves us.
- The Father loves us the way He loves Jesus.
Submitting to that sort of Savior is a sweet smell to our spirit, but a shocking scare to our sin!
[This is not The Lord’s Prayer. This is just our Daddy’s prayer.]
We want everyone to know you are a Good Father.
Help us all to be happy by obeying you.
Thank you for giving us what we need
even if not what we want.
Help us be kind instead of angry
when other people hurt us
because that is how you forgive us.
Keep us safe from harm, even when it hurts.
Because you love us like Jesus.
Yesterday my precocious 4-year-old said he wanted to be baptized. I don’t think he’s ready yet; our church doesn’t baptize kids until they are at least seven.
But, how would I know if he was ready?
What is the minimum someone needs to truly understand in order to authentically embark on a lifelong journey of discipleship? In short, how should you explain the gospel to preschoolers?
At Catalyst One Day, Pastor Andy Stanley explained how North Point Community Church‘s Sunday School curriculum focused on hammering home a small set of basic truths at each stage of life. Surprisingly, perhaps due to the decentralized nature of North Point’s ministries, I couldn’t find them written down in one place. Here’s what I’ve been able to compile.
This is an expanded excerpt from the emergence discussion from the Partially Examined Life Citizen Commons. We studied the classic More is Different: Broken Symmetry and the Hierarchical Nature of Science by P.W. Anderson. Their discussion software butchered my reply, so I figured I should clean it up by reposting it here.
It is difficult to have productive disagreements around “emergence” and “reductionism” because of the vague, confusing, and downright inconsistent way these terms are used. To help clear things up, I propose we talk in terms of the following levels.
I want to be a Whole Christian.
I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength, and be part of a worshipping community with others who do.
I want to love my brothers and sisters the way Christ loves me,
my neighbor as myself,
and my enemies.
Especially my enemies. For I have discovered that I only see the log in my own eye after I find grace for the speck in someone else’s.
Dear Partially Examined Life podcasters,
Like Skepoet, I was very impressed by your recent episode on Plato’s “Euthyphro.” And yes, Seth, I deeply appreciated your perspective on Judaism. In particular, it helped me realize that modern Christianity in practice actually functions the way you describe Judaism (with decisions made by a small group of authorities revered for their understanding of the text), even if in theory it we claim our theology is a matter of rigorous logical deductions available to all.
That said, my overall reaction was much like the one Socrates had:
But I see plainly that you are not disposed to instruct me-dearly not: elsewhy, when we reached the point, did you turn, aside? Had you only answered me I should have truly learned of you by this time the-nature of piety.
I freely admit I am a philosophical dilettante and undoubtedly biased my religious upbringing. That is why (like Socrates to Euthyphro :-) I come to you who seem so certain to in hopes of illuminating my ignorance. Yet just when you seem on the verge of actually addressing the problem I care about, you veer away. Perhaps you can help me understand why…