Part 5 of 6 in the series Childlike Theology:
- The Gospel
As children, we express faith in our parents by obeying them to stay safe. As adolescents, we risk danger in order to express faith in ourselves.
I have come to believe that the hallmark of a mature faith is wise risk. Which implies we should be designing our lives — and churches — to maximize learning rather than avoid failure.
In Sheila Walsh’s Will, God’s Mighty Warrior, there’s a scene where Will and his buddy Josh are pretending to be on a quest against monstrous beasts. They run into Will’s large English sheepdog. Josh is starting to defend himself, but Will assures his friend that “I have tamed this wild creature, and now use it to serve me.”
One of the hot trends in education these days is Mastery Learning: students are expected to master a concept before they move on, not just fill their seats until the class moves on. It is similar to Ranks in the Boy Scouts of America, where you need a certain number and type of accomplishments to move from Tenderfoot up through Eagle.
So what is the analogue in Knight Club? What are we mastering?
A Vision in Many Pieces
June 8th, 2001
“God, its too big for me to carry!”
“I know, my son.”
We sat at the bottom of my heart, facing the dark, concrete-like slab which was my need for love, my desire for human intimacy to the fill the void in my life and give me meaning. We had been doing some Spring Cleaning of my soul. It had been a while since I’d talked with God, and when I finally got around to it again I was surprised to discover lots of worries and fears weighing me down. The stuff on top was relatively easy – I handed over issues at work, my marriage, relations with family. But then we got down to things which had been undisturbed for years, maybe decades, and I realized I couldn’t move these myself.
“Will you carry it out?”
“Of course, but I will not do it alone. You must be a part of the process. It is yours, after all”
In Which Our Desire For God’s Name Inspires Us to Submit To His Discipline
In Part A of this class we began by studying the theological foundations of Christianity, with a focus on what it means to be baptized into the “name” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Part B we explored what it looks like to appropriate that “name” — God’s character — through the pursuit of wisdom, as contrasted with the simple, mockers, and fools. For Part C, our final module, we will be focusing on Skills for Servant Leaders — the spiritual disciplines necessary to cultivate those virtues in our lives without falling into pride or will-worship.
Our primary text will be Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster, which you are encouraged to supplement with one of the other books listed below. In addition, you are encouraged to actively practice the disciplines as we work through these studies, using tools like the memory verse (below).
However, it is essential to remember that the disciplines are only effective if they are not ends in themselves, but means to our greatest desire, which is Christ Himself…
Memory Verse: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
In Which Our Desires Are Tamed As Our Hearts Are Purified
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” — Matthew 5:8
Though sometimes a synonym for sexual desire, or conversely any kind of consuming passion, we will define lust as the idolatrous pursuit of sexual/romantic excitement or fulfillment. In other words, trusting “eros” instead of God to validate who we are (our “name”).
Though far from the deadliest sin, lust is certainly one of the most popular, and (except for pride) the most difficult to defend against — especially, though not only, for men.
The opposite state from lust is purity, having a heart wholly focused on God. The pure heart is one that recognizes we can only find true wholeness by submitting to God’s name — which is essential if we are ever to see His face.
Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue
- 12. Pure of Heart vs. Lustful of Heart
- Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
- 3.7 (Wise) Example: Proverbs about the Tongue