Is American faith frozen in time?

| June 20, 2011 | 1 Comment


One of the great serendipities of grandparenthood is meandering conversations with grandkids. Our annual cousin camp, a few days when we host all our grandkids, is a little over a week away. During these times, we have what seems like non-stop talks, and I am reminded that there is a vast difference between being “childlike” and “childish.” Being childlike forges curiosity and wonder and discovery and imagination, while being childish is intrusive and offensive and narcissistic.

When we were children, we had both; and we could flip the switch between one and the other as needed. I was pretty sure I never behaved in any childish way until I viewed an old 8mm movie that my father took when I was in first grade. He was hiding on the hillside in back of our house. My cousin Cliff and I were playing with my tricycle and trucks. It’s pretty hard to argue with film. I evidently decided I wanted the trike AND the trucks. To get them, I began punching and grabbing and hoarding. It was not a pretty sight. Childishness never is.

During those childhood years we gradually learn to jettison the childish behavior, while keeping that childlikeness that’s a “must-have” for faith to flourish. This childlikeness is our pass into the Kingdom. Remember HIS words.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15 NIV

We grow up. Somewhere between our first breath and our last, we become adults; we accept responsibility for decisions and actions. We learn to own our failures and faux pas. But, for the Kingdom, that childlike spirit remains.


Fox News reported, Like most 16-year-olds, Brooke Greenberg enjoys shopping and listening to rock music. But unlike other girls her age who are learning to drive and going to the prom, Brooke still wears diapers, travels in a stroller and can’t walk or talk.

Brooke is only 30 inches tall and weighs only 16 lbs.

“For the past 10, 11 years, she’s looked the same,” said Brooke’s father, Howard Greenberg. “The price is, she’s adorable. She stopped aging at the right age.”

From the beginning the doctors have been stumped. Brooke has become a guinea pig for research. Somehow she developed a mutation in the gene that controls aging and development.

Dr. Richard Walker, a biomedical researcher and editor-in-chief of Clinical Interventions in Aging, discovered Brooke’s mutated gene. He has been studying her case since 2006.

As far as we know, there is no one like Brooke anywhere else in the world. There is no hope for any discoveries that will give her any sense of what we call normal, but she will help researchers take steps to understand more about aging.

Brooke will live a lifetime as a child. What would that be like?


So, are you frozen in time? Is your faith more childish than childlike? More offensive than engaging?

Try this question: “When you think of faith, do you think of right answers, good arguments, logical proofs, or do you think of mysteries, new discoveries, seeing the invisible, doing the impossible, seeing the good in others, even our enemies?”

For more than a generation, American Christians have focused on the rational side of faith. The result: millions of people have voluntarily disconnected from churches that were more interested in reason and judgement and sound doctrine than wonder and love and transformation.

Our primary task is not to know the right answers or believe the right creed. The primary task is to work off imagination, to see Jesus in people, to see the good in them before they do, to give and lift and share and invade a world bigger than ourselves.

Are you ready to be counted in that number. Is it time to heat up frozen people? Something big is coming… get ready.

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Category: Faith Notes

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  1. Jim Cooper says:

    You are correct about the “eveloution” of religion today. We have become debaters of correctness. We have become “speck” removers with “clods” in our eyes.

    But we will be spinning our wheels if we try to unthaw these frozen folks. They have been hit by an avalanche and are frozen solid. They are dead. If they are thawed, they will still be dead.

    A better use of our time and resources would be to work with the youth of today. They are alive, their eyes are wide open, their hearing is functioning, they are not yet jaded, are not totally predisposed to tradition, and are open and honest.

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