At Christmas, Kim and I were gifted with the knowledge that we are going to become grandparents!
Our first worry was, what should we call ourselves? However, that question was soon replaced with a much deeper one.
When the Scripture Kim read in her devotions the next morning was the same one the pastor preached later that day…
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” Psalm 51:1-6
…we knew it was a special word to heed and share. Yes, my grandchild will be born into sin and a sinful world, yet the Holy Spirit is already at work inhabiting the secret place.
This stunning reminder that spiritual warfare begins in the womb and follows a child all the days of its life brought up another deep question:
How do we address the confusion and sin so evident in our time, and raise children—or help raise our grandchildren—in our current context?
Psalm 78:1-7 says, “My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
I wish we lived in a fixed world of certainty where I could teach my grandbaby everything she needs to know and how to handle every question and eventuality that life will throw at her. We don’t live in a static world of fixed questions and answers— especially when it comes to spirituality.
Not long ago, Lady Gaga shared an explicitly religious message on her Facebook page: “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.”
Paradoxically, Lady Gaga gleefully sings lyrics such as, “I’m beautiful in my way, Cause God makes no mistakes. Just love yourself & you’re set. I was born this way. No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life…No matter black, white or beige Chola or orient made, I’m on the right track baby. I was born to be brave.”
This is just one example of a culture that claims to be spiritual, yet is clearly confused about religion. Evidenced by this post-truth theology, it is not a new phenomena.
The world is confusing; caught in a constant state of spiritual warfare as we are continually encountering new iterations of spiritual threats and sins. The Word searches the sins of society and calls us to think and act.
Hans Kung said, “We do not live in a static state (faith or disbelief) but in a state of movement towards the future.”
I cannot provide enough certitude to my girls and future generations to ensure their salvation or pass along a systematic theology that will eliminate the mystery of faith.
However, I can simply teach and clearly model a life of faithfulness. For them—and everyone I encounter—to know that I have been with Jesus.
In a post-truth culture, our lives are the most powerful apologetic.
The world, much less our children and grandchildren, will not listen to anything we have to say if we don’t live it out as individuals and as the Church.
While the world throws paradoxical messages at us, like the “faith of Lady Gaga” or a pastor who received a standing ovation from his church after confessing to a #metoo moment from his past, I admit I would rather be part of a meaningful minority than part of a meaningless majority.
I hope, even more than I did with my girls, that I can live a strong Gospel evident to my grandchildren.
May they know from a young age that this Gospel is believable, applicable, and livable by all who follow it. As they learn the stories of the Bible, I pray that they grow, mature, and are enlightened to the depth of meaning in things like the choosing of the 12 disciples. Jesus’ choice of common people sends a message across time and space—that it’s not about us—it’s all about Christ in us.
You might think that He would draft 12 people with pedigree, but Jesus goes to a backward region, reaches down into the simple places and finds normal, commonplace people to prove that the Gospel is for everyone, in all times and all places.
So, I’m less concerned about what name my grandchild will call me or Kim, and more focused on living a life that helps her know who to call Lord.
 Lady Gaga, “Born This Way,” Interscope Records, released May 23, 2011.
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