Guys, I know it's been a while, and I know you (if anybody's out there) think I fell off the earth. I haven't, yet. I have, however, been deep in thought for some time, preparing for my next foray into the murky depths of blogsylvania. (That's my word, and I don't want to see anybody stealing it!) Truth is, I'm preparing a series of articles that promises to be worth the wait, so brace yourselves. In the meantime...

...just a quick word from the Pulpit on the subject of parenthood. That is one of the joys of life that has eluded me lo these many years, to my eternal (or at least temporal) sorrow. However, although I'm not a parent, I can just dimly remember being a child, and that'll have to do.

The question is, how would you, as a parent, respond, if, when you called little Junior in for supper, he refused to come in? You call and call, he stays outside by the door, refusing to come to the table, or even go wash his hands. You beg, you plead, you threaten, and finally you ask him for the reason. Why doesn't he come in to eat supper? And he responds, it's because he is unworthy.

Unworthy. After all, haven't you, Dad, or of course, Mom (equal billing), spent virtually the entire day telling Junior how naughty he is? How disappointed you are at his conduct, at his lapses into pre-potty-training behavior, at his immaturity in general? How tired you are of having to clean up after him, pick up his clothes, make his bed, put away his toys, cook, sweep, labor to provide for him, and this is the thanks you get???

Any of this sound familiar? And yet, here it is, time for supper, and this little semi-domesticated house ape (I don't remember where I got that line, but I love it!) has the prunes to look you in the face and say he's unworthy of the food you have worked so hard to prepare??? (Don't think of it as murder, think of it as retroactive abortion.)

Of course your kid does no such thing. Kids just don't think like that. You know, and so does your kid, if he were sophisticated enough mentally to think about it, that your providing for his needs, food, clothing, shelter, bath-room privileges, even love and affection, is not predicated on his performance. All that you do, the pleasant as well as the less pleanant, like the scolding and discipline and constant and repetative admonitions about his behavior, are all meant for his good. All you want out of life is for Junior to be a good little boy, well-mannered and polite, a credit to his long-suffering parents. And isn't that the only true goal of parenthood? A well-behaved child?

In a word, no.

Turning your precious little bundle of tax-deductible joy from a selfish, self-centered fun-killer with a screaming, eating mouth at one end and a poop-machine at the other into a healthy, happy child who plays well with others and speaks only when spoken to, who combs his hair and washes his hands without being reminded to, and doesn't need help with his homework, is not your goal, and neither is that the goal of your Heavenly Father. God's intention, from the day He put you into that child's life, was to produce, with your help, an adult human being who knows in his heart that he is a worth-while, loved, member of God's family, with a purpose and a destiny of his own.

And that, by the way, is God's goal for you as well. He isn't interested in populating the earth (or Heaven either, for that matter) with toddlers and infants who behave themselves and don't get in the way. He is trying to produce mature sons and daughters who will go out into our communities and work-places and reproduce after our kind. As long as you see yourself as a "child" in God's kingdom, you will not be the son or daughter He desires you to become. You have a place to occupy and work to do in the kingdom, and God loves you too much to leave you in the playpen.

You crawl until you learn to walk. When you learn to walk, you don't sit down, you grab a bicycle and move to the next level. God is much less interested in today's behavior than in the person you are becoming.

In the coming months, expect to see some activity on this blog page, with corresponding activity on Facebook and Twitter as well. The subject of personal growth, spiritual and otherwise, has formed itself into a motto (I was tempted to say "mantra," but I was afraid of sounding too New Agey): "Be, Then Do." In the meantime, that's the latest from the Pulpit. Feel free to leave a comment.

Love, Dave

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