IS OUR LEGACY TO BE FAITH OR FEAR?
TRAIN THEM UP. We want to train our children in Biblical faith, in an evangelical faith (I need to write sometime about "just what do we mean by 'evangelical?'"). We want to pass on our faith. But in the process, are we building faith or fear into our children? Do we know the difference? When does fear look like faith? And when does honestly confessed fear lead to the possibility for authentic and growing faith?
"FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN." I consider this question in light of Deuteronomy 1, which I reflected on in this morning's sermon. Fear of what might happen to the children was one rationalization put up for the people's decision to not venture into Canaan, as God had directed (Deuteronomy 1:30-31). In reality, the adults were afraid for themselves. They said it was "for the children's sake" when, truth be told, they were acting out their own fears. The tables turned on them, however: their children would, in fact, see and live in the Promised Land, while those who "protected" the children would not.
AVOID GIANTS, DENYING FEARS. Every generation has its issues to confront, in all gut-wrenching honesty. There are, in fact, giants in the land and stiff resistance to be confronted in the places where you want and need to go in your life. It's a wild world. It's not for the weak of heart and its a challenge even to the so-called stout-hearted. But if you're afraid, say so. Don't pretend you're not. And--please--don't wrap your fears up in some denial/guise of spiritual protection, holy prudence, or religious protest. If you're full of fear, don't dare call it anything else. Name your fear, confess it, and offer it--and yourself--to God in utter honesty and vulnerability. Only then will there be some ray of hope to pass faith--not fake faith--on to your children and loved ones.
EACH GENERATION'S BURDEN. I believe it is critical for us to confront--without an assurance of foregone conclusions, clear-cut answers, or rosy initial outcomes--the toughest issues of our generation. If we don't deal with them now, we will pass the unfinished business and burden of our generation on to the next. If we don't, we will have shirked our responsibility--even with the possibility of messing things up for them--and laid a heavier burden on them. We have our wilderness tests to undergo. How will we address the seemingly endless range and rage of appetites and hungers? Will we put God to the test, tempting God to bail us out of our self-inflicted delusions in order for God to save face? Will we sell out to mere idols and settle for petty securities and promises of power when God alone is the Source to be trusted? Just how are we addressing these ancient generational challenges?
What are some of the core social, ethical, and spiritual challenges of my generation?
More later...check back.