Monday, August 29, 2011

School Year's Eve Reflections on Fatherhood

Today is the day I have been dreading all summer. It is our first School Year's Eve. My little buddy heads off to kindergarten tomorrow. I can't believe it. And I am hating life.

I love being a dad. I remember the day he was born. I remember just staring at him for hours. I was amazed. Terrified. Overwhelmed. Scared. Amazed. Fearful. Astounded. Petrified. Over and over, the same emotions just kept running laps through my little head. They still do, though a little less often. Now, there's a lot more laughter. And a different kind of fear and a different kind of care, hopefully more mature. And of course, there's a few tears now and then.

Back then, I couldn't hold him long enough. Until he started crying, and then I couldn't get rid of him fast enough. Daddy didn't do well with crying babies back then. Still doesn't.

But I still wanted to hold him, and never let him go. 

Of course, I know the big point of parenthood is to raise kids who can live without you—to grow 'em up and let 'em go. They are supposed to go, to branch out on their own—a few hours a day at first, then more and more, until they have a job, a place of their own (including a refrigerator that they put food in), and then they can repay you. Or at least not mooch off of you any longer. Hopefully by this time, they have a coherent worldview built on the foundation of loving God and loving others, of living the gospel and serving Jesus.

In the early days, though I loved him to death, I didn't enjoy him much. I didn't know how. So I was still living the old life. Then, one night while tickling him on the couch, I heard him laugh. And I loved it. My wife said he was doing it all the time; I was just never around to hear it.

Then we started playing. Just making faces and laughing at first. Then little stuffed animals, peek-a-boo (or peek-ooo as he called it), a stuffed baseball or football here and there, and a truck or two.

Then he learned to walk on Father's Day weekend in 2007 in Grandmamma's house in South Bend. I wish she had been there to see it.

After that, it all just kind of blurs together.

I remember the old days of watching other people's kids doing silly things, and being a bit embarrassed for them, both the parent and the kid. Today my kid does these silly, embarrassing things, and I just smile real big, sometimes laugh out loud, and say to myself, "He's just a kid. He'll get over it one day."

These days the playing is better. It's baseball in the backyard, sometimes soccer. We play golf together. Well, at least we go to the course together and hit balls at the chipping green.

He finally got brave enough to ride his bike this summer, and now he rides like a wild man. He almost ran into the curb tonight looking at me. He has already learned to skid his tires on the pavement, which I guess is better than running into the side of Uncle Jim's truck like he did a few weeks ago.

He learned to swim, and he worked up the courage to jump off the diving board, though that took momma pushing in him a few times.

We still tickle on the couch. I don't know how long that will last, but I will enjoy every minute of it.

Tonight, bed time will be early. And tomorrow we will drop him off at school and drive away.

And that big loud wailing you hear just after 8:00 a.m. tomorrow will probably be me, not my son.

So just smile real big, maybe laugh out loud, and say, "He's a new dad. He'll get over it ... one day"

And remember, this is what fatherhood is about—preparing your child to live without you, and teaching them to love Jesus while they do it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Imagine the possibilities when you cross this with this.

Given the life (both past and present) of the average college student combined with ability to see things and the willingness to call them out, this should be a real barnburner.

The good thing is that, as he informs us, he doesn’t talk about it.

Except he did.

That’s why there’s both an audio file and a transcript.

Of course, I jest … a little.

On a serious note, and perhaps I will write more later, this “seeing things” is the reason why a solid doctrine of biblical authority is so important. And it’s why I think cessationism is the only consistent position.

Once the door is open to visions, impressions, prophecies, words of knowledge, or the like, there is little reason to stop.

Now some do stop, to be sure, but as I say, there is little reason to stop. Saying “It doesn’t pass the smell test,” puts way too much authority in your olfactory senses.

In general, I am opposed to demonstrating absurdity by being absurd. I don’t think it either wise or fair to run to the extremes to argue against a position. And it would be hard to say this example by Driscoll is anything other than extreme.

But I don’t really want to talk about Driscoll here (though someone who engages with him regularly told me recently that he thinks Driscoll is more humble and teachable now than he was five years ago).

But for those who are continuationists, how would you refute Driscoll on this one? Or do you agree with him?

I suppose you could say you are “open but cautious.” Driscoll certainly wasn’t cautious here. And your caution would cause you to stop short of this. But what biblical basis would you invoke for such caution?

I also wonder about the import of 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If everything necessary to make us adequate for every good work is found in the inspired writings, then what purpose do these visions serve? Or the impressions?

If I understand 2 Timothy 3:16-17 properly, it means that Driscoll was equipped for the good work of counseling these people by the Scriptures. The visions were unnecessary. And I think that is significant.

Furthermore, by his own admission, they are sometimes wrong. I am going to go out on a limb and say that a wrong vision will undermine your credibility as a counselor. Imagine trying to counsel a husband you have just accused of adultery based on the TV screen in your head when he knows you aren’t telling the truth.

In fact, I think this issue of “being equipped for every good work” is an undervalued piece of the discussion about cessationism and continuationism, at least in the stuff I have read. I think we cannot have a full-orbed and robust theology of revelation if you don’t reckon with these verses and their impact on ongoing revelation.

If we define “every good work” as being every thing God has called us to be and do, then we need only the Scriptures and the wisdom found in them as applied to life.

That doesn’t preclude the use of common grace wisdom in application. Nor does it preclude the involvement of the arts and sciences in daily living.

But I think more serious consideration needs to be given to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If the inspired Scripture equips us for every good work, then it is hard to see what role these other types of sign gifts play for us.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Word for Preachers

My friend Marty links to Al Mohler’s interview with recently departed John Stott, and concludes with this:

Remember these words brothers. A Bible, a pen, and a note pad make a man powerful for the duties and challenges of our task. Even if the pen and the note pad are replaced by a screen and a keyboard, there is no substitute for

  • time brooding over a text
  • in submission to the authority of the text
  • under the guidance of the One who inspired the text
  • for the glory of the One to whom the text points.

PS - The interview with Stott is worth reading.

Friday, August 05, 2011

In the Mailbag

In cleaning off my desk, I came across a mailer for the 2nd Annual Youth Conference entitled “Smash the Trash.” It was hosted by “One of America’s Most Exciting Churches” (for yet another year, we must not have made the list).

The Holy Roller was there.

I had never heard of it.

Fortunately they had a picture.

The Holy Roller is a monster truck.

And then we wonder why kids leave the church when they get out of the youth group.

It’s because the Holy Roller can’t fit in the auditorium for Sunday morning worship.