A Note to My Kids

We are not brains with bodies. Information is not the sum of what creates understanding, nor the ultimate goal of knowing God (or one another).

Thinking the right things is important. Let’s be honest, hugely important, but it is not the primary goal of coming in to relationship with God, exploring that relationship, and coming to live out of that relationship.

We are saved by the grace of God (kindness we do not deserve) through faith in Him, but what is “faith”? Let’s be clear — faith is not absolute certainty; only God can be absolutely certain. Faith is having enough confidence to yield. Faith is an allegiance evidenced in action and motivated by trusting confidence. It is comprised of some certainty, some mystery, and an at times reckless trust, which is affirmed and enhanced by experience: our own and that of others.

As Michael Heiser has said, “God doesn’t ask that we get a comprehensive education before we believe. He wants us to embrace fully a simple idea: that we cannot save ourselves, but what Jesus did can save us.” There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support that simple idea, but humans are such complex creatures we can easily ignore the weight of evidence and fool ourselves into a different conclusion.

I can testify that many years of intellectual investigation have convinced me allegiance to God makes sense, but it is profoundly powerful to the persistence of my loyalty that my experience confirms this conviction. Especially in my youth, however, I relied upon the experience of others to bolster my confidence, and that is as it should be.

God’s revelation to us is intended to encounter our minds, our bodies, and our emotions. His plan ignores no aspect of our person, though we can easily neglect to make use of His robust provision by over-emphasizing our minds, our feelings, or our bodies. There is goodness in attention to every aspect of being created in God’s image (of being human), and there is danger in ignoring the total package.

This is why over the years of your childhood I have commended to you a 3 Streams approach to the Church. The evangelical churches tends to emphasize the mind, the sacramental churches to emphasize formation through action and its repetition, and the charismatic churches tend to focus on our emotional/spiritual experience. This is not to suggest that any of those traditions entirely neglect the other streams, but to speak of what is easily mistaken for what they most prize.

I encourage you to expand beyond what you took away from your upbringing, but I also exhort you not to abandon the allegiance you were taught and saw modeled in your parents, our friends, and your grandparents. I can tell you confidently that while there is no end to exploration, the conclusion of it all will affirm the pillars of what you have been taught: God exists, He is good, He loves you, and He will save you from yourself, the world, and the devil.