Tuesday, March 8, 2011

As a little child

Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. (Mark 10:14-15)
I've always found this amazing quote from Jesus to have a very quaint interpretation in the church: you must have "child-like faith" the enter the kingdom of God, meaning that you trust unquestioningly. But that's a pretty flat picture of how children actually are. Children are normally rather inquisitive, imaginative, creative, eager to test boundaries, disruptive, playful, and often quite unintelligible despite having so much to say. They are at once struggling for independence and clingy, both trusting and skeptical, both fragile and surprisingly strong. They have no fear of exploring the world--that is, until they look up and mom and dad are no longer there. Children are, in a word, free. Free precisely because of the intimate trust of the family. Free because if they venture too far, mother and father will be there. It is not even a question of presuppositions. Children don't have to believe in their parents; they simply never have to face the question why life should be so safe for them (never, that is, until they are forced to leave the intimate trust of the home).

It is typical to interpret Christ's words in terms of trust, but rarely in terms of freedom. What might it look like to base the Christian life on child-like freedom in Christ?

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