Archive for November, 2010

h1

Dirty diapers and Divinity

November 27, 2010

I was at my parents for dinner last week. Diandra and Kaeden were with me. It was a nice family outing. After dinner we were sitting around the dining room table chatting amicably.

Kaeden started to fuss so I picked him up and began to rock him gently. He promptly peed on me through his diaper and outfit while my parents looked gleefully on. Grandparents get all of the fun and none of the feces. They’ve earned it.

My shirt and pants got the brunt of it. I’ve been told by other parents to bring a change of clothing for the child when we go out. It’s common sense really. But no one has ever informed me that I should have a second outfit as well. The result of this lapse of informal education: watching Monday Night Football with my father while my pee stained clothes air dry.

-Selah-

_______________________________________________________________________________

Later that night I changed Kaeden’s diaper. I’m learning that with boys you have to be extremely careful when revisiting the edenic state1. A fig leave would come in handy. I imagine it’s similar to opening up a fire hydrant, but on a smaller scale, and as far as I can tell there is no fire to put out.

Kaeden peed again. This time the urine did not end up on my clothing. Instead my dear boy shot a stream of pee that arched gracefully over his belly and chest landing directly on his face with a sterilized splatter. Thank God his mouth was closed.

The boy didn’t cry. He just blinked his eyes, perplexed by what had just occurred. After I recovered from my hysterics I gingerly wiped the pee off my boy’s face.

_______________________________________________________________________________

I spend a lot of time getting peed on, vomited on and called on to change stinky diapers. That’s the gig. I do it gladly and I do it without any thanks from my boy. In fact, he fights me every time I change him. He kicks up a storm of protest.

I try to reason with him. After all, it’s our rationality that separates us from the animals. ‘Kaeden, I am trying to liberate you from a distressing situation. I am for you not against you. A fresh diaper will be far more comfortable in the end. It’s worth the momentary cold that comes from a bare bottom. Trust me. I love you’.

He’s not having it. He’d rather stew in the mess he created than have his dad clean him up and slap a fresh diaper on his bottom. But I win the battle in the end. His will can’t thwart my own. I am the sovereign in this situation.

_______________________________________________________________________________

I can’t help but think of God through it all. This world is God’s world (Psalm 24:1). Not to be crass, but I think it’s fair to say that we have crapped all over it. We’ve made a mess of things.

Yet, central to the Christian story is God entering into the mess we have made through the person of Jesus to liberate us from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and eventually the presence of sin.

There are different ‘formulas’ as to how God accomplishes this act of rescue through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Central to them all is God doing something for us that we can’t do for ourselves.

Self help is great, unless I’m the problem. Then it becomes self-defeating. Similar to throwing water on a drowning victim. But I digress…

So God invades our sin-stained world to bring redemption and we battle him. We resist the good work he wants to do in us and for us. We love the darkness more than the light. Our mess is familiar. Safe. Comfortable. God reasons with us (Isaiah 1:18). ‘My way will be better in the end. I love you, I am for you not against you. Trust me.’

Still we resist. Still God pursues. Why does God do this?

I assume it is for the same reason that I continue to change my boys dirty diapers. Love. Unbreakable, unshakable, lavish, grace-filled, bottomless love (John 3:16).

Is it possible that what takes place in my son’s room on a nightly basis provides a clue about one of the central mysteries of the universe? God’s ceaseless love for soiled sinners who soak up his goodness yet seldom offer Him thanks.

I would like to think so.

-Selah-

h1

3 days of Fatherhood

November 11, 2010

Well, life is different now. Perhaps that is an understatement. I’ve barely scratched the surface of how different life will be. On november 6th Kaeden James Price entered this world to much Face book fanfare and botched spelling attempts of his name ;). Our family has undergone a much-anticipated expansion. My long-term strategy for growing the church has taken a baby step in the right direction. Thanks be to God!

Little Kaeden’s mom was so brave. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She suffered contractions well and maintained a thankful demeanor towards the staff and me(!). The longer I know her the more I realize that I married up, or as they say in the States, ‘over-punted my coverage’. Kaeden has a courageous, godly mommy. I pray that one day he will really appreciate that fact.

The first night I spent some time alone with my son. Mom was recovering from her C- Section that was the result of the babies heart beating too fast for comfort. I held him in my arms and sang to him, ‘Jesus loves me this I know’.

If there is a more important piece of theology to internalize from the moment of birth I don’t know of it.

I don’t know how I felt in that moment. I can’t make words stick to my emotions. Is that because I’m a man or a new father? I don’t know. Anxious, excited, tired, wired, joy, love, fear. None of those descriptive terms feel adequate and some of them are down right contradictory. Maybe the best word is ‘right’. I felt right. It was profoundly right for me to hold my boy and welcome him into this world with these words.

‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so’.

I want him to know that. But know it in the biblical sense of the word ‘know’’. Not just intellectual knowledge but the knowledge that comes through relationship and intimacy. Knowledge that can’t be acquired through a book because it is only fully discovered on the journey of faith.

And faith in the biblical sense of the word. Not faith as solely, ‘believing in something you can’t see’, or ‘ ascribing to an irrational belief’. Rather, biblical faith which is a loving trust in, and relationship with, the God revealed through Christ.

Honestly, a bit of theology a 3 year old can comprehend sometimes seems beyond my grasp. Most of the time I live like, ‘Jesus loves me I’ve been told’ or ‘Jesus loves me this I hope’.

Is this why our evangelism is sometimes so lacking? It’s hard to convince someone of the love of God when I’m not always personally appropriating it for myself. Kaeden is helping me understand the Love of the Father revealed through the life of His Son.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

My boy is helpless. He can’t do anything for me. We have to do everything for him. Our relationship isn’t reciprocal in the normal sense of the word. If I scratch his back he doesn’t scratch mine.

But I love him. He hasn’t earned it through his efforts, through him stroking my ego or making me feel good about myself. He can’t do anything for me. Yet, I love him. Is there a lesson there about our relationship with God?

Is God more loving than we are or less loving? More. Abundantly more. Our own feeble attempts at love are nothing but a blurry, fallen but being redeemed, vignette of the Father’s love.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are” (1st John 3:1).

When Kaeden is whimpering or struggling to fall asleep I take him and place him on my chest. He calms down quickly. The soothing rhythm of my breathing rocks him to sleep. There he stays serene and content on his father’s chest; seemingly, not a care in the world. He certainly isn’t feeling any pressure to perform or conform.

Is there a lesson there about our relationship with God?

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and you will find rest for your soul”, Jesus said.

That is an incredible promise in a hectic world where we are pushed to perform in the church and outside of the church. Who says something like that? Buddha said don’t look at me look at my dharma (my teaching)’. Jesus says ‘look to me, come to me’ you will find rest for your soul. You will see the heart of God is a safe place to rest your head.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kaeden is teaching me what it feels like to be helpless too; to feel out of control, to have to trust that God is in control. Children are often the best teachers and class has come home.

I can’t make him stop crying; I can’t always fix him. My stress level rises. My sin nature rears its ugly head, forcing its way to the surface through my words and actions. I put pressure on Diandra. I want to control the situation. I want to be the savior but I need one myself.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kaeden’s teaching me that I’m not God. I can’t control everything. But God is sovereign and good and worry is momentary atheism. With my somewhat irrational fears about fatherhood I’m choosing to live in a world bereft of a God who has His eye on the sparrow and knows the number of hairs on my head.

No thank you.

I want to live in a God-drenched world soaked through with the evidence of his presence and his loving provision. A world where He is in control so that I don’t always have to be. The fears of new fatherhood are forcing me to trust in a God who has all things in his hands.

3 days of fatherhood. The worst and best days are yet to come. I’ll take the good with the bad and I’ll choose to be glad. Thanks Jesus for our kids. They are a blessing. It’s not hard to worship today.