Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hump Day History: St. Augustine’s City of God

It’s been downhill for awhile for me. I turn 37 tomorrow and when I was reading Augustine’s City of God earlier this year he was grappling with the question of what our eternal bodies would be like. For instance, would a baby who died be a full-grown person, or would they be in the state of an infant for eternity. More specifically, he wonders if we’ll all be the same size as Jesus since He’s perfection. I honestly don’t remember the conclusions, but the constant refrain is that “not a hair of our head will be harmed.” God will take care of us, eternally.

The part that struck me as humorous – less so now – is when he states that it’s all downhill after 30. Behold, Augustine on age…

“For even the world’s wisest men have fixed the bloom of youth at about the age of thirty; and when this period has been passed, the man begins to decline towards the defective and duller period of old age” (p. 838-839).
It’s all downhill from here! And it has been … for years!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hump Day History: St. Augustine’s City of God

… and Donald Miller, Reggie Joiner, and Moses, Jethro, and Joshua. I’m preaching on Father’s Day and I think I’m going to fill in some parts of Moses’ life that we skipped in our Exodus series on Sunday morning. I’ve been listening to this Donald Miller podcast (Episode 95) talking about fatherhood and I bought and started reading his book, Father Fiction. This challenge of fatherlessness in our nation is tremendous and as it is developing, I’m wondering how the church can solve it. Miller is working on a mentoring program. I’m not even thinking about mentoring kids in the community. I’m wondering what we do with all these single moms in our church. How do we get men into the lives of these kids? My short term solution is to invite a few of them to our small group … and get our small group rolling again.

The Bible uses family language for the church – brothers and sisters, etc… - and St. Augustine likened the family dynamic to caring for sinning brothers and sisters. I’ll end with his quote that simply adds a link to this church/family chain that I’m trying to figure out … as I raise my own kids and as I seek to lead in the church in such a way that we can go to battle against a huge issue in our world. From St. Augustine for your digestion…

“…if any member of the family interrupts the domestic peace by disobedience, he is corrected either by word or blow, or some kind of just and legitimate punishment, such as society permits, that he may himself be the better for it, and be readjusted to the family harmony from which he had dislocated himself. For as it is not benevolent to give a man help at the expense of some greater benefit he might receive, so it is not innocent to spare a man at the risk of his falling into graver sin” (p. 695).
I don’t like church discipline and I’m not innocent in keeping people from the risk of greater sin by calling them out. But if we don’t, are we making people spiritually ‘fatherless,’ in a sense (of course God is their father, but I hope you get what I mean…).