Saturday, July 22, 2006

More Food for Thought

On JadedCM's blog you'll read some wrestlings about children and salvation. Here's another one.

My husband and I have these ongoing outside-the-box discussions about faith and religion (faith and religion aren't the same from our perspective) and particularly about what the scriptures actually say and we don't always agree. We're having a bit of a "discussion" that's probably relevant to children's ministers and I'd be curious to hear some post-modern perspectives, particularly in light of all the discussion about "children's spirituality". Thirty years ago I would be openning a can of snakes, here.

Understanding that different denominations have different "official" positions, that the scriptures have a lot to say, and without "wrangling about words," What does it mean to be "filled with the Holy Spirit"? How do you know when you're filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you need to know? What do you tell a child? Even as adults, we don't talk about the Spirit of God, and who He is.

If, in the words of Jesus "this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3) Need we know His spirit and what it means to be filled with the passion of God?


  1. Wow...great question. This will take some thought.

    Initially I would say someone who is doing things that clearly show God at work in their lives...but gees that is vague.

    I'll have to get back to this one.

  2. After a little more thought.

    I would say that the presence of God's Holy Spirit is in two areas.

    Clear expressions of love. Love for others, love for the church, and love for the self.

    Also, clear expressions of desires toward service. Service for others and service for the church.

    Neither of these are directly related to a "natural" self. These must be expressions of the presence of God in a person's life (regardless of age).

    How's that?

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  4. Meandering questions on the post:

    What about the fruit of the Spirit? Should the list that Paul gives us in Galatians come into play here?

    Question, is it ok to not talk about the Holy Spirit just because adults don't? Do adults always get things right?

    If we are to know "the only true God" does this imply that we know the Holy Spirit since as Christians we claim the Trinity?

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  6. Welcome Chris. Jaded, I figured I'd see a Holy Spirit discussion on your blog eventually but jumped the gun. :-)

    The debate at my house had to do with whether being filled with the Holy Spirit and growing the fruit of the Spirit are the same thing. This came from an ongoing discussion at our house about ways that we (believers) mistreat people, not just people who have been hurt by Christians mis-representing Jesus on a daily basis but institionally and historically (Northern Ireland, persecution of Anabaptists, Apartheid, the black bench at revivals, segregation in the south) and how it doesn't reflect the love of Christ yet it's often done for religious reasons... when we do these things are we filled with the Holy Spirit? Can we still do these things if we've truly embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ? Can the church still condone this if the church has embraced the same gospel that Jesus Christ brought or is it a diffent gospel? But that's another discussion.

    I very much believe that the love of God/the love of Jesus is reflected in a servant's heart and when we lay down our lives for people (believers and non, family, strangers, desirables, non-desirables).

    "If we are to know 'the only true God' does this imply that we know the Holy Spirit since as Christians we claim the Trinity?" This is a really interesting question. Really interesting question. We like questions around here. :-)

  7. A post about the Holy Spirit...Man, I wish I had some of those.

    Being that I am at a Presbyterian church, we don't have a lot of Holy Spirit talk. Which is unfortunate.

    I want to see and hear more talks about the Holy Spirit's active engagement with children. I want to see an hear about the Holy Spirit making a difference in the lives of kids by guiding them in ways we never imagined.

    The fruit of the Spirit comment is good! Those are certainly telling signs of the presence of God in our lives. God is actively at work in the hearts of kids through the Holy Spirit. When children show his work in their lives they will reflect those fruits. Thanks for the reminder Pastor Chris.

  8. Great conversation here!!

    Margie- In reading your comment, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is to think of the difference between a person that is attempting to be part of the Christian "religion" and a person that is attempting to be a follower of Jesus.

    The religious person is in control, they bend, shape, and manipulate the worldview (in this case Christianity) into what they see fit as a way to reach God.

    The "follower" realizes God's attempt to reach humankind and is simply responding. I think that part of the response is allowing the Holy Spirit into our lives and then from that point we need to learn how to let the "fruit" show more and more.

  9. Gosh, you guys!

    Chris, I like your descriptive distinctives between religious person and follower.

    Jaded, it would be WONDERFUL to hear what the Spirit of God is doing in the lives of children. Which may bring us back to God as Father/Son/Holy Spirit without differentiating. I'm thinking it's hard to share about the ways that the Spirit of God works in our own kids as parents and teachers without drawing attention to kids that would make them uncomfortable but God inevitably deserves far more praise than we give Him and not sure I know how to reconcile the two.

    For 3 summers high school and college, I worked at a Presbyterian church camp :-) as a counselor and later WSI/lifeguard. It was amazing to watch the Holy Spirit work there. The church I was representing was very traditional. Don't know why I always go back to this story instead of pulling up something more recent...

    The board of directors prayed all year long. Every summer, the director we had focused on staff prayer. We prayed first thing in the am and after the kids were down at night and of course, if there was a crisis. Kids came back. Excited campers brought their friends and their friends would get there, look around and you could see their jaws drop as they tried to reconcile the stories they must have heard and this very unimpressive, rustic, wooded, unexciting place. "I have to spend a WHOLE WEEK here?" But God moved and kids would come back still excited about Jesus a year later even without a lot of support at home. I was moving in more charismatic circles at the time but this wasn't a Holy Spirit charismatic camp AT all. Nope! I was so impressed with the way God responded to their prayers!

    When I read your earlier posts, I was thinking about the stories of scripture, the stories about the God of the OT, Jesus in the Gospels and then there's the stories of the Holy Spirit. Granted, He didn't come to draw attention to Himself. He came to reveal Jesus...I guess I don't think about the NT stories as stories about the Holy Spirit.

    Thanks! Truly an interesting discussion without the snakes. Thanks for being willing to share.

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  11. You changed your icon again! JadedCM's choice of icons is always interesting. Ask him why he picks the ones he picks.

    For the sake of anyone wondering and just to be clear, in the original post I said that if I had initiated a discussion about the Holy Spirit 30 years ago I would have been opening a can of snakes. I would have said can of worms but thought I'd be a little more creative. I wasn't even thinking about all those shows focused on faith and snakes at the time so that's my explanation and disclaimer (?). :-)

    Seriously, it was a thoughtful discussion.

  12. Yeah that's what I was thinking of when you said snakes. The weirdo southern snake dancer dudes. Especially thouse who base this theology on the end of Mark which probably wasn't originally there.

    Yeah, time for a new icon. I just got a new black Jesus bobblehead for my desk at the office so I wanted a black Jesus for my least for a while.