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The Intentionally Withheld, Unquestionable Okayness of a Three-Year-Old

Day three of this blog series, and we are still on the opening session of the Orange Conference.  You may read on my thoughts on Mark Batterson'  After Mr. Batterson left the stage, Reggie introduced Chris Weirsma.  He began with a few one liners before he got to his thesis.  They warrant repetition:
No one on the face of the earth has ever needed less than the grace shown on the cross.
 No matter how depraved on is, he is never more than a moment's surrender away from a new beginning.
If the world's imaginations are going to be captured by the gospel, it won't be because of what we say.  We have used all out words.

Weirsma went on to emphasize our call to love others.  He said the we have to give up our statistics and out local addresses as churches.  The world expects us to get along within our own churches but to compete with other churches.  We must shed this proprietorialism if we want to reach people.  "They are waiting for our rhetoric to die."  Chris finally shared his thesis at this point.  He said, "We are not just called to help people.  We are called to nurture fascination."

At this point came the climax of my conviction.  Chris asked the question, "Do you dig madly in the people around you for the fragment that fascinated God so much that it was worth His blood?"  Every one of us contains a fractured image of God that was worth His Son.  Do you look for that in everyone?  I sure don't.  On the other hand, I do not seek to expose the flaws in everyone, but there are those people who don't require much seeking.  Do I require any less grace?  Was any more or less than Jesus required for either of us?

Weirsma began a tangent at this point that took a little while to reconcile with His thesis, but once it did...Whoa...("Whoa" here should be even more emphatic than usual because of my proclivity towards wordiness.)

Chris invoked the image of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:7.  Here "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."  Ever since then, we have tried to control how we are seen.  

Q: What was lost?
A: The intentionally withheld, unquestionable okayness of a 3 year old.
Allow me to explain.  Chris told a story about his three year old daughter greeting one of his colleagues at the door wearing nothing but a smile.  Her biggest concern was, "What's your name?!"  Three years later on a Friday night, she is almost ready for bed when he bounds into her room to take her out for ice cream.  She is ecstatic...then she pauses and says, "Daddy, I am already in my pajamas.  People will laugh at me."  
How do children figure out that their greatest fear is that someone would chuckle at them when they didn't tell a joke?
 When do we lose the "intentionally withheld, unquestionable okayness of a three year old?"  When to we, like Adam and Eve, realize that we must make coverings for ourselves?  
Jesus' disciples were not exempt from the loss.  In Matthew 18:1-6, they ask, "Who's first?"  Jesus sets a carry-able child before them and says that they must become like the child or they will not enter heaven.  (It is important to note that Jesus carried the child because he or she could not have been much older than three.)  Jesus basically told the disciples to squeeze their egos through the bottleneck of what can be understood by a three year old child.  

We must get rid of anything we have acquired over the years that has clouded our "intentionally withheld, unquestionable okayness of a three year old," if we are going to become fascinated enough to transform others.  Mutual transformation will come from mutual fascination.  Again, we are not just called to help people.  We are called to nurture fascination.  Who is easier to fascinate than a three year old child?

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