Tag Archives: relationship

Sharing a Mutual Love for Potato Chips

Story of the Day for Wednesday March 21, 2012

Sharing a Mutual Love for Potato Chips

               The head priests and the Bible scholars saw the wonders Jesus did and the children shouting in the temple, saying, ”Hosanna to the Son of David!” And they were indignant.  

                                                              Matthew 21:15

Alina, one of my wife’s former students is now grown up, married, and has two little girls. Last week, her daughter said a bedtime prayer for her Mommy and Daddy, sister, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. And then she added, “And God, please be with all the potatoes because I know you and me just LOVE potato chips!”

I’d like to casually toss out the fact that I’m a Bible scholar. If you’re confused about the soteriological implications of proleptic eschatology, I’m your man. And, excuse me while I politely cough, but I also (ahem) . . . read the New Testament in the Greek!  Yes.

We Bible scholars tend to wince at the prayers and praises of children. They don’t know what they’re talking about. When we scholars compose a prayer, it’s carefully sculpted to reflect a theologically precise view of God. The grammar is impeccable and nuanced. You will never – and I repeat myself for emphasis – you will never find us composing prayers which go romping on about our delight with potato chips.

Yet, ironically, the Bible scholars of Jesus’ day, for all their knowledge of Scripture, couldn’t recognize God if he was standing right in front of them. They knew a lot about God, but they didn’t know him.

The kids, on the other hand, shattered the solemnity with their boisterous praise to the Son of David. When the theologians objected to this, Jesus defended the kids and pointed to the Psalm which said, “From the mouths of children and nursing infants I have prepared praise.” Jesus liked their worship.

The beauty of a child’s understanding of God is that it is a relationship.

Yes, it’s important to have correct theology, but not at the expense of knowing God personally. I can easily find myself viewing the Trinity, say, more as a complex mathematical formula than the God who protects me, and loves me, and gives me strength.

Once, when our daughter, Erika, was little she asked for something and we told her we couldn’t buy it because we couldn’t afford it. Later that evening, she came into my office and gave me a dollar to bail us out of our fiscal crisis.

I wasn’t offended at my little daughter’s unsophisticated view of finances nor did I hand the dollar back to her in disgust at her ignorance. Instead, I was deeply touched by her thoughtfulness and generosity.

I have a little box on my dresser. And, every now and then, I open it and look at the dollar she gave me.

In the end, it’s all about relationship . . . like sharing a mutual love for potato chips.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Singing and Dancing of Angels

Story of the Day for Friday June 10, 2011

The Singing and Dancing of Angels

                  And coming to his senses he said, “. . .I will go to my father and tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven
and before you. . .’”

Luke 15:18-19

Our heavenly Father is not always the best listener. At least, not as Jesus tells it in his parable.

The younger son demanded his share of the inheritance. This was an audacious insult – tantamount to saying he
wished his father was dead. He did not want a relationship with his father; he only wanted things from his father. Once he had what he wanted, he left home.

He partied hard. But in the end, he was hungry, homeless, and lonely. Sitting in a pig sty gives you time to think. The broken
son realized that even his dad’s servants enjoyed the security of a roof over their heads and bread from his father’s table.

With nothing more to lose, the son decided to head for home. He carefully rehearsed his speech: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”

The son was still a long way off, when the father saw him walking home. What happened next was so shocking that those in the Middle East could not even bear to translate it in their Bibles for 1800 years. Not until 1860 did the first Bible from a
Middle Eastern culture translate Jesus’ words that the father “ran.”

Men of wealth or prominence in this culture never, ever run. It is disgraceful because honor is shown by the slowness of your pace. The rabbis taught that dignified men must always keep one foot on the ground.

But the father is so overwhelmed at the sight of his lost son that he utterly humiliates himself – he races to meet his son.

The rules of etiquette would have the son initiating the greeting by kissing his father’s hand – or, if he had wronged him, by kneeling to kiss his feet.

The son did neither. He never got the chance. His father wrapped him in a bear hug and kissed him on the neck.

With his father’s hot tears on his shoulder, the son began his prepared speech: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be. . .”

But, as Jesus tells it, the father was not a good listener. He doesn’t wait for his son to finish before he calls out to his servants, “Bring him the long robe! And the family signet ring! And sandals!” The party is on!

Don’t ever forget this. When you turn toward home, you may not receive respectful silence for the recitation of
your confession. The singing and dancing of the angels may very well drown out your nice speech.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)