glory and wonder

Christmas festivities (in particular, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at a local church yesterday) are reminding me of things I need to remember in my discipleship of students.

Collegians are at a hinge moment, when they really are “growing up” in a way they haven’t before. That means we have the chance to bring deeper theology to hearts that yearn for spiritual maturity, and that’s a good thing.

But sometimes in the pursuit of so-called “depth” they leave behind the infatuation and basic-ness and childlike-ness of earlier years. Sometimes we college ministers accidentally help them do that.

When students emerge from any ministry I’m a part of, I do hope they’ll be full of truth. But I want to be good at discipling wonder and adventure and fun and love and like, too.

So when, for example, they read the first chapters of the gospels, I do hope students see Incarnation and Emmanuel and the set-up for Propitiation. But I also want them to get really excited about a baby jumping in the womb, another baby in a feedbox, a muted old man and his preggers wife, a rumpled young couple without a place (or a marriage) to have a baby, an angel’s “Shazam!” out of the black night, the lowly shepherds’ big news, mysterious visitors from Foreign Lands, an evil king, and a dream-inspired flight to Egypt. If our Lord’s advent was nothing less than advent-ure, perhaps the rest of our faith is, too.

Sometimes, our students lose the shock and awe of Christianity. I’m not exactly sure how to guard those things, but I can try.

Because we’re supposed to prove “the glories of His righteousness” AND the “wonders of His love,” right?


  1. Matt Dampier

    One suggestion might be part of the reading list we give to them. I wonder if we give them myth (which may carry theology) and not simply theology straight on they might not pick up on the wonder and laughter of the gospel, the playfulness of Scripture. This might be sort of like telling the gospel slant as Peterson might advise. Some of the best books I’ve found here are the Tolkien sagas (LOTR, selections from the Silmarillion) and the Narnian series.

  2. THANK YOU for that, Matt. That’s a huge thought.

    It also reminds me of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis works of all – an article called “Myth Became Fact.”

    He argues that Christianity is Myth become Fact, that “it carries with into the world of Fact all the properties of a myth” and “God is more than a god, not less; Christ is more than Balder, not less. We must not be ashamed of the mythical radiance resting on our theology.”

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