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Extracurricular Activities — April 26, 2014
I am not someone who is uncomfortable saying “no” to my child. I say “no” to him a dozen times a day. In fact, other parents often look askance when I make him say “please” and “thank you” or reply with “yes, mama.” But the Eucharist isn’t something I want him not to want.
So as my son persists in asking, I can’t stop thinking about his request. The Eucharist is, according to Lumen Gentium, the “source and summit of the Christian life.” If as Jesus says in John 6:54, “He who eats my body and drinks my blood has eternal life,” what does it mean to deny it to our children? Children in the hospital cannot receive the Eucharist before going into surgery. Catholic children who may be ready but are not quite seven years of age are denied. Why are we withholding this source of grace from the youngest members of our community?
What’s got me thinking about this is Romans 13:1-7. There Paul famously wrote what can be nothing other than a number of quite clear and striking affirmations and teachings about God, the government, and what that means for the rest of us plebes.
If I may summarize Paul: The governing authorities have been instituted by God and to resist these authorities is to resist God. If you conduct yourself well, you have nothing to fear. If you do what is wrong, you will feel the brunt of their authority, since they do not bear the sword in vain, do they? Of course not. The authorities are God’s servants.
It sounds to me like Paul is affirming and teaching something.
I also think there are major problems with taking Paul’s words as a binding affirmation/teaching.
I spent a good bit of time last week pondering the nature of God’s Word and thinking specifically about Paul’s mandate to Timothy: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” That’s a passage about preaching, but it’s also a passage about just plain reading the Bible out loud. It intrigued me.
I travel a fair bit these days and often enjoy worshipping in other churches, and here is something I’ve noticed: We tend to be far more committed to the second part of that command than to the first. We love our preaching, but what about the public reading of Scripture?
My son, Jess Rainer, and I recently spoke in Texas on the topic of the Millennials, America’s largest generation of nearly 79 million persons...We reminded this audience in Dallas of the birth dates of this generation, 1980 to 2000, and then proceeded to share our research. We had commissioned LifeWay Research to survey 1,200 of the older Millennials; the researchers did an outstanding job. We have thus been able to share incredible amounts of data and insights from these young adults.
You see, most Millennials don’t think in the old worship war paradigm. In that regard, “style” of worship is not their primary focus. Instead they seek worship services and music that have three major elements.
After traveling 250,000 miles through Dar al-Islam ("House of Islam") as Muslims call their world, career missiologist David Garrison came to a startling conclusion:
Muslim background believers are leading Muslims to Christ in staggering numbers, but not in the West. They are doing this primarily in Muslim-majority nations almost completely under the radar—of everyone.
Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.
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