Oh, man—what to write about after this amazing week? I’ve got to choose carefully, as I have vowed that I will not become one of those pastors whose every sermon illustration, article, topic of conversation, etc. is drawn from the cute / impressive / heartwarming exploits of his adorable little kid. I mean, really, I’ve heard that kind of preaching and I can’t imagine a bigger bore. Whatever precocious phrase popped out of his mouth, however she misheard that Bible verse, whatever the contents of that diaper—it’s not going to make anyone a better disciple. It’s just going to be so sickly sweet, it makes us all ill. Besides, no one ever asked Calvin if he wanted his life broadcast from a pulpit.
I have no problem, however, sharing my own Calvin-related experiences. After all, he’s a huge part of my life now. Which brings me back to the question at hand: on which of the million things bouncing around in my pen shall I actually expound? I could gush about the feeling of holding my baby for the first time and how it’s a glimpse of how God sees us, but nah. . .too clichéd. Plus, I don’t want to trivialize that amazing experience by turning it into some pithy truth statement or moral application. I could use this space to try and tactfully remind people that we don’t want 1,100 germ-filled fingers poking and grasping at our vulnerable little infant each Sunday... at least not until his immune system has had a few weeks to get going (i.e. look with your eyes, not your hands.) But there’s no need for that—Judson people are sharp enough to figure that one out. Or there’s always the conversation we had with Dave and Valerie, in which we theorized that the horrid stuff coming out the bottom of the sweet little baby may be an overflow of original sin. Er... let’s not go there.
I guess I’ll go the route of observing how everyone else reacts to a new baby, or even the prospect of same. It’s one of those events that make everyone feel as if they have to say something about it. Every time they see the couple in question, they’re somehow obligated to comment on the obvious. Friends, family, strangers—everyone. It’s kind of like with newlyweds. For some reason, everyone feels the need to ask, “How’s married life treating you?” for a few weeks after the wedding. Someone asked me that in 2002 and I was like, “It’s been a couple years.” And he said, “Yeah, but you guys aren’t expecting a kid yet, so what else am I supposed to talk about?” It’s the same thing when you have a sunburn and everyone feels the need to say, “Got a little sun, eh?” You want to respond, No, I’ve set about dying my skin a deep fuchsia. You like it? Just two more treatments to go!
And then there are the pregnant woman comments. “Still haven’t had the baby yet, huh?” If it were me, I’d have a hard time not responding, “Oh, no, I had him. He’s just hidden away somewhere and I swallowed a watermelon.” There’s also the obvious advice and predictions. “You’re going to be up late feeding him.”“He’s going to cry in the wee hours of the morning and you won’t get much sleep.”“There are a lot of diapers in your future!” Really?? Babies cry? They eat? They poop? If only one of the initiated had warned me about that beforehand, we could have avoided the whole thing!
Okay, let me turn down the sarcasm a little. I realize that people are just excited and so they feel the need to say something, anything. But what I like is when the old guys just look me in the eye with a sparkle and say, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s awesome. You’ll love being a dad” or when someone says, “When you need someone to watch him so you guys can go out, give me a call.”
But why do we always feel the need to say the same old things ad nauseum? I catch myself doing it too. Someone is selling his house, so every time I see him, I ask, “Anyone interested in the house yet?” Part of it is that I really do care and want to know and part is that I’m not sure what else to say. There’s a guy at
So why is it that we’re so willing to re-hash the same tired conversation fragments again and again, but so loathe to bring up spiritual matters? I guess it’s good that we don’t usually hound our unbelieving friends (“So, when are you going to go to church with me? When are you going to get right with God? Huh? Huh?”), although I have had occasional success with such a tack. But where is that irresistible compulsion from deep within to ask our fellow believers, “How are things with your soul?” or “What are you struggling with this week?” or “What can I pray for?” instead of just asking, “Arm still broken, eh? When’s the cast come off again?” for the five hundredth time?
And those people who are outside of the Church and unaware of what Christ has done for them—why don’t we find ourselves automatically telling them, “I pray for you regularly” or, “Jesus loves you,” or asking them, “Have you ever considered the claims of Jesus Christ?” or even, “Do you have any spiritual beliefs? What are they?” I know, I know. We don’t want to annoy them, so we ask the easier questions like, “How’s married life treating you?” News flash: you’re annoying them anyway.
In the Bible, any time the Holy Spirit “comes upon” someone, the result is that person saying something. It’s true—check it out. When we don’t know what to say, we can either open our mouths and release whatever overused small talk and niceties are currently in the chamber, or we can ask the Holy Spirit who indwells us for guidance to say something that may have eternal value. Or we can emit an eardrum-piercing screech that takes the paint of the walls. That’s what Calvin often chooses to do.
They really do cry, don’t they?
Soil Deo Gloria,