“Still Good” Saturday: “An Ounce of Pretension is Worth a Pound of Manure”*

This blog was originally posted at http://www.Renovare.org.

Over chocolate toast this morning, (Hey, It’s a birthday breakfast—cut us some slack.) the girls and I engaged in a little Ignatian meditation on John 1:43-51. After exploring what we saw, heard, taste, touched and felt within the passage, we began to focus on what the Holy Spirit was saying specifically to us.

The Birthday Girl said, “There are angels everywhere! I mean everywhere! They are bringing buckets of help from heaven all the time.”

The Tween said, “I really have no idea. I’ll have to think about this all day.”

And myself, well, I was speechless. I was convicted.

Is there something about Jesus’ declaration that in Nathanael there is no deceit–

connected to Nathanael’s statement about the shenanigans of Nazareth that in turn is–

connected to Nathanael’s declaration and belief in the Son of God?

Children are born without duplicity. They are what they are, and it all hangs out at the Walmart. A person without duplicity would easily say, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael is not playing to the crowd, he is not trying to please or deceive anyone. His life drips with simplicity. And from that simplicity he was able to spot the truth, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Simplicity helps us see clearly. Duplicity clouds our vision with expectation, fear, and worry.

A person without duplicity, a person without deceit, is the one who can spot the truth and follow it. A person without duplicity, a person without deceit, can be vulnerable in a relationship with God and with others.

The young folks who live in my house and raid my chocolate stash are under the sphere of my influence. I can create spaces where they choose to engage deceit, or duplicity just to survive. Or I can create spaces that are safe places to be who they are, to say what they think, to tell the truth about themselves and tell the truth about God.

There are many way to create these healthy, simple spaces.

  • Give children a growing self government. Train them for increased independence.
  • Be available and vulnerable. Tell the truth about yourself.
  • Offer children the same respect you would give an adult.
  • Listen and encourage truth telling even when it may not be what you want to hear.
  • All of the above suggestions are found in Richard Foster’s The Challenge of the Disciplined Life

*To quote the theologically sound movie Steel Magnolias, “An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.”

I’m carrying this around today, asking for forgiveness and starting again.

How do you create these safe, simple spaces in your home?

*It’s a joke.  I have no idea if it’s theologically sound or not. But it’s a darn good movie on truth telling in relationships.

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