Complicated Simplicity

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prayer is child’s play

Why do humans love to complicate something that is child’s play?

The following joke I heard when I was in university, told by a Jesuit priest who was my professor. I laughed so hard that I never forgot it. For me it sums up what is wrong in our Western main line churches because they tend to intellectualize the gospel. Theology and doctrine or a better word would be sophistry, replaces spirituality and a basic love relationship with God.

Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee when He turned to Simon Peter and asked,
“Who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered,
” Why you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
And Jesus was pleased with his answer.

And so Jesus turns to the modern-day theologian and asks,
“Who do you say that I am?”
And the modern-day theologian says,
” Why you are the *eschatological manifestation in the ground of our being, The *Kerygma which finds its fulfilment in interpersonal relationships.”
And Jesus responds,

*escatalogical-a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind.

*kerygma-basic salvation message

No wonder Jesus says,

‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’

Matthew 19:14

And in even stronger terms,

“I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will and become like little childrenyou will never get into the kingdom from heaven…” Matthew 18:4

A relationship to the living God is child’s play. Listen to this exchange between two of my young children:

Five-year old David suddenly sat straight up in bed, popped his eyes open and yelled excitedly,

“Someone just called my name. I think it was God!”

Emily took her thumb out of her mouth and lisped,

“Who is God?”

I turned my head to look at her and smiled, “You know, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Emily was still puzzled,

“You mean the priest at church?”

“No”, I responded, “The God that fills the whole universe.”

Emily took her thumb out of her mouth and said very dismissively,

“Oh, Himmm. I know Himmm.”

Then she closed her eyes and stuck her thumb back in her mouth.

Discussion closed.

I barely held in my laughter. This little squirt took for granted her close relationship with the Living God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God is close to babies and little children. His relationship with them is not complicated, as natural as breathing. They are simply His children; He loves them and they reflect love back.

13 thoughts on “Complicated Simplicity

  1. I love that joke. Unfortunately, it is not a joke, but a reality in many Churches — including some Catholic ones — where the gospel has been so intellectualized it is now marginalilzed. I will be using that interchange told by your priest at a later time in my own work. I will, of course, cite you.


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