A Good Pizza and a Good Baptism

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Let’s face it, the excellence of the pizza is in the ingredients. Of course, there are other factors like the composition and preparation of the dough and the type of fire. But mostly it’s the ingredients and what they do to and with each other. I am reminded of this because I’m sharing a slice with friends right now. The combination of factors is just about right. Yum.

The same is true of spiritual formation, especially as we think of children and youth. It’s the ingredients and how their flavors all mix together that makes the difference. If, on the one hand, spiritual formation takes place in isolation, separated from the whole community,  it will have one sort of outcome. In that case faith usually ends up looking like a piece of information that was dumped into somebody’s head without the benefit of experiencing it first hand in the gathered community. It’s abstract. And something you graduate from.

In contrast to this is a well-assembled and baked Christian where all the essential ingredients of spiritual formation combine for a delicious outcome. There is broad multi-generational learning, parental engagement and modeling, direct encounters with pastors and spiritual mentors in the congregation, the first-hand experience of seeing/knowing a community worship, serve, learn, deal with problems, and support one another when life is hard. Strong and enduring spiritual formation won’t take place apart from these.

Tomorrow a bunch of young people will be splashing through the waters of baptism. Their arrival at that pool is preceded by much love, teaching, mentoring, a shared journey of faith, and an entire church family that has embraced and is embracing them. And that kind of experience, and its impact, will be qualitatively different than arriving at the same pool without those things.

What kind of spiritual formation do I desire for our children and youth? Well, the same as my pizza: Gimme the works, please. Put all the ingredients together so they can work their magic. And then let it bake until the flavors run all the way down into the dough. You never forget that kind of taste.

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