We were asked to contribute an article for the Association of Christian Schools International, so this one is geared towards educators but we wanted to share it with you too!
How do we get to know God? Let’s consider how we get to know anyone. From birth, we get to know our family by mirroring. We reflect what we see in them. Our facial expressions, reactions, tone and mannerisms are a developing process of infinitely mirroring what we see. Getting to know others and becoming ourselves are an intricately linked affair, a dance of sorts. Back and forth, we see what they do, we process that information into our own bodies, and then reflecting it back to them. In a sense, and in our own unique way, we become “like” them. The very journey of becoming ourselves is a journey of knowing another. Later in life this back and forth dance becomes more external. We begin to think, feel, intuit and develop the skill for asking questions to get to know others. But early in life, we “know” only by mirroring.
If that is the way our Creator established the early development stages in our physical bodies, would the same principle be something to consider for the early stages of our spiritual development? We cannot see God with our eyes, but perhaps we can also get to know him by mirroring. When awareness of God begins to germinate in early childhood and grows tentatively through the teenage years, let’s ask ourselves: Are we introducing our children to a mirroring process with their Creator, or asking them to jump directly into concepts and theological constructs? Are we inviting them to become a God-reflecting people or simply wanting to believe and assert the right things? While both are important and they are not mutually exclusive, it seems that there is quite a difference between the two. Anyone who works with students has seen, at times, the discrepancy between what a student says he or she believes and the life they are growing into. And far too often, that gap widens until there is a break which can lead to a complete separation from the faith of their youth.
A part of our role as influencers is to foster culture. A school or family culture, and even a peer culture that accurately reflects the nature of our wonderful God is something worth mirroring. How do we reflect that nature? Love for the disenfranchised, restoration of the broken, quiet time with the Father, healing of bodies and minds and unity among His followers…these are among the things that seemed to consume the time of our Lord Jesus while he walked this Earth as a man. And as hard as it is to admit, we live in and often reflect a society that promotes comfort for ourselves, quick fixes, chaotic schedules, possessions to manage, and consumer-mentality, even in our church families. It is imperative that we bridge this gap for our young generation. Living in the world that we live in, we cannot rely on ideologies to bear the load of our students’ knowledge of God. As true as they may be, they are simply not strong enough. Theology is so important, but perhaps it is not actually the foundation….