Faith and Duplos

LEGO Duplo

A few weeks ago, my favorite advice columnist let me down.

Now, I don’t turn to Carolyn Hax for theological guidance–nor does she usually offer it–but I do think her relationship advice is pretty solid.  So, I was disappointed to read her take on faith:

“Faith isn’t in the teachings or rituals of the group. It’s in the individual’s belief—with one after another after another combining to create a religion.”

I was so disappointed, I included this quote in my sermon that week so I could preach against it.  Take that, Ms. Hax.

Truly, I think this understanding of faith is more than wrong.  It’s dangerous.

Zoe and I were having a Duplo build-a-thon yesterday (Duplos, for the uninitiated, are Bigger Legos).  Zoe wanted to build a tall tower, with just the smaller blocks “one after another after another.”  Guess what?  This is not the sturdiest way to build.  You need the bigger pieces.  You need a base.  And, when the tower gets really tall, you need at least one pair of hands to hold it up.

Not to get all metaphysical on a Sunday afternoon, but . . . piling little block on top of little block doesn’t sustain a tower, and piling individual belief on top of individual belief doesn’t sustain a religion.  We need each other.  We need each other’s voices, each other’s stories, each other’s hands. And when the tower falls down–as even a reinforced tower will do–we need each other to cry or laugh with us as we get ready to build again.

We need to know that, no matter what,  it’s God’s hands that are holding us up.

Lego-duplo

What are you building these days?

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5 Comments

Filed under Ministry Matters, Preschool Theology

5 responses to “Faith and Duplos

  1. Amy Becker

    Preach it!

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  2. Jenny Olsztynski

    Amen !!!

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  3. I had similar thoughts about the lack of community when reading a story that came across my news feed.
    My Take: ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’ is a cop-out. Taken with your entry it reminded me of a quote I keep hanging around in the quote folder in my computer.

    Imagine you lived in the High Middle Ages. Your world was permeated with Christian imagery. You marked the days by the sound of the church bells and the weeks and months according to the liturgical calendar. You lived in anno domini, the year of our Lord. It wasn’t football season; it was Advent. Your role models were the saints, whose feast days were regular reminders of a drama greater than yourself. The architecture …the music, literature, and sculpture all gave you a vision of transcendence, reminding you of the central elements of that great story…. Birth and death, love and loss—all of your personal experiences would be shaped and interpreted by that larger story. (Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance)

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    • Our lives have become one of spinning from one thing to another. Spinning to tread water, spinning to keep up, spinning to ge ahead. We have forgotten how to unplug and be at peace. Your quote brings to light where we have fallen astray. Thank you for the reminder.

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    • That’s a thought provoking quote, Julie! We are using something called the Narrative Lectionary at my congregations this year, and part of the goal is to help us see our stories as part of God’s story.

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