The Kingdom of Children, Not Experts

Six years ago I went to a charismatic church service where people were dancing barefoot and eating home-grown carrots on a blanket in the back of the room while the pastor preached.

I was getting a degree in religion at the time, inundated with the works of Karl Barth and Richard Rohr and St. Augustine, and I remember thinking, “These people are wild, emotionally-driven feelers who need a good lesson in systematic theology.” To be blunt, I felt better than them because I spent four years studying theology. I rolled my eyes at songs like “Fill Me Up” because I was studying the Wesley brothers’ hymns. Every word out of the pastor’s mouth went through a hundred filters from my studies– “He’s taking that passage out of context! If only he knew what *this fancy theologian* said about that! Clearly he’s never read much about first century Israel!”

Midway through the service, one of the pastors approached me, saying God gave him a prophetic word for me. He asked if he could tell me and I awkwardly said yes, bowing my head and holding our my hands (like the good charismatics do). He said, “Savannah, I see you sitting at a kitchen table as a little girl, laughing with God the Father. You’re holding up your chin with cupped hands, nose to nose with your Dad, telling him every detail of your day. You need to know he loves every word. He wants you to start telling him everything without fear of losing his attention. He wants to be involved in every detail.”

It was one of those foot-in-mouth situations, where my heart exhaled at the kindness of his words and I was embarrassed of how judgmental I’d been for the previous hour.

Knowledge of God isn’t satisfying unless it’s perpetuating intimacy with him as your Father.

“If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child” -Frederick Buechner

I forget this, often finding myself overflowing with sermons and books and articles in my brain, but little time nose-to-nose with my Father. Arrogance doesn’t stem from hours spent talking with God in the kitchen, but it can easily stem from months of isolated time in the study. Whenever I sense myself detaching from God’s heart, turning him into an idea instead of a person, I think of the moment that pastor reminded me the Kingdom will be full of kids, not experts.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

If you’re thinking something like, “There’s another millennial snowflake Christian, refusing to seek after hard truth” I have a word of encouragement for you today: “I see you sitting at a kitchen table as a little girl (or boy!), laughing with God the Father…”

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