Monday, April 28, 2014

Thoughts from the BEG Forum

Last weekend, I (Nate) went to a conference in the mountains called the BEG Forum. Besides being in an incredibly beautiful setting, I heard from two really great speakers. They shared their hearts for the church to work along with parents to disciple children. The topic is near and dear to our hearts as we think about raising little Ellie in the knowledge and love of God.

Here are some photos from the weekend followed by some short thoughts that I gleaned from the weekend.

The conference center in the Alps

We learned to "think Orange" - church (yellow) and family (red) together

Some really great thoughts from a psychologist about talking with children
I was able to play with the worship band and get some great experience leading music in German

So in no particular order, here are some thoughts that were valuable to me coming out of the weekend.

1. The goal of parenting is not well-behaved children. Our goal as parents is to lead children to the true and living God and teach them to follow him. This idea is profound to me. I think there is a strong pragmatic force in parenting. It moves us towards what works in the moment instead of what is best for the child or what moves us towards our ultimate goal. Guiding children towards holiness and godliness involves bringing them into our relationship with God and allowing them to share in that. Jesus modeled this idea. He was far more concerned with the hearts of his hearers than their outward ability to keep the law.

2. Our culture (it was addressed to Austrian culture, but it fits with American culture, as well) has a very distorted view of what love actually is. It is highly romanticized (does every kiss really begin with a jewelry store?). The question that was really stark for me was "What kind of romantic feelings did Jesus have for us, when he was on the cross?" This thought is huge for me in exploring the "other side" of love. The speaker said that this is in direct contrast to an Old Testament view of love that is forever tied to actions and not just feelings. (I understand that this could be its own post or a series thereof.)

I think this idea resonated so much for me coming out of the last few months with Ellie. Even though there is a lot of "romanticizing" that surrounds having children, no one has deeply romantic feelings about holding a screaming baby. But, there is still so much love in that moment.

These are just some of the thoughts I had coming out of this weekend. Feel free to share your experiences if you were there. Or share your reactions to what I have shared.