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We Christians are the speakers of light. We are the proclaimers of joy. Wherever we go, we are the mascots of the gospel, the imagers of the infinitely creative Father, and the younger brothers and sisters of the humbled and triumphant Word. We speak in this world on behalf of the One who made up lightning and snowflakes and eggs.

Or so we say.

Saying things is easy. Meaning them—in the realm of will and emotions—is harder. Knowing what they actually mean is more difficult still. Living out who we know we are and whom we follow with total consistency is, well . . . have you ever ridden a white whale by the light of a blue moon in a leap year?

We say we want to be like God, and we feel we mean it. But we don't. Not to be harsh, but if we did really mean it, we would be having a lot more fun than we are. We aim for safety and cultural respectability instead of following our stated first principles: that we are made in God's image and should strive to imitate him.

A dolphin flipping through the sun beyond the surf, a falcon in a dive, a mutt in the back of a truck, flying his tongue like a flag of joy, all reflect the Maker more wholly than many of our endorsed thinkers, theologians, and churchgoers.

Look over our day-to-day lives. How do we parent, for example? Rules. Fears. Don'ts. Don't jump on the couch. No gluten in this house. Get down from that tree. Quiet down. Hold still. We live as if God were an infinite list of negatives. He is holiness, the rawest and richest of all purity. In our bent way of thinking, that makes him the biggest stress-out of all.

But how does God parent? He gave us one rule at the beginning: "You must not eat from that tree." Only one tree was ...

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Mud Alive
N.D. Wilson
N.D. Wilson is a best-selling author, observer of ants, and easily distracted father of five. His latest book, Death by Living, is a creative nonfiction celebration of mortality.
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April 2014

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