Solid Food and Splendor


One of the first Matt Chandler sermons I remember listening to was about diversity in the church. The main thought was that the gospel reaches all types of people, and therefore, churches should reach all peoples. The one thing Chandler said that stuck out to me was that it’s important to have young people and old people because faith basically retards without both. The church needs the young because they are enthusiastic and passionate, and it needs the old because there’s a calm steadfastness that comes from having lived through crises before.

Proverbs 20:29 says, “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”

I totally have gray hairs that I have trouble accepting as my splendor. I used to dye those bad boys, but I’ve grown old enough to view the purchase of hair dye as frivolity… so I pluck them.

And I have pimples. It’s evidently been five years since I’ve had an appointment with the dermatologist, and his office just informed me that I have to make an appointment if I want them to renew my prescription.

Those two physical flaws combine for an unfair combination in which I have neither the benefits of age nor youth… which reflects my current character situation as well; I’m neither truly wise, nor unbridled; I’m neither experienced nor innocent; I’m neither old nor young.

But I want to be both.

I’m currently really encouraged by the things God is doing in my life because I think I’m growing in steadfast calm and wisdom, but I’m a little afraid that I’m losing my enthusiasm and passion. I know that there must be a way to retain both, but it feels an awful lot like we get to be one or the other.

I haven’t written much about it, because I had an odd sense of fear about announcing it and making it official, but I’ve put an offer on a house. It’s a short sale out in the suburbs. It has four bedrooms, two baths, and it’s the kind of house a person raises a family in. I don’t have a family to raise, but I’m fully and finally submitting to my desire to settle down and have a family.

I admit it.

I want that.. I haven’t always wanted it, and it still scares the hell out of me, but I definitely want my schedule to be the same every week. I want to get a dog , go to the library, and plan out my meals for an entire week before I buy groceries.

I’ve always thought of aging well as something that 55-yr-olds should worry about as they get closer to that senior discount, but I’m beginning to realize how important it is throughout an entire life. I’ve read a ton of blog posts and books in the last couple of years about extended adolescence and how damaging it is to the family. I’ve experienced the disappointment that comes along with standing in front of a young man who really should grow up. He was the man who Paul wrote to in 1 Corinthians 3, when he stated, “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.”

I don’t want that to describe me.

And while I’m very smart, and think I’ve consistently sought a deeper understanding of the word than average Jane, I wonder if I wasn’t seeking milky experiences as I lived out my life. World travel, coffee shop ministries, and passionate engagement are wonderful and necessary, but they also provided me with instant gratification. They fed me quickly, without much effort on my part, which sounds a lot like drinking milk from a bottle. Solid food sounds a lot more like making mortgage payments every month, attending church even though I’m not getting a lot out of it right now, and staying put.

What do you think?

Settling down seems like solid food that I’ve refused to eat for a bit. What solid food do you struggle to swallow?

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4 thoughts on “Solid Food and Splendor

  1. I think there’s nothing wrong with, “World travel, coffee shop ministries, and passionate engagement are wonderful and necessary,” so what if they provide you with instant gratification. Who says there’s anything wrong with instant gratification? I think you’re trying to be to “mature,” and instead are just settling for a negative mentality about those things.

    You said, “I’m very smart, and think I’ve consistently sought a deeper understanding of the word than average Jane,” which interests me. Have you ever studied Christian apologetics?

    I have a question for you, 1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;” So what reason can you give for your hope in Christ, what defense do you make for the truth of Christianity? What reason can you give for believing in Jesus?

    • Jason: My point in writing this wasn’t that world travel, coffee shop ministries, and passionate engagement are wrong. As you quoted me already, those things are wonderful. The point was that, for me, these things are milk rather than solid food, and I’m seeking to be the kind of person who grows up, rather than the type who lives in Neverland, eternally young. It’s not that I have a negative mentality about travel; I wouldn’t call it wonderful if I did, and I wouldn’t have traveled the world as much as I have. For many people, world travel in the name of Christ IS solid food, but for me it’s a love of romance and a disdain for norms. It’s also not accurate to say that I’m trying to be too “mature” since one of the things I mentioned in the post was wanting to be both old and young.

      My life is changing, and I don’t want to be the kind of woman who refuses to adjust to those changes.

      As far as apologetics go, I’ve never done any formal study, but I have read a few books on the subject. However, I’m not sure apologetics relate much to the ideas in this post, and I’m not sure why you bring it up. 1 Peter 3:15 is an important verse, but the way you’ve inserted it here concerns me. If you look at the context of that verse, it isn’t about apologetics in general, but is specifically about how to respond to malicious people who cause a Christian to suffer for her faith. Therefore, it seems like you are seeking idle arguments. If you truly have questions about my reasons for hope, I’d be happy to comment about that, but I’m not interested in arguing for argument’s sake.

  2. Hi Kathryn, you said, “The point was that, for me, these things are milk rather than solid food, and I’m seeking to be the kind of person who grows up, rather than the type who lives in Neverland, eternally young.” I realize that, my point was that I disagreed with you. I don’t think those things are “milk rather than solid food.” Looking again at my original comment though, I see that it was quite brief, I suppose it seemed rather argumentative to you, and I apologize for that. What I was trying to do in say that I think you’re living a very productive and important life, and that those ministry activities you engage in sound very important and valuable to me.

    Apologetics relates to the ideas in this post and to any time anyone talks about Jesus because the question can always be asked, “What reason do you have for believing these things?” I brought it up because I like discussing apologetics with people. I asked you what your reasons for faith in Christ were because I know a lot of Christians haven’t heard of Christian apologetics, and I was going to share this article with you if you also hadn’t heard of apologetics:

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/jesus-resurrection

    It’s by Professor William Lane Craig, and offers historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ. If you have time, and are interested, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. And yes, I would love to know what reasons you would give for your faith in Christ.

    You said, “If you look at the context of that verse, it isn’t about apologetics in general, but is specifically about how to respond to malicious people who cause a Christian to suffer for her faith. Therefore, it seems like you are seeking idle arguments.” I don’t see how the context of that verse implies that I’m seeking anything, idle arguments or otherwise. But in any case, you are mistaken to say that the command in 1 Peter 3:15 “isn’t about apologetics in general, but is specifically about how to respond to malicious people who cause a Christian to suffer for her faith.” This excerpt from this link explains:

    http://bible.org/seriespage/brief-history-apologetics

    “The Apologetic Mandate in 1 Peter 3:15

    Our survey of New Testament apologetics would not be complete without taking notice of 1 Peter 3:15, which has often been regarded as the classic biblical statement of the mandate for Christians to engage in apologetics.11 Peter instructs believers to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense [apologia] to every one who asks you to give an account [logos] for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” Three key observations should be made about this text.

    First, Peter is definitely instructing believers to make a reasoned defense of their beliefs. Logos (the same word used in John 1:1 to refer to the preexistent Christ) is a very flexible word, but in this context it clearly refers to a rational explanation or account. The word apologia, while not meaning “apologetics” in the modern technical sense, does indicate that Christians are to make the best case they can for their confession of Jesus Christ as Lord.

    Second, this apologetic mandate is given generally to all Christians, requiring them to give reasons for faith in Christ to anyone who asks for them. In the context Peter is specifically urging believers to be ready to do this when threatened with suffering for their faith (see 1 Peter 3:13-14, 16-17), but there is no basis for limiting the mandate to such situations. The language is quite general (“always . . . to every one who asks you”) and makes the apologetic mandate a standing order for the church.

    Third, Peter instructs us to engage in apologetics with proper attitudes toward both the non-Christians with whom we are speaking and the Lord about whom we are speaking: “with gentleness and reverence.” The term “gentleness” indicates the manner in which we are to answer those who challenge our faith (again, in context this includes both “seekers” and those who are antagonistic to the Christian message). The term “reverence” (phobos, almost always translated “fear”) is translated “respect” in some versions, and this is often understood as referring to respect toward the people to whom we are speaking. However, Peter has just said we are not to show phobos toward people (3:14), and elsewhere says we are to show phobos toward God (1:17; 2:17). Almost certainly, then, Peter is telling us to conduct our defense of the faith with an attitude of holy fear or reverence toward Christ, whom we honor as Lord (3:15). We do so by striving to be faithful to Christ both in what we say and in how we live (verse 16).”

    Again I apologize for my brief comment that seemed argumentative. I was just trying to tell you there is real, solid, value in the things you are doing, and also interested in finding out if you had heard of Christian apologetics.

    Take care and God bless!

    • Jason: I’m sorry, but my blog isn’t a platform for instruction in apologetics. I can appreciate your passion for it, but I don’t share that passion, so I don’t intend to check out the links you’ve included. I looked over your blog and realized that your intent is to increase believers’ knowledge of apologetics, but I’m not interested in investing more time in study of apologetics than I already have.

      Additionally, if I did intend to learn more about apologetics, I would not seek you out as my guide. You, unfortunately, are a person I don’t know. I’m sure you’re a lovely fellow, but you’ve been presumptuous in disagreeing with me (a person you don’t know) about my sanctification. You cannot possibly know whether the ministries I’m involved in are aiding my progressive sanctification or obstructing it. If I were to seek out a person to study apologetics with, I would seek someone who I respect and honor as wise. As I mentioned before, you are a stranger, and as such, haven’t built the required trust for this kind of instruction.

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