Thursday, March 12, 2009

Covenant Member Teaching

"In his recent book on Austen Farrer (Light in a Burning-Glass), Robert Slocum notes that Farrer recognized that human beings are never themselves by themselves. Children are 'like idiots in the cradle' who would remain so 'if no one had smiled them into smiling back, or talked us into talking.' We become humans when 'we are smiled and talked into being so.' So too, we are 'talked and loved into religious belief.'" Peter Leithart

A human is, in one sense, human at conception but must be taught to be human nonetheless. Parents and a variety of other teachers speak their children into humanity, telling them who they really are already. If Farrer is right in equating the means of our human and religious becoming, how does a parent speak an unbaptized child into Christian being? The lesson must be "this is who you may one day become" as opposed to "this is who you are."

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