TOD 08.29.07: I’ve never been much of a “do-it-yourselfer.” The idea of watching people repair things on television is a bit like suggesting I watch Court TV: I won’t enjoy the experience, and I start to suspect there’s something wrong with people who do. But perhaps I’ve judged prematurely. Oh, don’t worry, I still have no interest in doing home repairs, but I do love to do many other things for myself, such as cook. My son forced me to think about this recently when he wanted to “help” me by learning how to break eggs. He now demands that no eggs be broken without his participation, and his newest request, of course, is, “I want to do it all by myself,” which means yolks full of toddler thumbs. But all this seems perfectly natural. I want my son to grow up and do many things for himself. The question is, to what degree does God want the same thing for us, His children? Some would say this impulse to “do-it-ourselves” has absolutely no place when it comes to theology and salvation, but I have to wonder whether something so clearly universal in man’s design should be so quickly dismissed as a defect.
Elizabeth wrote: What is it that the do it yourself impetus points to? What might God want us to do for ourselves? DIY often expresses a desire for self-sufficiency. Are we to make ourselves independent of God?
Andrew wrote: I think that's the question that doesn't get discussed. Generally speaking, people either presume that everything is DIY or else nothing is. I think something must be and some things must not be. (Observe that my son clearly needs my help with many things as the other lesson.) The question is whether we ever "grow up" in Christianity or not. My job is to make myself unnecessary to my son. To what degree does this tell us anything about God's plan for us? I'm not answering the questions. I'm simply saying it's premature to define them as unworthy of asking. I want to explore the question, not treat it as a locked door into which we may not peer.
Elizabeth wrote: Well, it might be a bit presumptuous to say "everyone." I guess I'm just at a loss for anything that would really be diy. In what are we supposed to be self-sufficient? That seems more to be the antithesis of our purpose, more that most of us need to realize that without God, we can do nothing, we are nothing. In every moment of every day we should be asking for God's aid, thanking God for his gifts, and seeking His will. Not an ounce of diy. Though a question to which the answer is "no" can still be a very good question in deed. I just feel like I missing something, so I ask. I'm thinking and thinking and spinning my wheels ...
Andrew wrote: I agree with you about the feeling at a loss part, but I suspect that's because we've been trained to think of any possible answer as a mistake. There may be none, but then we're left trying to explain both the "do it yourself" tendency and also the "grow up and don't depend on your parents anymore" objective so widespread in humanity. Sin? Could be. Indicator of some deep truth that we're overlooking? Could be. Here's a trivial example. My son once needed me to spoon feed him. Then, for a while, we shared the task. Now, I require him to do it for himself when I can. Surely I'm supposed to feed myself independently of God, right? Well, there's these food restrictions and there's health concerns. Right. And once we grasp those, we don't need to pray for God that He guide us in using our forks efficiently. What about things more substantial? Probably a good show topic.
Post-show thoughts: There are two errors: Thinking that we aren’t supposed to do anything ourselves and thinking that we are supposed to do everything ourselves. Our relationship with God is a complex blend of both acquiring and implementing what He has given us and depending upon Him at every moment. If my son asks me to help him with something he's not yet able to do for himself, that's good. If my son asks me to help him with something he should be able to do for himself, that's not good. God gives us gifts, and we must always use them His way for His glory, but that does not mean that we must beg him daily for our allotment of the ability to use the gift He's already given.