There’s a well-known passage in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (13:11) — “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.”
I learned that passage from the King James version, in which the last bit reads, “I put away childish things.” Hence the title for this week’s topic and the inspiration for our conversation.
There are a variety of commentaries you can read on this line from Paul, most of which, at least the ones I found, suggest that what the apostle is getting at here is a question of maturity, with the emphasis on spiritual maturity. The idea, I suppose, is moving away from a naive understanding of your faith to something more … I dunno, adult?
But I do think that we tend to read this in a much more straightforward way, and certainly one that conforms with oft-heard admonitions to quit being childish, to stop being a baby about things, to stop fooling around, and so on. In short, once you hit adulthood, it’s time to get with the program, take on the all the responsibilities that come with age, become a “productive member” of society, and so on.
Question: Who really wants that?
You hear echoes of this in criticisms of professional athletes derided for becoming rich “playing a kids’ game.” As if we wouldn’t jump at that chance ourselves.
The quote from author Terry Pratchett that illustrates our topic is a useful corrective, I think. Pratchett sets aside childish things because as a successful adult he could afford way better toys.
This week, in our conversation, we’re going to talk about childishness, approaching the world, and maybe even our faith, with childlike wonder, and ask whether we really want to put those things aside after all.Join us for the virtual discussion tomorrow evening, starting at 7 pm. Click on the link below to join our conversation on Zoom.