Uncommon God, Common Good
6/17/13 at 02:55 PM 0 Comments

A Father’s Day Reflection: The Grand Prize of Simplicity

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I remember Dr. John M. Perkins once saying, “There’s no such thing as a sophisticated Christian.” I have never forgotten those words. Dr. Perkins wasn’t saying that people should be simplistic or unskilled in their work. What I think he was saying is that people should be simple and pure in their devotion to Christ and other people.

My father was a simple man. In contrast, I grew up wanting to be sophisticated, and I wished my dad were that as well. How I longed to be marked by near-omniscience and hailed as a sage by my peers! While I have never received such accolades, one person was convinced early on that my father was one of the brightest men who ever lived: one of my nieces once boasted as a child to those at school that her grandfather (my dad) knew so many languages. She had witnessed as a little girl how he would strike up conversations with people from different countries. This impressed her. But she didn’t seem to know at that time that Dad knew only a few words in each of those languages, and that he was out of his depths once they responded. It gave my dad great joy to speak a few words of Japanese or Polish, for example, and watch Japanese and Polish people’s faces light up when they heard him speak to them. My dad had a way with a few simple words of greeting and with making people’s days brighter wherever he went.

On Father’s Day, I am thankful for Dad’s profound relational simplicity: he loved people, really loved them. As I grow older, I hope to be more and more like my late dad—not fixated with being sophisticated, but relationally pure and simple.

This piece is cross-posted at Patheos and The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. Comments made here are not monitored. To join the conversation, please comment on this post at Patheos.

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths and Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church. These volumes and his others can be found wherever fine books are sold.

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