Note:  After this reflection there is a complete list of all Lenten posts by writers associated with CCBlogs. I invite you to visit their sites.

 

“[W]hen I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways…” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

 

“…until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” (Ephesians 3:13-15).

 

“Your mother doesn’t live here. Clean up after yourself”—sign in the kitchen of the Presbyterian Student Center, Montevallo, AL, circa 1983.

 

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! My SUV is being obsessive in its attempt to protect me by insisting I put on my seat belt. It doesn’t know that I’m only going down the driveway and slightly around the corner with a load of cut timbers for pick up on the curb by the local recycling center.

 

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! Again, with the warning! This time my vehicle thinks I’m leaving my keys in the ignition. But actually, I’ve left the door open while I unload more wood. I know exactly where my keys are.

 

Beep-beep-beep! says the microwave as “food is ready” scrolls across the screen. If I don’t immediately get the plate out of the oven, it beeps at me again, once, and will keep on doing that very often until I retrieve our breakfast burritos or get my reheated half-cup of coffee. Enough with the beeping!

 

We’ve gotten used to machines saving us from ourselves, haven’t we? Besides the insistent beeping and dinging, there are power toothbrushes that signal every thirty seconds that it’s time to go to a different part of the mouth. Computers make any variety of sounds to alert us that it’s time for our appointment or that a message has come in. And, of course, who can forget the humble alarm clock?

 

Sometimes it’s nice to be protected, reminded, and coddled, whether by machines or other people. I generally am glad that my car lets me know when the lights are left on or my keys are in the ignition, especially when I’m in a hurry. And when my brain is full, I’m grateful for the reminder of a promise to do this or that or for someone else doing a task I don’t have the energy to undertake.

 

But I wonder if we haven’t gotten so used to being taken care of that we expect others also to take the blame for our stupidity, weakness, and wrongdoing. The businessperson whines about circumstances when a deal falls through, but he or she actually wasn’t organized or didn’t pay attention to details. A young adult makes a bad mistake, but tries to paint himself or herself as the victim of poor upbringing. You or I sin, but it was due to (fill in lame excuse here).

 

No, being an adult—whether physically, emotionally or spiritually—means making up our own minds about what we want and what’s important. It’s keeping up with our lives and fulfilling our obligations. Being an adult is also taking responsibility for our actions, owning up to mistakes, failures, and sins, then trying to make restitution as we can. It’s accepting the consequences, whether we lock our keys in the car or hurt someone’s feelings or make a drastic error that has long-term effects on the community or the nation. It’s putting away “childish ways” like dependence and lack of accountability. We police ourselves, by our conscience, without needing so many external warning bells or legal sanctions to keep us in line.

 

How wonderful it would be to live in such a world.

 

© 2009 Tom Cheatham

 

 CCBlogs Lenten Posts

 

Don’t Eat Alone      The Connection      Pastor’s Post

Faith at Ease      Holy Vignettes      I-YOUniverse

Where the Wind      As the Deer      The Other Jesus

Mark Powell      Getting There      Ellen Haroutunian

Theolog      Welcoming Spirit      Living Word by Word

Where the Wind      Faith in Community      When Grace Happens

Theophiliacs J. Stambaugh      Theophiliacs A. Hunt      Everyday Liturgy

Available Light      Work in Progress      Allan Bevere

A Diner at the End of Time      The Painted Prayerbook      Just Words

The Church Geek      Breaking Fast on the Beach      The Pocket Mardis

Reflectionary      One Hand Clapping      Unorthodoxology

 

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