“Very Good”: Educating for Gratitude Michael Goheen Trinity Western University Langley, B.C

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Text of “Very Good”: Educating for Gratitude Michael Goheen Trinity Western University Langley, B.C

  • Slide 1
  • Very Good: Educating for Gratitude Michael Goheen Trinity Western University Langley, B.C.
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  • Gods Evaluation God saw that it was good (6x) God saw that it was good (6x) Completion: It was very good! Completion: It was very good!
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  • Ancient Near Eastern Myths Chaos and order, evil and good co- mixed from the beginning Chaos and order, evil and good co- mixed from the beginning Genesis: Very good, then evil enters the world because of human rebellion Genesis: Very good, then evil enters the world because of human rebellion
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  • Observations Each part of the creation is good as it conforms to Gods order Each part of the creation is good as it conforms to Gods order Whole in harmony of the parts is very good Whole in harmony of the parts is very good
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  • Creation as a symphony The creation is a symphony where we find a variety of creatures each singing the praises of the Maker in accordance with its unique character, different from creatures of another make. The lion is to serve the Lord like a lion, the dandelion like a dandelion. The difference in service depends on the difference in the Word addressed to them. The response of the creation to the one all-embracing Wordserve Me!is thus a symphony of voices in which each type of creature performs its unique function in the indispensable setting of the whole (Bernard Zylstra).
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  • Shalom of creation The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom.... In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delighta rich state of affairs in which the natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be... In a shalomic state each entity would have its own integrity or structured wholeness, and each would also possess many edifying relations to other entities (Neal Plantinga).
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  • Observations Each part of the creation is good as it conforms to Gods order Each part of the creation is good as it conforms to Gods order Whole in harmony of the parts is very good Whole in harmony of the parts is very good Role of humankind in creation Role of humankind in creation
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  • For the sake of humankind Blessing or mandate? Blessing or mandate? ANE view of human role ANE view of human role Delightful calling Delightful calling In relationship with God The whole Bible leads us to expect a glorious renewal of life on earth, so that the age to come will be an endlessly thrilling adventure of living with God on the new earth. With his presence pervading every act, we shall be more fully human than we have ever been... (David Lawrence).
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  • For the sake of humankind Blessing or mandate? Blessing or mandate? Delightful calling Delightful calling In relationship with God Joy of discovery
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  • Experience of a Father Delights to give good gifts Delights to give good gifts Delights in our response Delights in our response Enjoyment Thankfulness Love
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  • Universe full of blessings Gods creation is evidence of the caring hand of the Creator reaching out to secure the well-being of his creatures, of a Father extending a universe full of blessings to his children. (Gordon Spykman)
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  • City of Angels Delighting in Gods good creation Delighting in Gods good creation He slowly savours the moments taking delight and joy in the simplest pleasures. He tastes the sweetness of fruit for the first time; he lingers as he smells the pleasant aroma of perfume; he pauses to enjoy the sensation of hot water in the shower; he delights in the embrace of a woman. He takes the time to soak in the joy and delight of these new experiences. No recognition of Giver, no thanks! No recognition of Giver, no thanks!
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  • Gratitude: The Heartbeat of Pauline Spirituality Gratitude permeates Pauls life and holds a prominent place in his letters to the young churches.... Gratitude is the prospective attitude that he carriesand expects believers to carryinto their daily life in the world. For Paul, thanksgiving marks the dividing line between belief and unbelief, between the obedient and disobedient heart. It is in the expression of gratitude that one truly honors God as the creator and Lord of the world. On the other hand, a lack of gratitude is a primary sin against God (Rom 1.21). - R. P. Meye
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  • Heartbeat of Pauline spirituality For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving... (1 Tim 4.4). And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3.17) If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10.30-31)
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  • All of life as a gift We serve Christ by thankfully receiving our life as a gift from his hand (CT, par. 46).
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  • Posture of gratitude We are dependent children of a gracious Father, and as children we receive all of the goodness of the creation as a gift from his hand. Our dependence upon him places us in a posture of humility, receptiveness, and gratitude; and that posture shapes how we approach his creation as well. The blessings of creation are not things that we own to do with as we please; they are gifts of grace that we receive with thanksgiving and use in ways that honor the Fathers rule over his entire creation (Hielema, 151).
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  • What thwarts thankfulness? Humanist story that pervades Western culture Humanist story that pervades Western culture
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  • Humanistic Story Secular: The Way of the (modern) world: Or, Why Its Tempting to Live As If God Doesnt Exist (Craig Gay) Secular: The Way of the (modern) world: Or, Why Its Tempting to Live As If God Doesnt Exist (Craig Gay) Non-human creation just natural processes to be exploited Non-human creation just natural processes to be exploited Human life product of our resourceful achievements Human life product of our resourceful achievements Squelches gratitude Squelches gratitude
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  • What thwarts thankfulness? Humanist story that pervades Western culture Humanist story that pervades Western culture Satiation of consumerism Satiation of consumerism Otherworldliness of Platonic gospel Otherworldliness of Platonic gospel Turn your eyes upon Jesus...
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  • Sport and Competition My Platonism and a degraded view of sport My Platonism and a degraded view of sport Gods gift Gods gift A phys. ed. teachers question A phys. ed. teachers question What is it about sports and competition that delights you? What is it about sports and competition that delights you? God made me fast. When I run I feel his pleasure.... its not just fun. To win is to honour him (Eric Liddell).
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  • My Delight in Gods Good Gift of Competitive Sports Emotional intensity Emotional intensity Thrill of victory, agony of defeat Way out of proportion with importance Absorbed intensely and utterly in serious pursuit of non-serious activity Joy, emotional vibrancy spills into life Play relativizes our over-seriousness toward life, filling us with a spirit of joy and delight that carries over into all aspects of our existence. Play relativizes our over-seriousness toward life, filling us with a spirit of joy and delight that carries over into all aspects of our existence.
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  • My Delight in Gods Good Gift of Competitive Sports Emotional intensity Emotional intensity Physical satisfaction Physical satisfaction Athletes know the beauty of intensity of effort, the motivation of pursuit of goals, the feeling and being of fitness, the expressiveness of movement, the creativity of play, the excitement of total involvement and the joy of sport (Zuidema). Athletes know the beauty of intensity of effort, the motivation of pursuit of goals, the feeling and being of fitness, the expressiveness of movement, the creativity of play, the excitement of total involvement and the joy of sport (Zuidema).
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  • My Delight in Gods Good Gift of Competitive Sports Emotional intensity Emotional intensity Physical satisfaction Physical satisfaction Social bonding Social bonding Aesthetic enjoyment Aesthetic enjoyment Creativity of play That perfect play
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  • My Delight in Gods Good Gift of Competitive Sports Emotional intensity Emotional intensity Physical satisfaction Physical satisfaction Social bonding Social bonding Aesthetic enjoyment Aesthetic enjoyment Religious deepening Religious deepening Delight turned upward into thanks
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  • Educating for thanksgiving... Delight and joy in goodness of Gods creation Delight and joy in goodness of Gods creation Thankfulness and gratitude as proper response Thankfulness and gratitude as proper response
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  • Struggle for shalom For Wolterstorff, the goal of Christian higher education is to energize students for a certain way