I spent the first portion of my somewhat spontaneous reading day Wednesday with Rob Moll’s book, What Your Body Knows about God.
When my friend Suzie first told me that she and her daughter Kate prayed for me, I was both deeply grateful and delightedly amused. I thought it was sweet. I mean, Kate was a wee diapered wonder who I loved fiercely and the thought of her squirmy self praying for me made me giggle. Then I got the “no, really, I’m serious” look. The conversation that followed marked me well, expanded my view of God who is beyond my understanding but still knowable. What if—as it often sometimes—babies are spiritually connected to God similar to how they are connected to their moms in utero via the umbilical cord? What if that connection is not clipped at birth, but rather fades over time? I sure loved the idea of it.
So yesterday, I’m reading Moll who essentially says that babies are born pre-wired to connect with God and others, that wee humans’ brains give evidence to an intentional design of humanity created to fulfill what Jesus identified as the greatest commandment: love God, love your neighbor. I’m reminded of the phrase “God-shaped vacuum” that has been used to describe the internal longing people have for God even before they know God. And all of this is heightened in my connect-the-dots brain because I am also reading C. S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces. Surely, we are God’s masterpiece, created to do the good he has created for us to do.
Based on this, Moll offers that “the most important aspect of nurturing children in the faith is to offer them the chance to directly experience God and the love of God through the community of his people.” He goes on to quote Scottie May and Catherine Stonehouse who say that “…a child’s brain and social developments blossom best when they are surrounded by a family-like community where multiple generation offer models of a lived-out faith and where all the adults take an interest in children’s spiritual growth.” While this is particularly true for children in development, I would not be surprised to find scientific evidence to support that all of us as ones being formed spiritually are best nurtured within such a community.