Little children, guard yourselves from idols. ~ 1 John 5.21 My dear children, I hear others talk of passing on a vibrant faith to their children and I get a little queasy. My gut tells me about all you’ve seen in me has been a man wrestling the angel of doubt and refusing to concede, so that if you’ve inherited anything from me its likely a stiff neck. Oh well. Consider it fodder for your future therapy sessions. But on this night I want to write to you to warn you of an insidious impostor roaming about seeking whom he may devour with lies and lines as to who is in and who is out, who is cherished and who is tolerated, who is the true church and who only manages motions. This is the fickle god born from the fears of men, an impotent prick of a deity who along with wood, hay, and stubble will not survive the fire. Whatever you may or may not choose to do in regard to matters of faith, promise me you will guard yourselves from this heartless wonder. You must know the weary faith of your father rests in the foolish belief in what the old ones call the love of God, the undying affection in which there is no shadow of turning, the fierce devotion to every thing that once erupted from the imagination of grace, the fondness for this very world with all its pain and all its riches. This love holds everything together, even when, and maybe most especially when it all looks to be falling apart. This love sees you not as some project to be improved upon or a humpty dumpty that one day will finally and forever be put back together. No, my children, this love sees you as it has always seen you, as created in the image and as such an heir not to some vibrating faith so much as to the house and lineage of everlasting kindness. Yes, children, this is the God I have long wrestled, the one who daily smiles upon your father’s stiff neck and I pray the necks of his children after him. Reject any other gods for the chaff they are. They concede too easily and know nothing of mercy.