Monday, August 5, 2013

What is the chief end of man?

Bethany Blankley responds to a symposium about how to pass on the faith with "Learning Theology through Catechism, Imagination, and Song":
.... The first question of the Westminster Catechism runs through my mind often: What is the chief end of man? The answer: To glorify God and enjoy him forever. God should be at the center of my universe at all times. This truth, that I learned as a child, has stuck with me throughout my life—no matter what circumstances I have endured, I had the foundation, the knowledge, the conviction, that God was with me, he loved me, and that he created me for a purpose: to glorify him and enjoy him forever.

The catechisms formed a foundation, a structure, for me to formulate my beliefs and calm my soul. But the reading of literature reinforced what I knew by awakening my imagination to learn about character and virtues to which I could aspire.

Children can learn much from literature. As a child I learned who God was through the eyes of Christian as he battled various temptations in Pilgrim's Progress, and through the eyes of Princess Irene who held fast to her grandmother's admonition during difficult times in George MacDonald's masterpiece, The Princess and the Goblin, and through the eyes of Lucy, who walked side by side with Aslan, as he comforted her during her adventures in Narnia. My imagination and spirit were enlivened by these characters as I saw how their faith guided their lives throughout difficult and frightening circumstances. I also learned the virtues a child should aspire to have: honesty, hope, trust, faith, perseverance, and selfless love, which brought me much joy. I knew that God was good through the lives of these characters and that I needed to trust him. Many children can relate to the struggles the characters face and can apply lessons of character development to their own lives. .... [more]