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The Grace Project

When I Was A Child...

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I well remember the day I decided to go back and visit my Primary School. I cannot remember what occasioned the visit but the impression etched in my mind. 

Just before popping in to say hello to the Headmaster, I thought I would use the bathroom. However, when I reached the bathroom, the very same one I had used during my time as a pupil at St George’s R.C., I have to tell you that I was shocked by what I saw. The toilet had shrunk!

I could not quite believe it. Since I had left, they had miniaturised the toilets! How on earth was anybody supposed to use them? Eventually, when I saw my old Form Mistress, Miss Lovell (a dear lady if ever there was one), I noticed that they had done the same thing to the desks in her classroom! I just could not believe it! It was most disorientating. My school had become a doll’s house! Now, of course, the desks and the toilet were the same size as they had always been. The fixtures and fittings had not shrunk. I had grown and now, everything was too small for me.
In a very real way, my disorientation sets the scene for what readers of Safe & Sound are likely to experience in the pages of this current book for here, the spiritual child is now a young adult. He has grown up. His previous view of the Scriptures, with all its apparent literalism, now seems too narrow, much like the miniature plimsolls which hung on the hooks in the cloakrooms at school. It’s hard to imagine that anything of that size was once too large for him. The little lunch sacks which hung there also apparently contained enough food to sustain the hungry pupil until suppertime. Such a meal, which satisfied the child then, would now leave the ravenous teenager famished.
What had once been the great desk of Justification By Faith under which the child swung his legs is now too cramped and too small to sit at. What was once the vast playground in which he learnt of the nature and scope of salvation now seems to be no more than a postage stamp and altogether too claustrophobic for him to accommodate the circumference of his ever increasing circle of inclusion. Oh yes, undoubtedly, the difference between the spiritual child and the spiritual teenager is vast.
The other thing which strikes me as I reflect back on my primary school days is the method of teaching favoured at that time. Education seemed to consist largely of the cramming of a large amount of information (such as vocabulary and multiplication tables) into me. I was forever memorising things. It was not until many years later when I began to train people myself that I realised that education was not about getting stuff in but getting what was inside out. This getting-what-is-on-the-inside-out is what the second phase of the spiritual life is all about.
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