©1999 by James
A. Fowler. All rights
You are free to download this article provided it remains intact without alteration.
You are also free to transmit this article electronically provided that you do so
in its entirety with proper citation of authorship included.
The illustrator of these
parodies is Aaron Eskridge.
For contact and information about Aaron: Illustrator's
Text of article below graphic
"Aren't they cute?"
gushed the visitor as she looked through the stained-glass at
the children in the nursery. One has to admit that babies do
provide a spontaneous form of creative expression and entertainment.
But the ecclesiastical nursery is rampant with structured chaos
indicative of early childhood, complete with short attention
spans and selfish propensities.
In one corner children are
listening to nursery-stories which have been told over and over
for generation after generation. These stories develop imagination
and conceptualization, but do they have any application to living?
Another group of children
is clapping their hands and singing up-tempo music to the rhythmic
accompaniment of an assortment of "rattles." It is
obvious that they "feel" their music, as they sway
with the beat and gesture with their hands.
A few of the children are
attempting to make the transition from crawling on all fours
to walking upright. Their underdeveloped peripatetic skills lead
to many tumbles and falls.
Emotions run high
in the nursery. While some are squealing with delight, others
are shrieking their selfish intent to control the toy that is
presently in the possession of another. "Mine!" "Gimme,
gimme!" The process of "getting along" and learning
to share is often a slow process.
There are squabbles and
spats and infighting, requiring conflict resolution and reconciliation.
Injuries occasionally occur with consequent screaming and crying
in pain. But a kiss and a band-aid usually suffice to heal the
"boo-boos" and "ouchies." Supernatural healing
The nursery helpers
are preparing bottles of milk for the bottle-babies. Other children
are on "formulas" or are subjected to bland pablum
or a variety of Gerber specialties.
Much of the fussing and
crying is a result of tired infants who need some nap-time and
rest. In the meantime pacifiers will have to suffice for those
babes who think that their needs demand immediate attention.
Thumbsuckers provide their own.
|| Much of nursery time is spent
in clean-up, wiping faces, hands and snotty noses. Oh yes, there
are the "accidents." As ever, the attendants must suffer
through the unenviable task of changing dirty diapers.
is a weary assignment. Particularly when some of the babies have
been in the nursery for as long as anyone can remember. The "Nursery-Roll"
records go back for decades, and few there are who have ever
"graduated" out of the nursery.
We observe here the tragedy
of protracted infancy. The church was never intended to be a
never-ending nursery for perpetual babies. Why have we tolerated
or fostered this retarded growth process wherein many Christians
remain spiritual babies?
The Apostle Paul lamented
the fact that the Corinthians were still "babes in Christ"
(I Corinthians 3:1). His desire was to "present every man
mature in Christ" (Colossians 1:28).
Likewise, the writer to
the Hebrews (perhaps also Paul) chided his readers for a failure
to "grow up." "...by this time you ought to be
teachers, but you have need again for someone to teach you the
elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come
to need milk and not solid food.... Therefore, let us leave the
elementary teaching about Christ, and let us press on to maturity"
(Hebrews 5:12 - 6:2).