Wednesday, May 16, 2007

dad's birthday and the DNA of faith

it is a special birthday for my dad this week.  he turns 60.  it is good that he can have his three kids with him to mark the occassion.  for all of us to be together in australia for the first time in over a decade is a nice gift as he enters into his 60's.  i was thinking about how grateful i am for his faithfulness to Jesus.  of course, i am glad to carry dad's DNA but even more privileged to walk in the line of faith that was taught to him by his parents.  i have been learning more and more about how dad's parents came to walk in the ways of Jesus.  my dad's mum (nana) was greatly influenced by her mother's faith (sara).  sara was a fire-and-brimstone apostolic preacher in western australia during the depression.  she was seriously comitted to the study of scripture, a fact born out by the meticulous notes throughout her old bibles.  my nana's brother was also a big influence on her.  this man taught himself greek and hebrew and eventually got a job grading ancient language students at a university.  with very little formal education he was the poster child for 'self taught.'

on my grandfather's side, things were a little different.  my dad's dad (andrew) was raised in a nominally christian family.  it appears that their main motivation in life was the aquisition of wealth and land.  andrew's introduction to the radical ways of Jesus came via an old chinese man.  this gentleman lived across the valley from my grandfather and as a little boy andrew would wander over for visits.  chinese immigration was common in the early and middle parts of the 19th century - the australian gold rush.  after the gold had dried up this particluar chinese man had turned his hand to a market-garden, raising vegetables for sale in the town of yackandandah.  apparently this gardener would smoke his opium pipe and tell the stories of Jesus to my grandfather. 

i love to think about these strands of DNA faith.  i'm glad to know about this chinese missionary who taught my grandfather about jesus.  my grandfather went on to live and speak a life that inspired my dad, and my father, in his 61st year, continues to live according to the life of Jesus in such a way that i am also enamored with gospel faithfulness.  i love the fact that within our family we can celebrate the translation of Jesus across china and australian countryside  in the 19th century, to the city of melbourne in the 20th century, and into the united states in the 21st century.

No comments: