Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Theology Like a Child

It's probably for the good of Christianity as a whole that Christ called us to have "faith like a child" but not to have "theology like a child."

Part of me wants to end the blog post there and just say, "Discuss." but I won't.

You may have picked up on the fact that I'm pretty busy, but I still manage to read. . . voraciously.  I have two secrets to how I do it.  First, I am just a fast reader.  I've always read massive amounts of material and am just in the habit of it.  The more you read, the faster you read.  Second, I've discovered audio books.  As a general rule, I prefer "real" books (a category I ironically include digital books in) over audio books.  That said, I spend about an hour a day in the car and it seems like a waste of time to not get some reading done when I'm driving.

I've had to train the kids to listen with me.  This is easier with some books than others.  The Life of St. Antony didn't go over terribly well with them.  To be, I didn't even find it to be terribly attention grabbing myself.  Interestingly, the past two days I've been listening to Genesis for one of my classes and the kids (mine and the neighbor boy who rides with us) LOVE it.  This morning when we got in the car, they all asked that I turn on the Bible.  Uh. . . OK.

Faith like a child is awesome.  They have no doubt in their sweet little heads that our God is big and mighty and amazing.  Every corner of their little hearts is filled with love for Jesus.  When it comes to faith, I hope that someday mine can compare to theirs and that as they grow older, they will hold onto it.  I know that they won't.  Not exactly.  They are going to be cynical adults some day.  That's just the order of nature.  Hopefully, they also will have faithful little children some day to remind them of that type of faith.

That said, the theology of a child is straight up hilarious sometimes.  We were listening to the part about the flood.  You know: people bad, Noah good, God sad, big boat, animals saved, Noah floats away, Earth dries, rainbow, YAY.  (I'll be putting out my own Bible translation one day that will be wildly entertaining. . . stay tuned.)  Anyway, my son piped up from behind me, "Noah was saved."  I confirmed his statement.  "And he saved his family?"  I said that he did.  "And the amimals?"  Yep.  "Did he save the cars?"

As a parent, you have a choice in a moment like that.  You can laugh or you can try your darnedest to take it seriously.  I mean, OF COURSE Noah didn't take cars on the ark.  But when you're three and there have just always been cars, it probably hasn't occurred to you that there was ever a time that there weren't cars. So, with as straight a face as possible, I explained to my son that cars hadn't been invented yet.  Interestingly, he was happy with that and asked no further questions.

The question of cars on the ark brought up the next natural question from our little neighbor (he's almost four).  "How did he fit the dinosaurs on the ark?"  Before I had a chance to answer, my five year old stepped in and answered for me.

"Duh.  Dinosaurs weren't around yet then.  They came after the flood."

I'll admit.  I laughed at that one. Then I explained that dinosaurs were LONG gone before the flood  and that's why he didn't take any on the ark. (If you're a "young earth creationist," please don't leave me comments about this. I won't let them through.  We're going to agree to disagree on this one. I believe that God and science are not mutually exclusive and I'm sure the neighbor boy's parents would agree.)

We continued to listen to Genesis, but shortly after the flood story it gets into some of the genealogy bits and Gloria asked when we'd get to the part about Moses.  Moses is her current favorite person from the Bible.  "He turned the river into BLOOD!  It was so gross, but it was so his people could get away from the nasty king. Then he made a big splash in the river so they could get through to the other side, but he splashed it again all over the bad guys."  She's been watching "Prince of Egypt."

I was totally unprepared for what came next.

"You know. . . princesses are the best."  She's obsessed with all things princess.  "Even the Bible tells us that princesses are really good and important people."  Um. . . it does? "I mean, who pulled Moses out of the river?"

Seriously, she scares me.

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