Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


The Gift of Child’s Play

images

“What do you look like, God?” “How will I know if you’re at my birthday party?”

This week my son has been teaching me about the importance of being transparent about our questions about God and life.

I mentioned he was scared. He still is. The source of his fear, a giant foot on a rampage belonging to nobody but itself, has now morphed into Chuckie. (Remember the movies back in the 80′s? He’s the doll who comes back to life and starts killing people.) Apparently a fourth grader on the playground at summer camp has been regaling his younger listeners with horrifying stories of Chuckie; and honestly, Chuckie still scares me. Seriously. He’s right up there with Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” “Never again,” I’ve said with respect to all horror flicks.

But my son’s transparency this week has also manifested itself in really profound questions and assumptions about God: they’re the kind we so rarely see voiced among adults, but which seem to come more easily for children (or at least my own). (I really wonder whether Schleiermacher is right—whether a “God consciousness” is a more common occurrence among children.)

Cam had begun to wonder aloud the other night whether Chuckie was made by the devil. I said maybe. Maybe not. Human beings had made the movie, but it was possible, I guessed, that the devil inspired them to do this. But this wasn’t really our concern, and didn’t need to cause us more than one thought, because in the end God is so much bigger than the devil and so much more powerful and perfectly good, that we can set our eyes on God and make God our focus. And then, we can even laugh at the devil, I said, because we know who wins in the end.

“God!,” Cam exclaimed triumphantly, with a smile registering reassurance.

I am struck by how quickly as adults we’ve come to stuff our questions about God and life. Are we afraid to ask them because we’ll appear childish? Or have we stopped believing in answers to live for—answers that really will give us courage to live life with faith, hope and love? Where do we suddenly convince ourselves that as grown-ups we have all the answers? Where do we lose our wonder? Is our wonder somewhere amongst our wounds? Have we been hurt too much to dare show our vulnerability in our questions? Or has the sheer act of survival in this world—bringing home the bacon, so to speak—convinced us that such questions are not “pragmatic” enough or too much of a distraction from our materialistic existence?

“By Christ’s wounds we are healed,” Scripture tells me.

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians are “eternal beginners,” theologian Jurgen Moltmann proclaims.

“Get to know and love your inner child,” the therapist says.

Being honest and transparent about our questions for God and about life is, I suspect, part of what it means to be “born again.” In this sense, I hope I don’t stop being born again. Ever.

Becoming as children…this, I think, is what we do as we approach our own physical deaths and our bodies deteriorate. We become dependent just as we once were. Technically we’ve never stopped being that way, though we have convinced ourselves somewhere between birth and death that we are entirely “grown-up.”

But if “grown-up” means having all the answers, living without wonder and never having to ask for God’s help, then I’ll take so-called childishness any day.

But what do you think about the queries thrown out above? Leave your thoughts below and I’ll republish them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Previous Posts

Jesus and the Rich Man: A Sermon on the "Hitler" of Passages.
It's rare that I find myself thinking about Sunday's sermon midweek. This Sunday our pastor Drew Ditzel preached on the familiar story of Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10). The rich man, who says he has kept all the commandments perfectly and has lived a righteous life, comes to Jesus asking what mor

posted 10:40:08am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Lie of Invulnerability
This last week has been insane. Family sickness, repairs, car issues, multiple calls from school nurses, including one in which the nurse expressed concern my 7-year-old son had been bitten by a brown recluse spider...and just when I thought it couldn't get worse...viral pinkeye. Two puffy, leaky, r

posted 11:00:49am Sep. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Humor Relief for Religious Extremism
Once again, humor and satire are coming to my aid this morning, this time in response to the twisted and evil extensions of religion that seeks to coerce and control with violence and worldly forms of power (best embodied these days in the form of ISIS and its affiliates). The Palestinian televis

posted 10:36:57am Sep. 03, 2014 | read full post »

"AA" Recovery Groups—Spirituality for the Non-Religious, Hope for the Church?
[caption id="attachment_5326" align="alignleft" width="271"] Bill Wilson co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous with Dr. Bob Smith in 1935. Their affectionately called "Big Book" is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold more than 30 million copies since its publication. (Photo credit: Haze

posted 11:27:26am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thoughtful Christians—They're Around, Via Fare Forward
The cover story from the latest (July/August) issue of Christianity Today offers a refreshing antidote to all the gloom and doom that often accom

posted 2:39:15am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.