Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Theology Time with Paul

We have landed ourselves a deeply religious boy.   He has a mother who's not at all spiritual, but into the Social Gospel in Christianity.  His father practices his own mix of what we call 12-step-astro-buddhism.  And then there's his sister's ongoing preadolescent spiritual crisis.  But the boy is out and out religious.  This is a child who frequently chooses to stay and listen to the sermon on Sunday instead of running around in children's church.   During the sermon, he whispers asides to me about his opinion of what's being said.  "Nope," he says, "that's not true."  I'm not sure what it means that finds  more fault with Kent's sermons than with Rachel's.  Hint: those of you who know Paul and his deep appreciation of the ladies can probably guess why.

Since the New Year, he's been having us read his "Page-A-Day" Children's Bible to him during his bath. Chris started out trying to read him fairy tales.  Fairy tales, the boy says, are way too scary.  Cinderella?  Terrifying! But the Old Testament, bring it on.  Nothing scary there, just a few  massacres. What?   Anyway, we read the Bible during bath time, and the boy has a lot to say.

And now, for posterity, theological gems from a six year old:

  • "The Old Testament God is still good, but he makes bad choices."   This came after the drowning of all those Egyptians in the Red Sea, followed by the forty year desert wandering.
  • "The Old Testament God is crazy."  I had completely forgotten or never even known about the passage in Judges where God creates a town for people who have accidentally murdered someone.  Both Paul and I found this mystifying.
  • "Old Testament:  if something good happens, you know something bad is about to happen.  Good. Bad. Good. Bad.  It's a lot like kindergarten."   This was Paul's response to Joshua's death after finding getting his people settled in their homes.
  • "True!  It's all true!   Moses, true!  Ten Commandments, true!  Red Sea, true!"   Chris was the parent who shared the limits of Biblical literalism with him, but I was the recipient of this diatribe. He's like the Billy Eichner of the Bible. 
  • "People in Berea are not for war.  People in Berea love people even when they are bad.  Do you think Berea took over for Jesus after he died?  Jesus was a very good man.  God was his dad."  (after the Martin Luther King Day service at church.)

  • And my current  favorite, Paul's theory on universal grace:  "There will be killers in Heaven, but there will be no guns."
Sometimes it feels like a big responsibility to talk about deep moral issues all the time with a small child, but Paul so infuses God into every conversation that I'm beginning to feel less like I had better get these conversations right and more like theology is just the talk we do.  

Meanwhile, you might spare a little prayer for all of us as we try to not to giggle during his extremely long blessings before the meal.  When a prayer begins "It was a dark and stormy night,"  you know that your mashed potatoes are going to grow cold.  


Leslie said...

As a female pastor I look forward to meeting Paul someday, he sounds fabulous!

Hobson's Choice said...

You will love him, Les.

Hobson's Choice said...

Leslie, he prays like all those British bible study people (oh, god, we're here to thank you, oh god. And oh god...)