“Mommy,” said Sam thickly through a bite of peanut butter and jelly, “Back in the old days God used to tell people to kill other people.”
“Ummmmm . . . what?” This random statement was enough to pull me for a minute from the vortex that is tabbed browsing (email, scrapbook.com, two tabs of facebook, and my blog reader all in one place! Now I never have to do anything!). “Who told you that?”
“My VBS teacher!”
“Ummmm . . .” In my head I was scrambling for an answer involving dispensationalism, the difference between a theocracy and the United States of America, and how just because God told a prophet to behead someone doesn’t mean you get to attack your brother with the plastic lightsaber.
“I don’t think your teacher told you that,” injected Ryan, apparently seeing my distress and taking it as a Call To Action.
“Yes she did!”
“Well, then, she was wrong,” said Ryan with the sort of authoritativeness that comes only after six and a half years’ worth of vast experience in the universe.
Great. Now we have concluded that the teacher is wrong. What if tomorrow she tells him that Jesus loves him? Will he still think she’s wrong? WHY don’t kids come with answer keys?????
But Sam was not giving in so easily.
“Mommy, there was someone named Moses and he wanted a baby but they couldn’t have one because they were very old.”
“No, that was Abraham,” interjected the Vast Repository of Knowledge.
“Oh, yeah, Abraham. Well, God gave him a baby!”
I still have no idea what this has to do with killing people. Maybe I’m slow. Or maybe I’m too busy taking the “Which Dr. Suess Character Are You” quiz on Facebook.
“And then, God told Abraham to KILL HIM!” Sammy isn’t sure whether he should be excited or appalled by this last zinger. Because obviously, God telling a parent to kill a child is kind of horrifying, especially to a four-year-old with obedience issues. But at the same time, he is after all a boy, with a passion for all things shocking, gross, or violent. As long as it’s not scary.
Now I get it. Okay, so how to respond?
I am saved from having to come up with a theologically sound, age-appropriate answer by He Who Knows All.
“No, Sammy, God didn’t really want Abraham to kill Isaac. That was just a test to see if he would obey or not.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Sam’s reply means that either he gets it or he doesn’t. If you’d your entire life with a third parent big brother like Ryan you would have mastered the ambiguous monosyllabic response as well.
And that’s that. I consider the problem of whether Ryan’s answer is entirely true, of how we would explain it to our kids if Abraham had killed Isaac, of the picture that the story paints of Christ’s crucifixion for us, but decide that since everyone is now happily munching on carrots maybe I should let it go.
I love VBS. Because in addition to theological confusion, my sons also brought home a pair of wax lips today.
But the good news is that while they were gone, I got some cute pictures of Gracie. Because I had a shortage.
And in case you were wondering, yes, she is the prettiest* baby in the universe.
Tomorrow, I will send the boys back to VBS, armed with offering money and no brains. I just hope that the story isn’t about Elisha and the bears.
I certainly hope you all enjoyed today’s post because as a result of posting it, I now do not have time for a shower. That’s the kind of person I am. Always with the self-sacrifice. But don’t tell. If anyone says anything, I’m totally blaming my lack-of-showeredness** on the baby.
*followed very closely by my niece Kay***!!
**no, that’s not a real world. yes, I did use it anyway. My blog, my rules!!!
***No, I did not just put that in there to keep my sister from sending me a mail bomb. And if I did, I wouldn’t tell you****.
****I’m ending this blog now. Only about five minutes too late.