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How’d that headline grab ya?

I bet (though you may not be aware) it got “grabbier” after that one little word—the smallest one–“or”.

As if you can’t to both. Like you have to choose.

It’s like this: When it comes to matters of faith or spirituality (or whatever you want to call it), I think there are a lot of “non-Christians” that see it this way–that Christians aren’t rational. They’re not logical. When it comes to a Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ, there is no room for debate. In short, Christians are driving with blinders on.

BELIEVE:

  • It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven,
  • Jesus is the way the truth and the light,
  • No one can get to heaven but through Jesus,
  • You need to pray,
  • Go to church,
  • Do good works,
  • Spread the Word

or . . . well . . . sorry but you’re probably going to Hell–don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

Consider:

Regardless of whether you believe Jesus was born of a virgin, is the son of God, or conquered death–I gotta believe he would have totally dug Seinfeld.

Good comedy cuts to the truth, exposing chinks in the armor. It says what we’re thinking–especially when we don’t know we’re thinking it. Great humor drags seriously entrenched attitudes, paradigms, and frames of reference to the public square for a good flogging.

And we laugh.

C’mon, despite the slight exaggeration, don’t you know someone with faith like Puddy’s?

How about this exchange about Elaine’s preference in men:

Jerry: So you prefer dumb and lazy to religious?

Elaine: “Dumb and lazy” I understand.

And, really, I think that about sums it up for most non-Christians I know. They just don’t “get” it.

‘Course neither do many Christians (ie Puddy). Sorry, but many sign up, then call it good. You know, they go to church, listen to the sermon, sing the hymns, stand, sit, kneel, memorize all the stuff. They learn the stories and do their best to be good people, but never really consider the metaphor.

Because when you start to play around with the metaphor, you have to take the red pill–and then the rabbit hole gets pretty deep.

But that’s not so much what I wanted to talk about today.

I just thought I’d mention it . . .

What I wanted to share today was how I’m trying to teach Jesus’ lessons to my kids–without strapping on the blinders.

Because I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I was born a Lutheran. My parents made me go to Sunday school, confirmation and all that. We prayed before supper (if we didn’t have company). And we prayed the Lord’s prayer before bed. But we never really discussed it. We just did it–I think because that’s how my parents grew up.
So, naturally I didn’t take much stock in any of it. I might even go as far as to say that I rejected it all thinking religion to be okay for the weak or hypocritical–but not for me.

Recently, however, I’ve found a current of peace and strength so deep, so calm . . .

To quote the song, “Dive,” by Steven Curtis Chapman:

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river’s flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for . . .

. . .The river’s deep,

the river’s wide,

the river’s water is alive . . .”

So there you have it. A little transparency so you know where I stand–sort of.

And here is just one example of what I’m doing with my girls. Together, we say the Lord’s prayer before bed. Just like I did when I was a kid. And they like it. If I neglect it, they request it. I think they like the sameness of it. The ritual. It’s sort of like a way to anchor the day. Wrap it up. Call it good.

But then I like to mess with ’em.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

“What do you think that means,” I ask.

“What, Dad?” a little exasperation in her voice.

“who art in heaven. What does art mean? And what about hallowed be thy name? What’s all that gibberish?”

And so, over time we’ve gone through it. Bit by bit. Verse by verse, we’ve picked it apart, we’ve clarified, and we’ve asked if it makes sense to say “Our Father and forgive us our trespasses” and whatnot if we are saying the prayer alone. So now not only do they know it by rote memory, but the eight year old can paraphrase it.

Which, I think, is a good first step.

Tonight it went this way,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive . . .

“Hey wait a second,” I interrupted (again).

“Now what Dad?” Emma’s on the top bunk so I couldn’t see her, but I could hear her eyes rolling in her head.

“We should be saying this prayer in the morning, not at night.”

“Why?”

“Because it says, “Give us this day our daily bread. This Day. But this day–you know today–is done now. Why are we asking for what we need for today when today is done?”

Silence

“Dad . . .”

“Yeah?” I said.

Silence. It was a long pause.

“Are you picking your nose again?” I finally said.

“No!” she giggled. “Dad?”

“Yeah?”

“Can we just say the rest tonight, and . . . you know.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I know.”

Sometimes it’s nice not to think so much.