As I’ve remarked on numerous occasions here, I have over the years found kids—my own and others’—to be among the most reliable and thought-provoking sources of theological insight that God has seen fit to gift me with. I love their questions, the way in which they process things, and, perhaps most important of all, the delightful irreverence and curiosity with which they approach many religious ideas that so many of us grown ups have spent years dutifully affirming. Read more
Posts from the ‘Fatherhood’ Category
Sometimes I’m afraid of God when I read the Bible.
The statement came from my son after he had spent a bit of time wandering around in the delights of Genesis 19 for an assignment. It’s quite the passage. You have a guy voluntarily sending out his daughters to get raped in order to avoid the apparently more odious prospect of having the men of his town sodomize a couple of angels who had paid him a visit, you have people being struck blind and being turned into salt, you have God raining down sulfur and fire in judgment of the Sodom and Gomorrah, you have two young women getting their dad plastered in order to have sex with him and produce children, and generally an overall scene of depravity and sex and violence that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. Well, maybe not. But still, it’s not exactly PG material. Read more
Last night as bedtime approached, my daughter was sitting at the kitchen counter casually thumbing through one of those Bibles that has a “Where to Find Help When…” indexes in the front. It’s quite a resource. Whatever your problem—“Sleeplessness” or “Difficulty in Witnessing,” “Tempted to Envy” or “Choosing a Career”—there are 3-5 verses conveniently listed to address it. The Bible as self-help manual, apparently. Or something like that. It’s an approach to Scripture that irritates me, in many ways, and breaks any number of exegetical/hermeneutical principles along the way, but I suppose these things must occasionally do some good. I guess. Read more
“Dad, what’s it like to be a grown-up? What’s it like to be a parent?”
The question came out of nowhere this morning, as questions of this nature tend to. I was absent-mindedly getting ready to leave for work, the kids were lounging around the kitchen table. How to answer? My first instinct was to tell them to go ask a grown-up. Then I remembered that was supposed to be me. Right.
“Well,” I began, “being a grown up is like… um, it’s good” (well done, Ryan—great start!). “You have lots of responsibility, you have a job, you pay bills, you go to meetings, you run around to all kinds of activities for your kids…” I stopped rather abruptly, realizing that thus far this was turning into a decidedly lousy sales job for adulthood. “But it’s cool being a parent,” I said, scrambling to salvage something from what was beginning to feel like a truly abysmal answer. “It’s especially cool to be a parent of such awesome kids.” Whew. Smiles all around. Situation (kind of) rescued. Read more
My son has always been a bit of a hoarder. Ever since he could walk, he would collect things while we were out and about—sticks, rocks, discarded toys, little pieces of plastic, empty cans… whatever. Going for a walk with him was always an adventure because you never knew what you would come home with (and would subsequently spend the rest of the week picking up around the house or finding underneath his pillow!). To this day, his room is a cluttered mess of “treasures” that he has discovered whilst walking to and fro about town.
“They must not believe in God.”
These words from my daughter came after a conversation we had been having at bedtime about someone who she had heard yelling at their baby. For her, it was clear: someone who believed in God simply would not do something as monstrous as scream “shut up!” at an infant. People who believe in God don’t do such things, after all. Right? Read more
We usually give our kids at least half an hour to read before bed each night, and lately my 10 year-old son has taken to reading the Bible. Not a kids’ Bible or an illustrated Bible, or anything like that, mind you. We’re talking the real thing here—a New American Standard Version, Gideons Bible that his sister inherited at the VBS put on by some local churches a few weeks ago. They were giving out free Bibles to the kids who didn’t have one—like, say, pastors’ kids. Sheesh. Read more
My wife received a lovely bouquet of flowers from a co-worker today, and they were sitting on our living room coffee table when the kids arrived home from school. I sat down on the chair nearby and set to work returning a few emails when my daughter caught sight of the flowers and came racing excitedly across the room.
“Wow,” she exclaimed, after inspecting them for a few seconds. “Isn’t it amazing how God made these?” Read more
Over the last couple of years, my kids have periodically asked some variation of this question: “Who made God?” Usually, in response to their queries, I have stumbled and bumbled my way to an unnecessarily complex and probably not entirely satisfactory explanation of divine aseity (well, I don’t use the word, necessarily). Come to think of it, my explanations almost certainly aren’t satisfactory because the question seems to keep popping up. Read more
Of the many things back to school week represents a return to, more regular breakfasts with the kids is among them. Yesterday morning, the kids were poring over a calendar that mom had laid out on the table in an attempt to get our fall schedule coordinated as a family. Aside from the events that happen to pertain to them, the kids have always taken an interest in the various holidays that show up on the calendar. Read more
Tuesdays are usually a bit different than other days for me. My wife works from 2-9 pm so I pick the kids up from school and work from home. Or at least I try to. Of course, there are inevitably numerous distractions, minor crises and irritants to put up with, as well as such essential tasks as dinner preparation, help with homework, the circus of bedtime, and any number of other things to deal with. Suffice to say, that Tuesday afternoon/evening is not typically the most productive time of my week. Read more
There was a memorial service at our church yesterday and as is often the case at these events, one of the songs that rang out was “Amazing Grace.” It’s a song that people love to sing—a song that touches us on a deep and personal level. For a variety of reasons, it is a very appropriate song to sing during times of mourning and remembering. Read more
Once upon a time, my wife and I decided that our kids would not play hockey and, more importantly, that we would never be “hockey parents” (apologies to non-Canadian readers who may not appreciate all the unwelcome moral freight conveyed by this loathsome term). Hockey was expensive, it brought out the worst in both kids and their parents, it was expensive, it was unnecessarily violent, it was expensive, it involved unnecessary amounts of travel and early mornings at frigid rinks… and it was expensive. Read more
Yesterday I was reading Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes while my son sat across the table munching away on a late breakfast. It’s a magnificent book that tracks the journey of an African girl who gets taken from her home, sold into slavery, and spends the bulk of her lifetime in conditions of appalling cruelty and inhumanity a world away from her home. It is a beautifully told tale of an incredibly strong, courageous, and good woman, but it is also a story of unspeakable suffering, depravity, and loss. It is a story that does not shrink from laying bare the evil of which human beings are capable. Read more
Of the many things that Jesus might have been getting at when he urged his followers to become “like little children,” I think near the top of my list would be the flat-out curiosity and forthrightness that I see so often in my own kids. I have found conversations with a couple of seven year-olds to be about as interesting (and reliable) a source of theological insight as any books on my shelf or sermons I hear (or deliver!). Read more
Moving to and setting up in a new place can be a stressful time. There is lots of assembling things, moving them around, running around buying this or that miscellaneous item, returning said item when it doesn’t fit or work as you expected it to, etc. Several consecutive days of this can leave one feeling a bit tired and, well, short-tempered. When you combine parents who are preoccupied with setting up a house with kids who are getting less attention than they are normally accustomed to, you have a recipe for frustration. Read more