May 02, 2012


My brain on lies.
So we were discussing childlike faith in Bible study yesterday...because this is what happens every week: our awesome group of seven women discuss the book of Hebrews while I annoy everyone with all the questions that have popped up in my brain over the past week.

I. Can't. Shut. Off. My. Brain. (Surprising, I know. And unfortunate for my group and for my spiritually-knowledgeable friends - I'm like a hoover sucking all the knowledge from their brains to feed my own.)

So I ask about how God speaks to us and whether it's changed between the New Testament and now. And the gifts of speaking in tongues and healing - really? Is that still for real? And what if there's a historical context to women's roles we're ignoring? And how does God discipline if He only gives us good things? And luckily for them I never got started on God probably used evolution, and how the form and purpose of writing way back in Old Testament times is completely different than today, and how evolution actually still works with looking at the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. (My Bible study girls are probably sweating just reading this.)
The cringe, ponytail and awesome 0.7mm pencil are accurate. Getting nicely dressed to go out in public? Well, at least I change out of my snot sweater on Bible study mornings.
And then - weekly - I bemoan the fact that I can't just accept things at face value and walk away satisfied without questions. I want the childlike faith describe in Mark 10:15, I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Some people have it. I don't.

But then a few of these women pointed out - they're smart, I tell you - that perhaps I'm misunderstanding childlike faith. WHAT?? So then I sat down yesterday to ask myself questions about childlike faith (collective sigh of relief from my group that the Bible study meeting was already over). I looked at my own kids, running around in their underwear because clothes are too hot. They were playing "I'm half of every animal in the world," so were (half-naked) growling and leaping and informing each other what they looked like.
Silas, age 3.
And this is what I concluded:

Their faith in Rob and me as parents is assured - they have no doubt we'll be there when we wake up. We are their source. Their life (until they turn 13 and start hating us) is made complete in us. They look to us for soothing when they're hurt, food when they're hungry, guidance and reassurance when they're lost.

They believe things with exuberance and wonder - spring is THE BEST season of the year. Summer is THE BEST season of the year. Fall is THE BEST season of the year. And the solar system? It's awesome! And taking a nature walk through the neighborhood to collect bits of dirt and dried up worms makes it THE BEST DAY EVER. And, really, is there anything better than having dad squirt whipped cream straight into your open mouth?? NO.

They receive a gift without it even crossing their minds that there might be strings attached.

They believe anything is possible. They believe things unseen. HOWEVER, (and here's my aha! moment brought to light by my group) they still question. Of course Santa exists. But how does he come into houses without chimneys? And how does he fit in the chimney? And what if there's a fire in the fireplace? And why does he wear red if he's supposed to be sneaking around? And don't you think his reindeer get jealous watching him eat all those cookies through the windows? And why won't you answer any more of my questions? Why are you beating your head against the wall, mom? Mom? Mom, are you crying?

As someone in my group pointed out, the Bible is full of people asking questions of God. And there's a reason those questions are actually in the Bible. As Wendy Saxton (a published author-friend of ours so I'd better quote my source here) once exclaimed in a talk she gave, "Stop showing up to God in your emotional Sunday best!" So I guess I can keep asking. Keep hounding God for answers. Keep driving everyone crazy.
Yeah, notsomuch.

In answering one of my many questions, my Bible study girls totally just shot themselves in the foot. [insert maniacal laugh here] My childlike faith, however, does put its foot down when it comes to the belief that it's perfectly normal to be wearing only underwear while playing in the water table outside. Thank goodness.


Gbosscher said...

Coby, this is totally something I've been getting annoyed with myself about... thank you so much for the awesome perspective! It's seriously a huge relief.

cobandrob said...

 I think it's our rich, Geneva-bred thinking. ;)