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The Jesus Dilemna


My 5 year old has unexpectedly got God in a big way.  And since religion has somewhat dropped out of my life I find myself stumped by the simplest of questions.

Like this morning as I'm lying in my bath and he's yelling through from his bedroom.

'Why do we pray to God? Kind of challenging at 7 am. 'Er,' I hazard, 'because it's a nice thing to do?' 'NO!' he shouts in his default fury setting, 'because we need to thank him for the wonderful world we live in.' Yes of course. I am chastised. 'And,' he says, 'because we WORSHIP him.' On the way home from school I'm having trouble satisfying his thirst for Jesus stories. We've done the loaves and fishes, we've done the water into wine, we've done the Christmas story. Can I have run out already? 'Tell me another Jesus story,' he says in that edgy way he has. So I'm googling New Testament stories - and I'm thinking - oh yes the walking on water, I remember that, hey the prodigal son, that was a good story - and it's kind of fluffy and comforting, a bit (I'd imagine) like wearing a slanket to watch TV. And the thing is I have to be careful with this stuff, it wouldn't take much to turn me into a raging papist. A childhood shrouded in nuns and incense and 10 Hail Marys. Lace veils and rosaries and glass statues of the Madonna. One Easter we even got Catholic Prayer Missals instead of a chocolate egg. All very nice and lovely in its way but what about the fat-suit of guilt you have to wear for the next 30 years?  I wouldn't want to see my children in  one of those. Next day we're driving home from school and I've got a few Jesus anecdotes up my sleeve. (healing the cripple, calming the storm, miracles are his favourite). 'Would  you like to talk about Jesus?' I ask like some crackpot zealot. 'No,' he says. 'Not today. Tell me about Sid Vicious. How did  he die?'       \  

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