A couple of years ago (back when I was quite prolific) I wrote a long piece on my painfully ambivalent attempts to introduce my girls (just Tilly at the time, really) to the Jesus person. I just re-read it, and it’s probably one of my best (these things are, of course, relative) so if you want to re-visit it, or read it for the first time, it is here.
I raise this post, because a conversation I had with Tilly tonight gave me cause to think again about it, and its subject matter, and wonder to myself what exactly it was that she had gleaned from her ‘religious education’ thus far.
It began with a perfectly understandable question that she asked as we were praying for some of our friends and their cat (whose name neither of us could remember, so Tilly decided to call her ‘Lentil’). As I was thanking God for Lentil and the happiness that Lentil brought to her family, Tilly chimed in with:
Tilly: Why can we talk to God, but God can’t talk to us?
Me: Good question, sweetheart… ah, some people say that they can hear God talking to them sometimes.
Tilly: I don’t.
Me: Yeah, me neither.
Me: Other people say that the Bible is God’s words to us, and that if we want to hear God speak, we read the Bible. So reading the Bible is God talking to us, and praying is us talking to God. And that is how we can have a conversation with God….
Tilly:…with a beer or wine.
This last line was said in such a tone of ah-now-I-get-it enthusiasm that I thought it best to leave the conversation there.
Perhaps the old Spiritual Syllabus needs a bit of tweaking?