Theology For 5 Year Olds

October 28, 2011 by Rieshy

This morning I was greeted with the question,"If you are about to die and you yell real loud for God to save you right before you die, he'll save you- right?"

Coming from a chronically ill child who has survived several harrowing ambulance rides to the emergency room: this is not an idle question.  This is a child who has prayed for other children with his same disorder, some of whom have since died.

Why do my children only ask questions like these early, before coffee, or so late in the evening that my brain is fried?

Last week this same child whispered to me that he sometimes thinks God isn't nice.   He told me about praying for snow- and how "It Never Snows!",  praying not to have to go to the hospital and, "having to go anyway."

His line of reasoning was scaring him. God not answering prayers = God not being good.

That is a scary thought.

It made me think about how we sometimes thoughtlessly mention Intelligent Design when describing a loving God; how God makes everything to work together perfectly because he loves us.

What does that mean theologically for a 5 year old who's body wasn't "perfectly" made?  Whose body is lacking a critical enzyme?  

He tried to trap me with a question about God's goodness- "Does God watch girls when they change clothes?"

We simplify the message of the Gospel and Creation so that it is accessible, but platitudes about God don't sustain, don't hold up to deeper questions.

I would imagine this problem holds true for any young children that are not basking in a Disney-esque perfect childhood.  I'm praying that I listen when my children ask questions. I'm praying that I won't pretend to know the answers just because the questions make me uncomfortable.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”



Melanie said...

Excellent post.

Here is a link to a sermon by Randy Harris. A friend shared it with me. I haven't listened to it yet, but I felt I needed to pass it on.

with love and blessings!

Susan Tipton said...

Thanks Melanie- I'll definitely listen!

Ostriches Look Funny said...

WOW I totally love this. I grew up on platitudes, and now I feel like I'm JUST NOW understanding the dangerous, bloody, huge, glorious gospel. This is an amazing post. doesn't help me answer my 4 year old who told me last night that he was going to ask God to make him a Cheetah.

CristyLynn said...

Thank you for posting this, Susan. I'm going to read it again when I'm a little better rested. Oh, and I haven't forgotten your other post that I'd like to share. I just haven't had enough brain cells to write the post that I'd like to write along with it.
I really appreciate you.

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