Tuesday, August 24, 2010

'Pretty much just talking,' she said

Brielle wanted to read her Bible tonight. Cool.

Being who she is, she wanted to start right--from Genesis 1:1. So we read the story of Creation--at least the first story, the one about the six days. God says, "Let there be light...and it happened. And it was good." Day 2, God pronounces that there should be air to separate waters below from waters above (and thankfully she didn't ask what that means). It happens again, and it's good again. Day 3, God speaks and dry land, plants, trees and their respective yummy fruits all happen, all good. Day 4, and God talks a moon, a sun and the rest of the stars into existing. Day 5, God's mouth opens again, and now we've got seas and skies teeming with life, blessed with the command to reproduce. Day 6, a few more words from God, and the land is full of creatures wild, tame and creepy-crawly.

And then He makes human beings.

He can quit while He's ahead and save Himself eons of headaches. But never one to leave well enough alone, He goes ahead and makes us anyway. But not just any way--in His image, after His likeness. Brielle and I took a few stabs at what that might mean before getting to Day 7, when God creates...


It's my favorite anticlimax. After lighting a universe, molding a planet, populating its liquid, solid and gaseous spaces, and topping it off by fearfully and wonderfully making two mini-Me's, God's grand finale is stillness. Silence. Rest. Pretty much the kind of day He might have had before all the creating began, except with more company.

It's holy. It's good. Very good.

"Do you think God was tired after all that work, Bubby Brie?" I asked.

"Um, 'all that work' was pretty much just talking," my firstborn replied, patient with my denseness yet figuring I should have known better. "And I don't get tired from talking unless I talk and talk for like a whole day without stopping."

I don't think she would get tired of talking even in that case, truth be told.

And God probably didn't either. But the reminder that a work so humongous can happen with such relative ease when Creator God speaks is Sabbath-rest to this tired, laboring Daddy soul.

Friday, March 12, 2010

'God knows a lot of stuff, but...' she said

Elbow-to-elbow in the Sentra today, questions floated forward, a merciful diversion to savor before the inevitable backseat brawl.

"Daddy, do animals go to heaven?" asked Ashyln.

"I don't know, Ashie. A lot of people think so. The Bible doesn't talk about that at all." My real hunch is that whatever is on the other side will bear little resemblance to what we know here. I suspect that we will live as we never imagined possible, more ourselves and less all about ourselves than ever. And in the midst of that mind-blowing aliveness, the presence or absence of pets will be the least of our worries, if we have any worries at all.

"Hannah's daddy says no," Melía offered. More chutzpah than I've got, that Hannah's daddy, I thought, wondering if my waffling over the pet cemetery question was more about tact or timidity.

"But he doesn't know," said Brielle. She attacked the unsubstantiated rumor as eagerly as I slap scary chain emails with Snopes-linked replies-to-all.

"God knows," Ashlyn said.

"That's right, Ashie-lu," said I.

"God knows a lot of stuff, but he doesn't want to put it all in the Bible."

No joke, Ashie.

Somewhere in late childhood I came to realize that God was bigger than my little brand of Christianity, that all that could be said of the Divine was far more than any single denomination could articulate. Sometime later it became clear that God was bigger than Christianity itself. How could anyone see a Gandhi or a Dalai Lama and say such a soul was godless? Even more recent has been my acceptance that not even a tome as remarkable as the Bible can be the final word on a Being who ignites and inhabits universes.

OK, so maybe I'm a little bit slow.

Certainly, much slower than Ashie.