Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sheep: Theology From a Four Year Old

The conversation in the car this morning on the way to Blaine’s preschool went something like this:
Blaine – “Mommy are you a sheep?”

Me – “No Blaine!”

Blaine – “But, God says you are His sheep …. You are mommy! You’re a sheep.”

Insert awkward, embarrassing silence here

Me – “Blaine, you are so right! I am a sheep, Jesus does teach us that.”

Insert more awkward silence here except for the working of my brain.

Me – “Where did you learn that Blaine?” (expecting the answer of “church”)

Blaine - “Ms. Beth told me at school … “ (note: Blaine attends a Christian pre-school)

Theology from a four year old! Flabbergasted, I drove the rest of the way to Blaine’s school, my mind in “over-drive” the whole time. As I thought Blaine’s statement through, I wondered about two things:

1. When will I be so connected to God that my response naturally considers all sources (reality, Biblical, etc.) and the answer becomes yes, I am a sheep!

Generally speaking, I count myself as having a pretty decent relationship with God. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t be able to do the job I do and try to set a positive example of what I teach to Zion’s students. Now, I am NOT perfect and do fail at that; but, I am aware of those short-comings and weak areas of my life. Nonetheless, I do feel well connected and have an active relationship with God as I would any other! We just had this discussion at our student leadership team meeting this past Sunday. How do you have a relationship with someone and/or God? The students said: through interaction with, listening to, hanging out with, communicating with, having patience, honesty, trust, and enjoying each other. Along those standards, I would say I am doing a pretty good job of being in a relationship with God. Yet my response to “are you a sheep?” was no. My mind didn’t even go to John 10 (or any of the other Bible verses and parables where Jesus discusses sheep), not even for even a split second. What’s up with that? Call it being sidetracked with entering the Interstate on top of running late, call it context, call it too early in the morning … whatever excuse we can give it, I am convicted to examine my connection and to help Zion’s students and members to think this way as well.

2. Why isn’t he learning this at church?

Of course my mind goes there as the one at Zion who has been hired to oversee the Christian education of our body! So, why wasn’t Blaine’s answer that he learned this at church, in Sunday school, or during Wednesday night programming? Well, I don’t know that he’s not! But, I totally expected his answer when I asked him where he had heard that Biblical truth to be something related to church. But it wasn’t … exactly. He does attend preschool at a local church where he not only attends chapel each week but also has classroom time each day learning Bible verses, stories, and more (which I am very excited about and want to continue for his future). So, technically he did learn it at a church but not in church programming on a Wednesday or Sunday night! Regardless, the truth is, he rarely shares “nuggets of theology” like that with me that come from church. Call it forgetfulness, coincidence, call it being tired after Wednesday night programs and it’s almost bedtime, call it inconsistency of attendance when he’s at his dad’s house for the weekend and misses worship and children’s church … whatever excuse we can give it, I am convicted to find ways to equip Zion’s teachers and parents to the excitement about theological concepts such as the one Blaine shared this morning!

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