In this essay, Karen Weese writes about her ambivalence surrounding the Christian theology she grew up with and which parts of it she wants to transmit to her children. On the one hand, she wants to give them the comfort of knowing there's Someone Up There to help them in times of need. On the other hand, she has her doubts.
“Okay, sweetie, can you put Joseph in the manger scene now?” I ask my 5-year-old. Her fingers hesitate a few beats too long over the shepherds and wise men (this guy? that guy?) and I realize that maybe my relaxed approach to spiritual matters has gotten a little out of hand.
My personal theology is a bit of a haphazard salad, and some of the odder items in the Bible make me pretty sure we aren’t supposed to follow the Good Book word for word. But I’d like to believe there’s Someone up there somewhere, and surely some Bible stories will teach my kids moral lessons that will help them grow up into the fine, upstanding people I want them to be. Right?
So I buy a book of Bible stories — a charming little book filled with fluffy sheep and smiling cartoon people in tunics and sandals — telling myself it’ll be Aesop’s Fables plus Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, with the extra heft of blessings from the Big Guy Upstairs. I sit down to pick out our first story.
And I can’t.