My twelve-year-old son is going to be baptized on Easter. I think it is wonderful and look forward for the opportunity for him to celebrate his faith with our community. Here is an early James story about God & church. James was 7 or 8.
Mom: (not angry, but maybe a little irritated with the boy’s tone) Why don’t you talk to him. He was just telling me that he thinks God and Jesus and the Bible are all a bunch of crap.
Dad: So, you think God and Jesus is a bunch of crap?
D: Now, when you say you don’t believe in Jesus, do you mean he never existed?
D: But, what about all the people that wrote about him?
J: What, you mean the Bible, I think that’s crap too.
D: No, I mean for like Roman historians.
J: Well, everyone who wrote about him are dead now, so, you know.
D: Everyone who wrote about George Washington is dead, do you believe he existed?
J: Yes, but he has a tomb. (I think he meant the Washington Monument.)
D: So does Jesus, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher; I’ve been there. (I don’t actually think this tourist attraction has anything to do with the burial site of Jesus, but you know. . . )
J: Hmm… I guess it’s not entirely crap.
I think this shows that I can when a “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” contest with an eight-year-old and has very little to do with faith, but earlier this year he didn’t want to be baptized, either. I told him that was fine, but I wanted him to take the classes so that he would know what he wasn’t doing. He “agreed.” After several conversations with a man in our church acting as his mentor he decided to be baptized.
When we talked about this during Sunday School, he offered this gem for why one might get baptized, “Well, if people want you to do it, and it doesn’t hurt anything, why not?” I wasn’t sure how to take that, but an adult who was there said, “You know what, I appreciate what James said. In fact, I was baptized when I was in my 20’s, and that was really my thinking too. Since then, it has come to mean much more to me. But in the beginning, I was with James.”
This post is a true story without a moral. When I read it, I am filled up with some measure of joy for my son as he begins he continues his faith journey. Full of questions. Raised in a faith community where, well where questions are as important as answers.