Monday, July 8, 2013

As I Understand It

Having a 15 (almost 16) year old in the house is endlessly entertaining and occasionally exhausting.  My boy, my baby, now at over 6 feet tall, has always been my quiet, compliant child.  When he was little, he was the type of boy who wanted to please his mama.  If I asked him to do some work for me, he gamely attempted it, even if he had no clue how to accomplish the task.  As a peace lover, he never really questioned my assertions about life and why and how things have happened.  That has been a sobering and sweet thought lingering in the back of my mind all these years, and I have taken my responsibility to him (as well as his siblings) very seriously.

But that has all changed.  I don't mean that he has suddenly risen up, angry and defiant, boldly challenging my requests and assertions.  But he is challenging me in his own sweet way.  Classical educators would understand this to mean that my child is living in the midst of the rhetoric stage of his education.  As a semi-classical homeschooler, I totally get that.  I just didn't understand how challenging, exhausting, and occasionally threatening that reality is to this mama.

No longer does my dear son accept my assertions about life, politics, religion, or (heaven forbid!) literature without question. After working so hard all these years to light a fire for knowledge under him, I fear I may have laid a little too much kindling! This kiddo, who never questioned my political leanings before in his life, is actively questioning them now, and watch out if I don't have a plausible, well-thought-out answer! He no longer just accepts that just because I believe in something, that it must be true.

The same goes for religion. I am a Creationist. Although I never considered myself anything but a Christian when I was a child, it took until adulthood for me to really claim that identity for myself and be baptized.  I chose to live an active Christian faith after a great deal of questioning, challenging, and praying.  I came to see our beautiful creation not as a slow, accidental expansion of the complexity of life, but rather as a deliberate design lovingly crafted by an all-powerful God.  This has been a matter of debate in our little household as of late.  My son has taken to looking up articles in Answers in Genesis and then attempting to analyze them critically to see if the writer is using any fallacy to underscore his assertions.  If he finds one, he enjoys discussing them with me, sharing with me the writer's flaw in his argument.

All of these situations I believe could unseat any mama, but I have chosen instead to enjoy this beautiful child of mine and celebrate his intellect.  I realize that the Lord gave him his mind, personality, and abilities.  And I acknowledge that a faith claimed simply through inheritance, isn't as strong unless it is tempered in the furnace of struggle, doubt, and questioning.  I continue to pray for this child, this blessing, my son, and I know that he has had the benefit of a grace-filled Christian home.  I don't believe that my personal theology is unassailable in all points.  I believe that Christ covered my sin by his atoning death on the cross, and I believe that His grace is available for us all who cling to His name, regardless of how old we believe the earth, moon, and stars to be.  Does that shock you?

One of my favorite quotes out there comes from Madeleine L'Engle.

"Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself."

I'm not 100% certain, but I believe that quote comes from Walking on Water.  Feel free to correct me if I have attributed it incorrectly by letting me know in the comments.

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