Thursday, March 15, 2007

What Do I Really KNOW?

Recently, we've started seeing advertisements on television for the DVD release of "The Miracle Worker," a claymation retelling of the story of Jesus that aired on ABC several years ago. Starring Ralph Fiennes as the voice of Jesus, it's a really remarkable version of the story -- it's not the most theologically challenging version of the Gospels that you'll find, but it's done in such a way that it's one of those rare films that you can sit and watch with the entire family. I had taped the movie during its original broadcast and had forgotten we had it on the shelf until the other day, when MB saw the commercial and then looked at her mother and me and said, "I want the Jesus DVD."

She's been very insistent on getting a hold of that movie, and tonight I pulled the video off the shelf and put it in the VCR so that we could watch it together. She was glued to it pretty intently for the first hour, but at that point she started to lose interest (a sign that it's still a bit over her head) and wandered off. I was very impressed (and proud!) that she had wanted to watch it; it's one of the signs that her little mind is trying to absorb and learn as much as possible, and I'm more than happy to oblige her in her quest to pick up things she doesn't know.

And then I got to thinking, what do I really know about Jesus? At the surface, that struck me as a ridiculous question to even be asking; I know a lot about Jesus. A and I completed a four-year Education for Ministry course offered by our church in Alabama; I had started work on a master's degree in theology (which I had to give up as a result of changes in my job at that time; I hope to finish one day); I've watched an incredible number of documentaries on theology, church history, and religious archaeology; and I've been a voracious reader of all things having to do with my faith, church history, Biblical history, the life of Christ, and just about anything else I can put my hands on. In short, I've done my homework.

But while watching MB in front of the television, I began to wonder what I would actually be able to tell her when she starts asking questions. Sure, I can spout off the life of Christ and some of what I know of the political and social environment of his times, I can recall many of the parables and their meanings, and I could hold my own in a discussion of the core beliefs of Christianity and the Episcopal Church. Is that going to be enough, though? While her faith journey will be her own, will I be able to give her enough to instill the desire to make that journey?

So, I've decided to revisit my own learning to this point, to re-read, re-watch, and re-examine much of what I've learned to this point, and do it in a manner that more accurately reflects the admonition from one of the collects in the Book of Common Prayer to "read, learn, and inwardly digest." I need to take another look at what I know -- and what I don't know. I love this sort of personal challenge, and I'm hopeful that this process will strengthen me, refresh me in this stressful time, and give me the tools to help my daughters grow up in a way that enables them to look at their church and their faith with eyes of wonder and discerning hearts and minds.


rdl said...

Sounds good!!

Kansas Bob said...

I recently quickly read the gospels and was wowed by Jesus as I read Matthew and John ... Mark and Luke were a bit more rote reading for me.

Suggest a quick reading of the bible (ala The Bible in 90 Days) to rediscover Him.

ipanema said...

Good morning Matt. This is out of topic I'm afraid but something I want to cheer you with. :)

Thinking Blogger Award

Details on my blog.

Paula said...

Good thoughts.