Last night as we sat around eating home made pizzas, Ellie continued to affirm her disbelief in God and suggested that maybe she shouldn’t be part of our church.
‘Ok, whatever you reckon sweetheart…’ I responded.
I don’t think she is playing games. I think she genuinely is questioning and I am really interested in what is going on inside of her. As I asked her thoughts on God, life and death etc she spoke quite passionately again while I listened and tried to understand.
I know most people go thru this kind of doubting at some stage, but Fowler would suggest that Ellie is a bit of a way off to be ‘individuating’ her faith. One significant difference between my own childhood faith and hers is that I was much more deeply rooted in a larger church community and my social life revolved largely around it. Ellie has very few Christian peers but plenty from outside the church few of whom would affirm her faith, so I’m sure this fuels her current questioning.
I don’t think this is a problem though. Sooner or later you need to deal with the issues. If we can have these conversations over the next few years then I am sure she will enter teen years with some confidence.
However she is a complex beast… On the one hand she concluded that maybe she didn’t believe in God and therefore belong in church any more, and then five minutes later asked me if she could do the teaching this Sunday.
‘I would love to teach people about Esther dad!’ Esther has been Ellie’s hero for a while now – the ‘brave beauty’!
‘Sure honey – that’d be brilliant’ I said, secretly thinking, I don’t have the energy for this tonight.
Fatboy chirps in with ‘Yeah and I could do Jonah because I know about him!’
As soon as I said ‘yes’ it was like I had launched a juggernaut as this seven year old grabbed all the books we had and started figuring out how she would teach this to the group of adults and kids about her favourite Bible character.
In the next hour we pieced together a time of learning that began with Esther but moved around to various (sometimes completely unrelated) places. But it was her initiative and energy that created it.