Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Unprocessed Scripture

Processed foods are natural foods (mostly corn and soybeans, since those are what our agricultural system is set up (and encouraged through government subsidies) to produce in vast quantities) broken down, separated, and put back together into thousands of different (and far less nutritious, largely because of the lack of variety in the foods we eat, since so much comes from those two kinds of plants, and also because of all the added fat and sugar in processed food) shapes and kinds of foods that line our grocery store shelves. So I understand based on Michael Pollan's books The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, and I keep hearing echos of those ideas from sources all around me. The solution? Eat real food. Buy things that don't come in a package or from a factory, but from a garden or field. Even meat should come from pastures and wild waters rather than feed lots or fish farms. Garden. Shop farmer's markets and local farms. Find sources nearby for food that doesn't go through restructuring or human manipulation before it comes into your home.

I'm realising there may be parallels here with feeding myself and my children on God's Word. I have felt real hesitation and intimidation trying to explain God and his ways to my kids. I don't understand Him, and when they start asking me questions, I realise I understand Him even less than I feel like I do. The simple teaching "God made everything" becomes complicated and muddled when Christopher Robin attributes an imperfect dust pan to God ("No one can make a perfectly straight dust pan, but God made this one pretty good," he said today as he swept up crumbs from under the table). Part of my hesitation is that I don't want to pass on my own misunderstandings to them. I know I have biases and blind spots in my faith, and I wish they could grow up without inheriting them from me and being hampered by the same wrong perspectives. Part of it is that my own love for and passion for God is/was dulled by always hearing about it growing up. Maybe not from hearing real truth, but certainly by moralising Sunday School stories that were essentially the same week after week in the Sunday School papers...hearing the same things retold and retold, especially watered-down versions that didn't hold much inspiring substance to begin with. Most of scripture seems so far above my 5 and 3 year old boys' understandings, but I'm always afraid that by simplifying things to try to make it more on their level, I'm leaving out things that are important. I picked up a children's Bible story book in Walmart, and it had some nice stories and mentioned Jesus, but it didn't even tell about Jesus' death and resurrection. I guess that seems like "processing" God's Word to make it more palatable. I've read the story of David and Goliath from I Samuel 17 to my boys probably 50 times (because they ask for it over and over), and it's inspiring to me almost every time I read it. And it's gory. It ends with David taking Goliath's sword and using it to kill him and cut off his head. But I feel a lot of confidence reading straight from the Bible to my kids. It feels healthy, like feeding them an apple. Maybe reading God's Word to my kids is like feeding them whole, real food.

1 comment:

Christa said...

Christy, this resonates with me. I can completely relate. And, I don't think I ever started to "heal" as an adult until I started to sit under preaching/teaching that just recounted ALL (not chosen few) stories from the Old Testament, drawing some conclusions for me, but also allowing me to draw my own. No breaking apart stories and text into "points" in an academic function, or memorizing lists, but really reading scripture for the narrative it is. And, we have done some of that with our kids. We use a New Testament with our kids that has illustrations, but it's just the New Testament. I know they are working on the Old Testament, but it's not done yet, which does leave holes...big ones. I just realized that today when talking with my 4 year old about lying. But, it's a start (we hope and pray). The Illustrated International Children's Bible.