I don’t listen to ABC radio when Mo’s in the car anymore; he started asking too many questions about what they were talking about, which made me realise how violent the news and the surrounding coverage is, and how desperately I want to avoid having to explain the meaning of “sexual abuse” or “torture” to my little boy. So we’re back to listening to kids’ music. I can’t tell you what’s going on in the world right now but I can give you a Play School song for pretty much any situation life throws at you (particularly those that involve getting dressed or leaving the house).
The Old Testament’s another thing I’ve been censoring lately, thanks to the meanness and murder in it – there’s a lot of death in the Old Testament! I hadn’t really noticed that before. In the same way that I want to protect Moses from non-G-rated films and books and TV and radio, I’m going to protect him from non-G-rated Bible; a lot of the Old Testament is not G-rated.
I also worry that the kids’ Bible versions of the yukky stories makes heroes out of characters who are actually supposed to come across as flawed, and I’m uncomfortable with the fact that the deaths of those who are against God’s people are often euphemised as if they don’t really matter (I love that when we read about David killing Goliath, Moses says, “That’s not very nice, is it?”). I’m still trying to figure out how to reconcile the violent and ugly Old Testament with the pacifist New, and understand that Old Testament God in light of who He reveals Himself to be in Jesus; I’m not entirely sure how to explain that to myself yet, let alone to a three-year-old.
We recently started reading a new kids’ Bible to Moses, one that focuses on some overarching themes rather than retelling individual stories. I think it’s aimed at kids who are older than Moses, but he liked the newness and insisted we stick with it even though he didn’t completely follow what it was talking about. My concerns that it was portraying God as being particularly cranky and hard to please were confirmed when Moses pointed to this picture and asked, “Is that God?”
We won’t be reading that Bible again. I grew up with that angry god, and a Jesus whose reason for coming was to protect me from him; I don’t believe in him anymore. I don’t want Moses to have to wait until he’s 30 to fully realise who God is; I want to learn with him now what “God is love” feels like when it seeps aaaaaaall the way in, when there’s absolutely nothing left in you protesting, “But…!”.