We have moments with our children that give us serious pause regarding our philosophical, religious, political, and other life commitments. A couple of weeks ago while in corporate worship with the saints I noticed that my second oldest son, Israel (12), was not singing along with the congregation. He looked quite melancholy as he stared out into the congregation and back into his lap where his hands were folded. I asked him what was wrong…why he wasn’t singing along with the rest of us. He looked down into his lap where his hands were folded and then looked up at me and said:
I don’t think I believe any of this stuff anymore. This God and Christianity thing.
Something along those lines. I told him not to worry. That we’d talk later about it.
So we finally talked later on that day. It turned out to be a very long philosophical/theological discussion. I encountered what I like to call the rhetorics of Israel. Not rhetoric in the popular anemic way we understand it. But the profound performance of words that attract and persuade others to consider the direction of their lives and commitments. In this way of talking about rhetoric Israel is a very good performer. A sharp young man who has a very bright future (and present) in God’s world.
With all that’s going on right now…I don’t know if God exists. God seems absent in my world. Dad…does God exist?
My ending reply:
No. God does not exist. God is more than existence. God is hyper-existence. The words we humans use to describe God pales in comparison to what it means for God to be God. So…God does not exist in that sense. Existence, as we humans understand it, is a very limited and finite idea. It can never fully capture what it means to say God is. That’s why we Christians shouldn’t bother about God’s existence. That’s why we say God is love, is good, is faithful…and ultimately we say God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. So…son…God does not exist. God is maker of heaven and earth.