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Talking theology with a 10-year-old who is learning to knit

Talking theology with a 10-year-old who is learning to knit

The Rev. Megan Castellan recently had occasion to talk theology with a 10-year-old boy while teaching him to knit. And as one doesn’t get a chance to write a sentence like that every day, we are glad that she wrote about it.

Here’s a taste of their conversation:

After some more gentle pressing, he started to list things he did not believe in: God was not stuck in the sky on a throne. God was not an old white man with a beard. God did not control us all like puppets.

He was surprised when Beth and I agreed with him on these points, but not slowed down. Once he got going, he was on a roll–a 30 minute roll. Why, if Jesus died on a cross, did we now all wear crosses around our necks as the sign of Jesus? Why, if God gave us free will, did God insist that we worship him, and “not just let us sit on a beach in Miami all the time?” (That made me laugh out loud.)

To the last, I admitted that it remained a deep mystery, but for me, personally, I worshipped God because I actually like God. Chances are, if I didn’t love God so much, I would ignore God a lot more. But, moreover, I show God my affection by trying to live the way Jesus lived, and by trying to love the people around me as much as God did. Zach pondered this concept for a while, knitting industriously.

”Well,” he finally said, “I’ll probably come to the youth group thing. So long as I can ask more questions.”

We assured him that would be fine.

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Eric Bonetti

Jim,

Love this post. Last summer, I had one of those great experiences that sometimes finds us, our efforts to the contrary notwithstanding: I "volunteered" to be one of two adults at my parish's Teen House at Shrine Mont, which is the Virginia diocese's retreat center in the mountains.

No doubt I wasn't the first person who was asked. Nor the second. Signs suggest that more than one person had already said no. And no wonder--folks in my parish really enjoy the opportunity to see each other in a social setting, to reconnect, and to celebrate our shared life together.

That said, the Teen House was great. We did long walks by the lake under a waning moon. We flopped on the grass and marvelled that we could actually see the night sky (unlike here in Northern VA where light pollution makes this impossible). We built a campfire in front of our cabin and told ghost stories. And we immediately welcomed several newcomers to the group.

So, to those who don't take the opportunity to spend time with our teens, I have three words for you: You're. Missing. Out.

Eric Bonetti

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