Families, Children & Marriage, Restoration & Reconciliation, Social & Political Issues

9/11, Jesus, and patriotism: My kids’ take on it all

When I picked my kids up from school yesterday, they were a bit amiss about the 9/11 ceremony at their school.  Apparently, everyone had cheered when the leader referenced killing ‘bad guys’ in Afghanistan.  I listened quietly to their conversation with each other, processing what had happened.

“I didn’t clap,” my daughter protested.  “I mean, it’s not like Americans are good all the time. We do bad things too.”

“Yeah,” my son added. “And children there affected by all this and they didn’t even do anything to deserve it. How would we feel if we were them?”

“I don’t understand why everyone cheered about killing someone else,” the chatter continued as they attempted to understand the perspectives they’d seen.

“I just kept thinking about Priyan Baapa,” my daughter commented, referring to her great uncle whose office had been in the World Trade Center, but who had left the building early that fateful day to pick up Starbucks on the way to a meeting.

They mutually agreed that the whole state of the world is unfortunate, that America isn’t above or below any of them, and that while we fix some problems in the world, we also create an equal number of them.

Out of a seeming nowhere, they determined a solution.  “It’s the church,” my daughter mused. “They’re the ones who can help fix all this.”

Now, if we talked about the church like this on a regular basis, I’d have seen this one having been coming.  But sadly, conversations in our house reflect deep disappointment with and brokenness over the church as much as they do over the hope its potential holds.  But even at 9, her little heart intuitively senses that, for as much as the governments try, they have it all messed up, and that more answers lie at the feet of Jesus than at the foot of the flag.

She gets it, that kid.  Perhaps more than her skeptic-of-a-mama.  One comment at a time, she’s building my faith that kingdom of God might actually be a part of the plan to bring peace on earth.

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5 thoughts on “9/11, Jesus, and patriotism: My kids’ take on it all”

  1. Wow, really impressed by the humility and objective scope of your kids that day. Many, if not most adults never achieve that. Kudos to being great parents. As the Lord spoke through the heart and voice of your precious ones, the solution truly lies in the only place where effective resistance to evil can be acquired and sufficient confidence not to over-react to circumstances can be built. For the sake of your heart, skeptical as mine used to be, I offer a little clarification that helped me (and many others) tremendously, both coping with past wounds and being able to see the wonder of its true beauty for the first time.

    The word “church” means different things to different people, thereby making many opportunities for confusion and miscommunication. The institutional church, which is more human-made bureaucracy than anything else, has as often as not botched things up and dropped the ball throughout its history. In fact, when you look closely, the institutional church has generally re-introduced barriers between people and God that He went to such extreme lengths to remove! I don’t know why they couldn’t appreciate what He did, why they couldn’t truly believe what He said, but that’s what happened. It has not been as He wants it. It has been far more Old Testament rules-and-intermediaries than New Testament direct-relationship-and-grace. But as a famous writer once said, “She’s a whore but she’s my mother.” Imperfect as she is, the Church has at least managed to protect the Good News well enough to make it to today so that we would have an opportunity to hear it. For that, if nothing else, we ought show some gratitude. But, we also ought not over-associate a bad PR department with the client; churches can get “fired” too and God is amazing no matter how well or poorly the churches represent Him. So we ought be fair and give Him a chance to represent Himself.

    And that’s precisely what is happening at this time. You see, God knew anything the humans did would be imperfect. Ruined, actually. So He never expected the institutional church system to last. The Church Age is a dispensation, said another way a trial run, like any of the others humans have already been through on the protracted lesson that indeed, no other system of governance shy of direct reporting to the Lord Himself is nearly as good. Having tried all the rest, we will soon be ready to try the Best. You can see a mini-version of this in the Old Testament, where God had just rescued them via the Exodus from Egypt and with shocking ingratitude, in the very face of supernatural manifestation of His very presence in front of them, their response was, “Nah, thanks and all, but we’d really rather have a human king, like every other nation.” Reasoning with them didn’t help, so He temporarily acquiesced. The next four books regale the mess that followed.

    Christ didn’t actually come to establish a new religion, on the heels of substantial proof that religion didn’t work. He came to bypass religion, opening a pathway to direct relationship with Him. In the Bible, when you see the word church, it doesn’t mean buildings or memberships or programs, what it means is a collective of like-minded believers who, when put together, complete the picture of Him in this world like a jigsaw puzzle. One of us might be a justice piece, another a tenderness piece, etc. His character is too big for any one of us to represent in full alone. In fact, given that He IS love, multiple people are required to make that exchange representationally. When believers act in unison, it’s like the secret code that unlocks the fullness of His power. For example, when we respond en masse to the victims of Katrina or in Haiti. THAT’S the church. And that is what your child was referring to.

    When God made a covenant with Abraham, He actually made it with Himself and just put Abraham as the beneficiary. Because He knew that the only way to prevent humans from screwing it up was to give them zero responsibility for the outcome. God as Father and Son made the covenant that day (as fire and smoking pot) and told Abraham all he and his offspring had to do was believe and accept it. That’s where we are today. Descendants of Abe, grafted in through Jesus, we are heirs to that covenant. The Church Age is now done, and God is currently raising up not only better teachers and church leaders to fix the problem, but is also raising up a generation that will choose Him instead of the world’s way, doing the opposite of what the Israelites did in Exodus, and most of whom will have not been in the institutional church previously so He won’t have to un-teach and re-teach them so much. In fact, amongst the millions that are flocking to Him, most have never been to a church and don’t know anything about church, institutionally. They’re the most enthusiastic, grateful, and contagiously happy believers you’ve ever seen. They do what God wants because they’ve never been taught not to! Start looking for evidence of this build-up, and you’ll see it for yourself. God is brewing.

    So, I encourage you to try what I did, which is to listen to your heart (that’s God’s voice) and give a relationship with Him a chance disentangled from human institutions. See how that goes for a while. Once your relationship grows, like any other you form, the mechanics of it all will just start to happen naturally. In the same way you think, feel, and act loyally to your husband and children, when you finally fall in love with Jesus you’ll do the same. It really is that simple.

    And I promise you, being just those few years ahead of you on that same pathway, you’ll be so glad you did. Really, really, really glad you did. : D

    p.s. A phenomenal teacher I recommend to you is Joseph Prince. See him on TV or via the website. If he doesn’t help you appreciate Jesus more, check your pulse!

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  2. Wow, I don’t think the kids school did anything for 9/11–at least my kids didn’t say anything about it, now I’ll have to ask them. Nor do I think they’d have good of a discussion about it. :-/ I think we need to step up our dinner time conversations! 🙂

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  3. I think it’s stunning that they are able to – unprompted!- do that kind of critical thinking regarding what happens at school. That demonstrates that they’ve watched you think critically (which is different than just being critical, isn’t it?)

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    1. I thought so myself, Amy. And it was TOTALLY unprompted. We were a little uncomfortable the school wanted them to wear red, white and blue, but didn’t say much to the kids about it. They seemed to think through this on their own… I’m glad to see their critical-thinking, and sure hope mine is critical thinking and not being critical 🙂

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