For The Someday Book

The Folly of Theological Metaphor

Posted on: December 14, 2009

Tonight at bedtime, I led B. in the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer. When we finished, he said, “I want another one.” So I started on the Lord’s Prayer, but he interrupted me to remind me, “Hey Mommy, when I was at your church today, they had chips. I really like those chips.”

We had just been talking about his role as a sheep in the pageant next week, so I thought of Psalm 23. He is interested by shepherds, and knows that they protect sheep and lambs, so it seemed like a good approach. I just shared the first few lines, through “God restores my soul.” Trying to explain a metaphor was not easy.

Me: “You know what a shepherd does, right? So if God is like a shepherd, who does God look after? God looks after you–protects you, gives you good food like green grass, and good water to drink. Takes care of everything you need.”

B was nodding affirmatively, so I thought this was making some degree of sense to him. Until he started repeating what he had learned. The conversation went something like this:

B: “But I don’t like water.”

Me: “Yes you do, you just drank water.”

B: “I like that kind of water, but I don’t like the kind of water like sheep drink. That’s yucky.”

Me: “Yes, that’s true. Sheep water would be yucky. But I’m sure God would give you good water you would like.”

B: “So God will be the pretend shepherd and I will be the pretend sheep?”

Me: “Well, not pretend exactly. It’s just that what God does to take care of us is like what a shepherd does to take care of the sheep.”

B: “God is a shepherd–that’s silly. I think I want to be a cat.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

Helpful Hint

If you only want to read regular posts, click the menu for Just Reflections. If you only want to read book reviews, click the menu for Just Book Reviews.

RevGalBlogPals

NetGalley

Member & Certified Reviewer

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,628 other followers

%d bloggers like this: