Monday 18 February 2008

Hearing God

This morning, I overheard this conversation between my two daughters (aged 5 and 3):

Older sister: You know, we can never hear God.
Younger sister: Yes we can!
Older sister: No, we can never hear him.
Younger sister: But I hear God every time I say the word God. You watch: God. See, I just heard “God”!

I don’t know about you, but I was impressed – there’s an entire theory of language here which deftly and elegantly resolves the hotly debated question of whether human beings can hear God. Perhaps my little daughter has been reading the pre-Socratics – it was Zeno who said, “If you say cart, a cart passes through your mouth.”


Ched said...

Very Nice.

Fred said...

in response to a scatological word...
what you just had in your mouth, I wouldn't have in my hand.

S. A. Laffin said...

Oh, the little ones. My daughter (who is 3) is always coming up with great messages from and questions for Jesus. Just the other day she told my wife and I that she had to wait five days before Jesus would let her ask for a new baby sister. I thought it was adorable that she was asking Jesus for a baby sister, but confused as to why he told her to wait five days to ask.

Mark said...

My favorite from my daughter is this.
One day she said, "God made the sun using magic."
I wondered where this came from so I said, "Who told you that?"
The reply: "God told me when he was making me."

Dave Belcher said...

A few months ago, my son (nearly 3 now) spontaneously put up both his hands stretched outward, repeating the sending of the congregation in peace: "Go forth in peace to love and to serve...Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia"

And again two days ago, while he was playing with his Mater truck, he spontaneously began, "This is my body, broken for you..." I asked him what he was saying, and he not only repeated ALL the words of institution, but the mystery of our faith: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" about the in-breaking of the Kingdom in our midst. Truly: " must learn to have the faith of a little one"

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I seem to recall that in the long-ago days when I studied theology, I read of an argument between Barth and Schliermaker (spelling?) about whether there was a short formula which could capture the essence of being a Christian? Essentially, the "formula" would have to contain within itself the whole explanation of being a Christian, but obviously the meanings of individual words would be taken as given and wouldn't have to be further explained. The two of them hotly disputed whether such a formula existed (as I recall). (Doubtless I have these details very wrong!)

Well, I wondered about the statement "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour" as such a formula? It names the focus of faith. The word "Christ" has the background to put the uniqueness of Jesus into clear perspective. The word "saviour" encapsulates soteriology and goes to the heart of the gospel. And the word "Lord" unpacks the human response to the gospel message. For the life of me, I couldn't and still can't see why the theologians were arguing about a puzzle which is so easy to solve?

So what was I missing, folks?

Yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY.

Ben Myers said...

Another nice kid's line (nothing to do with theology) — my little niece said to her mother: "Mummy, do you know what 'initiative' is? It's when you do something that you were told you're not allowed to do."

Anonymous said...

Is it a stages of development thing. When you're very small you're presocratic and confuse word and referent. When you get older you find it funny. When you get older still you become postmodern and no longer get the joke or understand the distinction;-)

Shane said...

Kids grow up so fast. More parents should be concerned about whether their children are quantifying into opaque contexts. My advice to you Ben is that you sit your daughters down and have a very long discussion about the importance of distinguishing de re and de dicto predication and nip this problem in the bud.

kim fabricius said...

Kid tugs his mother's' arm during sermon: "Mom, is it still Sunday?"

Anonymous said...

My sister: I know God's name.
My mum: What?
My sister: Peter.
My mum: How do you know that, then?
My sister: Because at the end of Mass, we always say, "Thanks, Peter God!"

Unknown said...

I love it Ben.

When my son was about 4-5 he said as we passed the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop said, "Dad, I know how to spell KFC" and promptly said, K.F.C

Another time one of our teenage boys said in regards to my wifes cowardice in regards to holding his pet python.."Mum, don't be a girl"

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ben, if you read this so late in the day, did you see the Hauerwas Bonhoeffer lecture over at Halden's blog? In it he says that whenever you hear a Methodist preacher say (something like), "As my twelve-year-old was sharing with me the other day ...", you can be sure he's talking bullshit!

There is also a great line about the death-of-God theologians reading Bonhoeffer in their own image - "the shitheads"!

You gotta love Stanley!

Unknown said...

For real life stories of people who have been encouraged by hearing the voice of God check out

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