Joe & I have a nightly ritual: every night when he goes to bed, he asks me a question. Sometimes they're fiction based, (Star Wars, Metroid, Babylon 5,) sometimes they're science based, (how do blankets keep us warm?) and sometimes they're religion/ philosophy based.
Last night's was one of these. During the day, I said, "Oh poop!" (literally.) Joseph told me not to take the Lords' name in vain. I explained that the Lord's name was NOT "Poop." So last night's question was, "What IS taking the Lord's name in vain?"
(Let me backtrack here and explain that this question almost certainly comes from my father. Whenever he hears someone on TV or a movie or in real life say "Goddamn it," he goes into a tirade about how we shouldn't take the Lords name in vain.)
So I explained that it means literally to blame or to curse God when things go wrong. I added, however, that I don't think God really minds. First of all, He's God, He's pretty darn big, and His feelings probably aren't hurt that easily. Second of all, God created people, so he understands that people get hurt and angry and lash out from time to time.
"But God never answers my prayers," Joseph said.
Ok, this was a new one. "What do you pray for?" I asked.
"I ask him why we need to go to church to worship Him." (Let me interject here and say that Jen and I are not really church going folk, and Joe goes with my parents whenever we visit.) "And he didn't answer me."
So I explained that I don't personally think we do, as God is everywhere. Joe said that he liked going to church with Grandma and Grandpa and I said great- nothing wrong with that. I went on to explain that I think the only way prayers get answered is through other people. (Doctors heal, police & firefighters rescue, friends & family care, etc.) and that if we have any purpose in life, its to do God's work by answering each others prayers -or even our own. (Yes, I've blogged about this before. Sue me.) So if he has questions, ask people, and they may be answered. Or, the answer may come to him through life in general, and he'll have an "AHA!" moment.