Unicorns, Rainbows, and Zombie Jesus

Crisp evening air, the Buick whirred down the four lane road headed toward town. A girl’s night out with Grandma, Ashley, and me. Sitting in the backseat, Ashley chats about her Barbie dolls, her unicorn storybook, the Disney Princesses–all sweet, innocent girly things. Her very essence wrapped up in one long car ride, and I’m thankful for a moment to listen, to hear her non-stop banter about her favorite things. Until she asks:

“Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Cause I just don’t get it.” 

Photography by Mark Askins

A pause, silence chokes out everything else. I fumble for a reassuring “yes, He did.” Perhaps, the easy answer will end her questions for now, but it never does.

“But wouldn’t that make Jesus a Zombie?” she asks unabashedly. “If He dug out of His grave, then He’d be a zombie. But all the pictures in Sunday School show Him next to a big rock.”

She waits quietly for answer, any answer more than my emphatic “yes, He did.” But I say nothing. Not for lack of “right” answers, my Christian college education gave me all of those with the bonus of Bible verses supporting all of those answers, but I’m not sure exactly how to explain something that I don’t firmly grasp either.These moments, I wished I could simply believe all of those easy faith answers. I wish I didn’t need to question everything that I have been taught about God and Jesus and the church. But I do. I need a safe place to ask, but sadly, I haven’t found it yet.

And it scares me to think that my daughter, with all of her questions, won’t have a safe place either. Already, she’s asking hard questions. Questions, theologians still debate and wrestle with, not to mention so many of us in the church. I’m thrilled that she didn’t accept a clichéd response and kept asking, but I worry too. Right now, she’s a child, and it’s okay for children ask if Jesus is a Zombie because he came out of his grave, but what will happen when she is older. When asking such questions will cause the church to shun her, reject her curiosity, and perhaps, force her to leave.

Will the church still be as unwelcoming to we doubters, we askers of questions? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But what gives me hope is that she won’t be alone. There will be other Christ followers asking hard questions. Others chronicle their journeys through the labyrinth of faith. For now, she talk about unicorns and rainbows, but I’m sure I haven’t heard the last of Zombie Jesus.

This post is part of Life:Unmasked from Joy in this Journey. Click here to read other contributions.

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There I Said It….

Roller Coaster - Speed Mouse #2photo © 2006 Stéfan Le Dû | more info (via: Wylio)
I wish certain weeks came with warning labels like “SMOOTH SAILING” or “EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER HELL.” Something to give me the heads up, but this week’s warning label about many an emotional wreck waiting to happen didn’t come. It never does.

On Wednesday, I headed up to Raleigh to for a job interview. Stressful, yes, driving in the city traffic, utter hell on earth. During the trip, I prayed for God to give me wisdom, to enlighten my path, to show me all the good things that He had for me. In church, the pastor has repeatedly focused on God’s unlimited resources, how we need only ask for God to do grand things to meet our needs. When I got the phone call concerning the job interview, I was cautiously hopeful. I didn’t want to get my hopes up because I’m so tired of being utterly disappointed. But I left the interview emotionally worn out, bruised and beaten, asking myself why. Everyone assured me that God had something better, not to lose hope, but I sat alone on my bed, choking back the tears of hopelessness. I realized how right Emily Dickinson was when she wrote “hope is the thing with feathers.” My last bit of hope flew away.

For the first time in months, the waves of doubt hit full force.

Sitting on my couch, I let the words escape from my mouth. Unchecked, unguarded, but always alive and well inside my mind—what if God doesn’t exist? What if in this grand cosmos their isn’t a loving God who thinks about our needs? There I said it. I gave life to gnawing thoughts I had about God and his goodness. Overpowered by their freedom, the questions wouldn’t stay on the mental shelves, nicely put away. In fact, the doubts exploded into questions of fairness, materials needs not being met, all of the stress of months of fruitless applications and job interviews, all of this precious time wasted. And for what? Following all sorts of rules, being excluded for personal choices, I see a waste of time.

Perhaps, this is the kind of doubt that Tennyson describes: “there lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in all the creeds.”

At this point, I was interrupted from the blog post by a phone call…which showed me that God does have a sense of humor. Driving home from the gym, I sent up a half ass prayer about needing to hear about a job. And by half ass, it was the typical selfish, “God, I need this or I won’t believer in You like ever” prayer. Again proving, how super spiritual I’m not.

Sitting at my laptop, writing about doubts and God’s not being fair and being unemployed, I get phone call and invitation to interview for a teaching position. While this doesn’t fully cause all of my doubts to vanish or questions to be answered, I’m stuck by the irony.

Question: When have you been struck by the irony of God or the just irony of the everyday situations?

A Day Full of Questions

Photo by kevindooley in FLickr Creative Commons

Today, I am focusing my time and effort on a teaching presentation on argumentative writing. So, I want to know what persuades you!

1. With tomorrow being election day, what would it take for a candidate to convince you to vote for her or him? Even better, if this candidate is not in your usual party.

2. What excited you about the elections? What terrifies you about the elections?

Most Importantly…..

3. What was the best piece of Halloween candy you gave away or received?

Why I Write…

Why I Write….

I write to give life to the ideas swirling inside my head…

I write to free my soul from the death grip my nagging inner monologue of doubt has on it…

I write because I have a love affair with the English language—its beauty, its complexity…

I write to express my faith, my doubts, my fear…

I write to ask the questions no one in church says out loud…

I write to gain perspective on what I think I know, what I do know, and what I need to know better…

I write…

Why do you write? Or better, Why do you NOT write?