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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10 thoughts on “Unicorns, Rainbows, and Zombie Jesus

  1. I love this post – especially your honest questions about asking questions in safe places. I hope that there is a more loving space to wrestle with questions – that we can help create it. Thank you for sharing your honest self with us. I’m so glad I stopped by from Joy’s. 

  2. If I ever needed to read something in such a timely manner it was this post.  I have felt ashamedly alone in my questioning and doubt to where I allowed myself to be angry and treat others as if they were ignorant in their beliefs.  Thank you for sharing this today 🙂

    1. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one with these kinds of questions and doubts. But through blogging, I’ve found a greater community of people who ask hard questions, who doubt, who let me know I’m not alone. You’re not alone.

  3. Hi –
    Thanks for this post. I love the freshness of children’s questions, and I love that you want to value her by taking time over them and honouring them. If there are answers to be found, then it will be always worth taking time to honour the questions and not dismiss them. I hope that I will also do that with my children.

    [I stopped by from Joy’s as well – I posted on M.E. relapses and mountain climbing.]

  4. hiya! this may have NOTHING to do with your post but i’ve been pondering thinking and reading whether or not Jesus is God and whether or not the bible is the word of God or is Jesus the only word. Thanks for this post and it helps with these ponderings. i have no answers other than I have been reconciled to God thru Christ. xoxo

  5. You know, I think her question is kind of brilliant. It’s amazing to me the way that kids connect dots that we adults won’t allow ourselves to. My daughter is this way – always questioning and demanding the real answers.  I love her curiosity and dread it for the same reasons you do, and half the time I fumble through inadequate answers. I remind myself that these qualities that make parenting her a challenge now will (i hope! I trust) make her a questioning and capable adult later, one strong enough to rise above the fear that most of us operate in. I just hope I have the courage to let her be who she is.[Saying a prayer now that you’ll both find your safe place, a tangible home of honest, gracious, seeking believers.]

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