Last year when Reza Aslan’s book Zealot came out, we bought it. Mark devoured it and I started it, then we lent it to a friend and I need to get back to it. It’s a fascinating portrayal of the historical Jesus and the cover has a giant picture of – wait for it – Jesus.
Mind you that Mark and I grew up dutiful patrons of god in our respective religions. I went to Catholic school for some 13 years (I can’t believe it either) and he sang in the choir at church. We knew god just as well as the next Joe, Sally or Bob.
Fast forward to today, now Mark is more Buddhist than anything else. Meanwhile I listen to what he reads and then go around telling all my friends to meditate, convinced it will solve the world’s problems. Thad goes to a Jewish preschool and doesn’t get much exposure to Jesus, only this picture at home (and our Action Figure Jesus, and Dress Up Jesus on the basement fridge… all purchased by me).
At first the book scared him and he would ask us to put it away letting us know, “I not like that man” or “He’s grumpy/angry/mad/scary.”
In an effort to avoid hiding the book every time he’s in our room, we started talking to him about Jesus and showing him the book. Now our conversations go something like this:
“I want to see Jesus.”
“He’s in the bedroom.”
“In the bedroom.”
“Can I see Jesus?”
“Sure, go find him.”
Or here’s a good one:
“Thad, do you like Jesus?”
“I’m not sure….” (So thoughtful for an almost three year old, don’t you think?)
“You and a million others, kiddo.”
One night Mark spent some more time trying to desensitize Thad to the picture of Jesus and they talked about him as a man and what he tried to do (leaving out the crusader part, keeping it more along the lines of “friendly Robin Hood”). Then, during that evenings “what are you thankful for?” session, Thad’s first response was “Jesus”.
I won’t reveal the conversation that ensued between husband and wife after little man went to bed, surely dreaming of Jesus, but rest assured it included laughter, head-scratching, more laughter, and maybe a little worry that he’ll want to become a priest.
If yesterday’s jaunt at the pool is any indication, he likely won’t be joining any celibate order, as he spent the second half of our visit staring at the bikini-clad twenty-something hipsters.