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Grand Rapids, MI


Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Filtering by Tag: blog tour

Camp & Questions


I spent the week last week at a Camp on Lake Michigan called Camp Geneva.  It's actually where my wife and I met, and where we held our wedding reception.  I've been going out there each year to be a chaplain.  My kids get to experience camp, and I get to give back to camp a little bit. Well, it's a great week.  The week I'm there is  the 4th to 6th grade all week.  Now, I love these kids, but precisely because of their age, it requires some thinking in a good part of the brain - the child "translation" side.  This age group is filled with questions and curiosity and they're really beginning to try to make sense of the world. 

Half way through the week, a counselor came to me with her cabin and asked if they could spend some time with me asking questions.  "No problem," I said.  Well, that's what I thought.  It was so much fun - for an hour we sat and just talked about everything you can think of from what will we be like in heaven to what are ghosts to how could Jesus really be God if he was also human to whether or not God spoke every language?  We talked about whether we'd know people in heaven and whether babies who died would always be babies in heaven.  (These kids were fascinated with the afterlife.)  They wanted to know if people could hear us from heaven so that we could pray to them after they died, whether we would become angels, and how God sees kids with disabilities.  Later in the week, another counselor asked if I'd do the same thing with her cabin.  It was a pure blast.

I wish at that point I had Jim's book Gum, Geckos, and God  available (see previous post) or had already read it because he promises to look at some of these things in conversation with his kids in the book.  I'm excited to read this and rethink conversations I've had with my son Isaac about what I call our heavenly "super-bodies" and what God looks like and my daughter Aliya's concerns about how on earth (literally) it's possible for Jesus to come back to life (faith is amazing).

I'm participating in a blog tour for Gum, Geckos, and God.  The stop here will be on August 4th and following.  Basically, I'm going to ask Jim some questions on the book, and he'll respond, and you can join in.

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Walmart Bathroom Theology


Gum, Geckos, and GodSetting:  Walmart bathroom; 3 year old in one stall, 5 year old two down – so they’re yelling.


3 year old:  [Singing Jesus Loves Me modified]  Jesus doesn’t love me; Jesus doesn’t love me. 

5 year old:  That’s not right.  Jesus loves you.  He always does.

3 year old:  I don’t like Jesus.  He won’t let me touch these blue walls, so I don’t like him. [Pauses]  Jesus, it’s me!  I’m sorry Jesus.  Jesus, it’s me!  I’m on da toilet!!” [Now to mommy] I just talked to Jesus, mommy.  Just for a minute.  He’s upstairs.

5 year old:  Jesus isn’t upstairs, he’s in the sky.

3 year old:  Not in the blue sky.

5 year old:  Yes he is.

3 year old:  In the blue sky!?

5 year old [yelling]: YES!!

3 year old:  How does he fly?

5 year old:  He doesn’t.

3 year old:  The angels fly.

5 year old:  Yes they do.

3 year old:  With their wings.

(And it went on… but who can ever re-create these things?)


This happened a few years ago when my now 8 year old was 5 and my now 5 year old was 3.  I was reminded of this when I read the first few lines of a new book by an old friend (well, he's not old... we were just friends while I was in college and he getting his doctorate) called Gum, Geckos, and God.  It's a book about God, theology, and questions that James S. Spiegel wrote from conversations with his kids and interaction with his philosophical mind.


I'm going to tell you some more about it in the next post or two, along with maybe one or two kid stories... but first a little about its author, James S. Spiegel (click to read his bio).  Jim is a Philosophy professor at Taylor University, a wonderful thinker, and a mean basketball player (at least he used to be).  You can read the official bio, which you should do... but I'm going to write a few other rememberances.  Jim and I played in a band back in college days, and I was often inspired by Jim's wit and his intelligence.  I remember playing with him at the Michigan State Student Union, at a local bar, at a retreat, and at our church.  I remember Jim getting mad at me for some bad decisions I was making with some friends who were a negative influence.  Jim is a thinker and a lover.  He loves God and he loves his family and he loves his friends.  Jim also loves music, philosophy, and certain sports and TV shows.  


Honestly, I haven't seen Jim since a buddy of ours got married several years back, but I have fond memories of jamming late into the night to the strange mix of Cranberries and Classic Rock.  I've only started the book, but I'll be participating in a Blog Tour, and I hope you'll not only read along, but get the book.   It's funny, helpful, and serious all at the same time.  If you have kids, you'll certainly recognize some of the great theological questions of 5 year olds from your own experience and Jim takes the deep philosophical and theological issues to bear and tries to put them into concepts that even a child can understand.  What a concept.

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