Totally Quotable Clementine: Biblical edition

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I hesitate to post this, as I think it may lead to some unpleasant calls from relatives, but apparently Clementine doesn’t know what a crucifix is. I’ve told her about Jesus, and she knows that he was a revolutionary thinker who encouraged people to take care of the poor, practice forgiveness, love thy neighbor, and any number of other equally non-intuitive and admirable things. But I guess I still haven’t gotten around to telling her about how he was brutally nailed to a cross, and how people now, for some reason, take comfort in seeing perpendicularly intersecting pieces of wood. Call me unchristian if you want to, but I don’t see how it’s the most relevant part of the story. Anyway, I’ve chosen to keep that from her. For what it’s worth, I’ve also never shown her the second half of The Sound of Music, when the Nazis stop singing and start shooting. I figure there’s plenty of time for stories about decent people getting murdered for doing the right thing, tours of hog processing plants, mentions of relatives who’ve committed suicide, and the like.

So, why am I talking about this now?

Yesterday, after a play date with some friends, when we were cleaning up, we noticed that one of them had left behind what seemed to be a Sunday school craft project, a light blue crucifix with the word “PEACE” on it. Clementine brought it over to me, and we talked about returning it to the little girl who had left it. And, at some point in the conversation, either Linette or I asked Clementine what she thought that it was. I don’t know what kind of answer we were expecting, but we didn’t foresee her saying, “Is it a gun?”

It was a weird scene there in our living room, me sitting on the couch, my daughter leveling a sideways crucifix at my chest, like it was gun and pretending to pull the trigger… It’s one of those things I should file away for that screenplay I’ll eventually write.

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27 Comments

  1. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that’s a keeper quote.

    I suggest starting with more humane execution devices, like the electric chair or the guilotine, before working your way up to the ultimate humiliating, tortuous, drawn-out Roman punishment. Maybe a game of hangman to start the ball rolling.

  2. Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Best quote ever ;)

  3. Foley
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Seems like a nice time to mention at least that peace takes, um, “work” aka “sacrifice” aka… you overpay for good, you underpay for evil.

  4. Foley
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Of course a cross is much worse, much more vicious than a gun.

    But then, at some point it was transformed from an instrument of death and torture to a symbol of peace and forgiveness.

    May we all stop “wearing” guns like slingers and start “wearing” them like Jesus wore the cross.

    Wear violence like Christ.

    Or,

    wear it like His anti.

  5. Jon L.
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Peace is a gun son. Peace is a gun.

  6. Greedo
    Posted June 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Always looked more like a sword to me, at least without the body hanging from it.
    Matthew 10:34 – “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword”

    There is always that church in Louisville for Clementine. Pastor Pagano, I think it was.

  7. Posted June 30, 2009 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    OMG; that’s so funny and wonderful!

    For whatever it may be worth, I think you’re telling her all the right things.

  8. EOS
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Too bad telling your daughter that Jesus is God is not the most relevant part of your story either.

  9. The kingpin
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    bang-bang…my baby shot me down.

  10. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    You know what’s always bugged me about portrails of Jesus crucified? I’m pretty sure they crucified people naked — hence the “shame of the cross.” If I were one of the Roman soldiers who won the lot for his undergarment, I wouldn’t want it after he died in it. Sometimes the bladder and bowels empty after things die.

    I really admire that you consider the cross as what it was — a particularly, deliberately inhumane, simplistic but ingeniously tortuous execution device and nothing more.

    To bridge the gap between your insight and EOS’s fight-provoking comment, it was the guy on the thing in this particular execution (one of many similar in that time) that counted. And he was probably completely naked.

    Peace.

  11. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Portrayals.

  12. Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Our daughter (almost age 4) has seen the full Sound of Music many times. There is one scene where Rolf (Nazi) holds a gun that elicited a lot of questions, mainly wondering why he was being mean when he used to be nice. The trickiest part to explain was that when he cries out for backup, “Lieutenant!”, we had to explain that he was calling for a bad (Nazi) Lieutenant, whereas our daughter’s Mommy is a…good Lieutenant Commander. Much confusion especially since both wear khaki uniforms.

  13. EOS
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Brack –

    So calling God just another revolutionary thinker who encouraged people to take care of the poor, practice forgiveness, love thy neighbor, and any number of other equally non-intuitive and admirable things is insightful? The most relevant part of the story doesn’t include the cross and resurrection? But to believe he is who he said he was is fight provoking? That’s what I like most about this site – it’s always opens up a point of view I never considered possible.

  14. Torrent
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. It’s much more important to teach children about his title than his good works.

    And they should also know to be very, very afraid of his wrath.

    Douche.

  15. Posted June 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s a Peace Piece.

  16. EOS
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Brack, you’re second place. Torrent takes first with his quip about God being merely a title.

  17. Kathy
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey – let’s not fight about God or Jesus. WWJD?

  18. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    EOS — I believe that since Jesus is God, he doesn’t feel the least bit threatened or defensive if Mark fails to mention that fact on his blog post about his daughter’s funny quip.

    You are correct that the truth of his being God is crucial to understanding the good news about Jesus’ grace and Spirit that enables the faithful to fulfill his commands and be freed from their shortcomings as they grow and are disciplined by God; rather than his not being God leading to a legalistic, self-righteous understanding of his commands that makes people not truthful or loving.

    It is important, as is the way you go about preaching it. Truth without love isn’t true, and love without truth isn’t loving.

    I’m one to talk about a loving presentation sometimes, but I consider representing Jesus accurately (with truth, patience, kindness, humility, and gentleness, for instance) to be more important than playing nice with politics and economics, since all that temporary garbage is going to be thrown away eventually anyway. But misrepresenting God’s character makes him out to be a defensive, small, fault-finding man, which he isn’t.

    Jesus didn’t go around feeling pressured to blurt out “I’m God!” all over the place. Yes, he said it, but he revealed it gradually and spoke in parables that most people didn’t even get. That makes him wise, not ashamed of the truth or afraid of persecution. But I’m not trying to discourage or scold you or something; I hope that comes across.

  19. Truth Stick
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Amen, Brother BA.

  20. Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Ask, and ye shall receive.

  21. Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    That has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

  22. Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I knew you’d like it.

  23. Greedo
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    BA wrote, “Jesus didn’t go around feeling pressured to blurt out “I’m God!” all over the place.”
    Cool. But in all that red lettering in my version of the books, he didn’t even whisper it in private to his disciples. Just saying.

  24. Brackinald Achery
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    You’re right in that he didn’t overtly use the phrase, “I’m God,” Greedo. But yes, he claimed to be equal with God and that he was the Messiah, and that the Messiah was Lord. Plenty.

  25. Greedo
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Mark, you should not neglect to tell young Clementine that every week, people get together and actually eat God’s meat and drink his blood. And enjoy it.
    BA. Yes, but only when Caiaphus asked him if he was Messiah.
    Your point stands that Jesus was humble, especially when we consider that he was God and Logos and all that. But it stands to reason that even with the sacrifice of his life at a very young age, the things that he taught during his ministry and his healing of the sick were a huge part of his life’s work. After all, there is no crucifixion in the Islamic tradtion (they killed Barabbas instead), and Muslims love Jesus, too.

  26. Brackinald Achery
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    But it stands to reason that even with the sacrifice of his life at a very young age, the things that he taught during his ministry and his healing of the sick were a huge part of his life’s work.

    I agree completely.

  27. Oliva
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    This is how I learned it to be–that “Lord” for “God” is a relic from feudal times, used in the King James version of the Bible and a glaring example of how politically loaded, and enduringly powerful, translations can be. Please correct my understanding, anyone, if you think it’s misguided.

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