Parenting is good for one’s personal theology, I’m sure. It removes the patina of disuse and age from thoughts that were considered settled back when one was thinking big thoughts that heady freshman year of college. Here, for example, is an actual discussion between Grey and me on my commute this morning:
Grey: Mommy, make Spiderman real!
Mommy (thinking this is a good introduction to the finite abilities of parents): Grey, I don’t have the ability to make things real. I can’t make imaginary things real.
(Silence from the back seat while this is mulled over)
Grey: OK, let’s pray for Spiderman to be real.
Mommy: Uh… you lead
Grey: OK mommy. You say after me.
I love you very much
Please make Spiderman real and alive
I mean RED Spiderman.
So if you find that New York City has some unexplained sightings and crimes that go punished by a mutant vigilante, well, our God is an awesome God.
Actually, this whole thing caught me up short a little. In our creeds we say that God is all-powerful and can do whatever God chooses. But I must admit, I consider the bringing to life of fictional superheros impossible. I almost told Grey that God can’t make Spiderman real. In history, God certainly hasn’t chosen to manifest his awesome abilities in the bringing to fruition the imaginings of humans (although he’s given us amazing abilities in that regard). Can God, if God so chose, make Spiderman real? If he chose to answer this deeply faithful prayer of my son’s, what would an affirmative answer look like?
Jesus tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard-seed, we will be able to move mountains. Grey’s faith is unbounded right now. There is no cynicism or experience telling him that certain kinds of prayers are likely to go unanswered, or to be answered in such a way that the answer does not seem to be the hand of God. He has not learned what sort of things it is that we pray for, and what sort of things seem as though they are outside the purview of the almighty.
I don’t have a pat answer on this. The limits I put on my own prayers are revealing to the limits I put on my faith. I have pared down what it is I believe God can do, at least in my subconscious, and pray accordingly.
Please let Red Spiderman be real. Thank you.