"Mom, who's Jesus Christ?"
We were driving to karate and listening to Laugh U.S.A. on Sirius XM radio. One of the comedians exclaimed, "Jesus Christ!" I've said this phrase on numerous occasions, however, this time, 7-year-old Ezra wanted clarification. "So, who is he?"
O.K. Let's get into this.
"Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God."
"They're wrong," he replied.
"They are?" I ask, ready for him to knock me out with his deep theological insight.
"Yeah. Poseidon is." Nope. No insight. Just Percy Jackson.
"Ezra, that's Greek gods!" Maxon shouts.
Maxon, my 9-year-old, should know better than to try to tell Ezra he is wrong about something. If the child thinks it's Tuesday, he will never stop affirming it. Even on Thursday.
"No! Poseidon! The god of the sea! He is the son of God!"
And this is how ridiculous arguments start between my sons.
"What do you think Christmas means, Ezra? Christ? Mas? It's not called Poseidonmas! Christmas is Jesus Christ's birthday!"
Before my synapses completely short circuit, I send Maxon up the stairs to karate and I try to give Ezra some information. This entails explaining that Jesus is a person described in a part of the Bible we don't read, and that Christians pray to him and to God, like we pray to God.
"What do you think?"
He did not elaborate. He was busy doodling.
"Mr. Isaac is Christian," I say, gesturing to Maxon's karate teacher. "Do you want to ask him about Jesus?"
"No. I'm good." And he went back to doodling on a pad of paper while the karate class warmed up.
Really? Was that all he needed as an explanation for something I'm not sure I understand fully? It made me wonder about something else. Do my boys have ideas about God? If so, I have no clue what they are. We've talked about God before, but when they were very young. What do they think now?
"I think God has long, long hair and she is a girl and she wears a long dress and she never changes," Ezra said. "And she makes everyone when they are born and right now she is making someone new."
"How do you know God is a girl?"
"It's obvious. God sounds like a girl name. And people pray to God for things that they want to have happen, and God tries to make it happen."
"Do you pray to God?"
"I pray to God in my room," Ezra said.
"Oh yeah? What do you pray for?"
"An iPhone. Can I have some gum?" And he's gone.
Then I asked Maxon.
"God is a spirit, and the spirit travels through different bodies, posessing them," he said. "I could be God. You could be God. You could have been God five seconds ago, but you wouldn't remember. He makes sure you forget."
"So, God visits and stays inside people's bodies?"
"Yeah, but he only visits bodies he likes."
"How many bodies does God visit?"
"Maybe one a day. If he likes a body he could be in there longer."
"So, can you pray to God?"
"You could try, but I'm not sure if it would work. There's only one God, and so many people asking."
So, we have Ezra, who prays to a Tolkien Elf Queen Goddess who gives out iPhones, and then Maxon, whose God is more like a spirit virus from a sci-fi series.
Yup. This seems about right.
What I love about their answers is how personal they were. God does mean something to them, in whatever form he or she takes. My idea of God is unlike either of my boys' ideas, but there is one thing Maxon added that I did agree with:
"God is probably something we least expect."