Carne Levare

Know Other People

Credible Faith

Posted by Remy on April 24, 2009

[from 2005]

When a child is frightened by a father the child screams and runs to him. This is interesting because the father is both the source of fear and the refuge from it. 

I show Archer my face and smile. Then I bare my teeth, scrunch my nose, frown and growl –sometimes Archer plays the warrior king David or Samson, laughs and prepares to grapple, usually headfirst and drooling; I admire this, but dismantle him with tickles anyway. Other times he is Jonah after Joppa or Peter, inches from being swallowed by the sea, then the fish, crying out afraid. Either way, when I charge, in crazy desperation he charges too, beseechingly, arms outstretched. I admire this too, but still I deconstruct his heart.

So you know the special moves: to “flub the nub” is to set the mouth on the neck and blow. To “play the piano” is just that but with fingers to ribs. To “gitchoo” is to gnaw on legs, arms, and other lush areas of baby fat. To “Sqeeza” (also: sqeeza-ya-neezas”) is to sqeeze the knees. And the ultimate blow it to “bonk” which is a straight head to head blow sending us both reeling.

The fact that Archer understands who his protector is tells me that he is being a faithful Christian. Even when the scary face comes and the roar and the slapdash charge, hands and knees, and I can see in his moon waxen eyes that he wants to turn and flee, that he wants to cringe and fall, yet his faith leads his steps, he runs to the father, he cries out, he seeks refuge.

Sometimes, because it is glorious, I catch him up and throw him into the third heaven and he is dazzled by the place where gravity grabs him back. After a few of these the world is new or his legs are new, but it is shaky going for a few minutes regardless, maybe it’s his eyes.

When I scare Archer when we play, it is still scary, but he knows his father. This is what true faith does, it screams and runs to God, though God has placed His hand toward terror. Children know this better than we, they do this because they are wild with faith. They scream because they’re mad: who else runs to the one who afflicts you?

When we pray “Our Father” we’re fools if this makes us feel safe. God the Father would win no modern parental awards. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we’re asking for the son treatment, we are asking to die, we are asking for dread. But we are asking also for majesty. When we pray this prayer, we should run in terror though we run to refuge, for a credible faith is one thing, but an incredible faith is the main thing. Unbelievable belief, like the resurrection, the faith of a child.

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