Oct 23, 2008

You can learn a lot when you know so little

Brace yourselves, because I'm about to admit something embarrassing. Well, it would be embarrassing, but I'm going to blame my ignorance on the state of public schools and Baptist churches in the '80s, so more embarrassing for them than for me. That's my plan, anyway.

From the time I started school, I wondered why Alaska was so cold. According to all the maps, it was off the coast of California and Mexico. And who wants to be the one to ask the dumb question? Not I. I completely understood why Hawaii was hot ... it was just southeast of Florida, sort of between Florida and Cuba.

I'm very literal, you see. I took the maps at face value. And the fact that I can't find a single map that displays them this way today (so I can show you how I was misled) is proof that they've since seen the error of their ways. But I did find a number of them that still show them out of place. Current maps, people. Like this one:

I fear for my children’s geographical future. Luckily, Grayson knows where all the states are, so I’ll depend on him to help with their geography homework. And math. And science. And history.

I finally put two and two together late in high school, I think ... I’ll never forget seeing the Mercator projection of the world map for the first time … that really rocked my world. Behold:

Anyway, that was all background to what happened last Sunday at church. I am in the middle of a 9-month rotation in the Godly Play class (the third Sunday of each month in Nathaniel and Nicholas’ class). While reading the day’s lesson Sunday morning with my co-teacher, Ashley, she read aloud, “God was displeased with man’s behavior, and he was to send a great flood to cleanse the Earth. He chose Noah, his wife, and their three sons and daughters-in-law to build an ark …” (I’m paraphrasing. You get the gist.)

So I say to Ashley and Parke (Parke is the program facilitator), “Wait a minute. Sons? And their wives? I thought it was just Noah and his wife. Plus the animals.” And they were like, “No, the sons and their wives were definitely there.”

So I’m thinking, “It’s a good thing we’re going over this before the kids get here, because if we’d asked who was on the ark and a kid had answered, ‘Noah, his wife and his three sons,’ I would have said, ‘Nooooooo, I don’t know where you got that idea, sweetie. It was just Noah and his wife.’”

Now, it’s probably been a good 25 years since I read that scripture directly from the Bible. It was a one-time read for me in about fifth grade, and to my knowledge, no Sunday School teacher in my life has focused on it since. But I have read and re-read children's versions of all of the "main" Bible stories over the years, and there is no mention of anyone on that boat other than Noah and his wife. I also double-checked our Fisher-Price Noah's Ark (Little People) set when I got home. Noah and a bunch of two-by-two animals. No sons. AND NO WIFE, EITHER.

At church, we had a wooden ark and animals to use to illustrate the story (this ark had a Noah and a wife, who the lesson referred to as “Mrs. Noah”), and Ashley was planning how to use it most effectively. She said, “I’m not going to use all the animals for the story; I’m just going to choose a few pairs so it doesn’t take as long to do it. I don’t want to run out of time.” And I said, “Well, at least the animals are still two-by-twos. That’s something.” And then she said, “Yeah, they don’t have the extra seven animals in the set.”

EXCUSE ME? Apparently they took seven more animals FOR SACRIFICIAL PURPOSES on the ark.

It felt like a one-two punch. So please pardon me while I take a few moments to put the shattered pieces of my life back together. I’m really going to have to study up for next month’s lesson … make sure nobody other than Jonah got swallowed by that whale.

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

It wasn't for sacrificial purposes. It was the biblically clean animals for them to be able to eat meat while they were on the ark.

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