“Mama, I’ve been meaning to tell you something. I don’t believe in God anymore.” My eleven year old son told me with a matter of fact chirp how he is thinking differently about God these days as he hears more on the playground, in Sunday school and around town.
“Tell me why you don’t believe in God anymore,” I asked. He rattled off a litany of things like how he has never seen God with his own two eyes or heard the sound of God’s voice, and how can God be real when people still die, still fight, still go hungry. “And how can I believe in someone like Jesus who throws stones at people?” he asked with all the indignation a fifth-grader could muster.
This got my attention because it was so obviously a misunderstanding about the woman caught in adultery, a story he no doubt learned in Sunday school. “Do you want to hear me tell the story?” I asked. He agreed to listen.
I explained that a man and woman were caught having sex together – he understood right away because our previous conversation was ‘the talk’ and so the details were quite fresh in his youthful mind. I told him how the woman was taken away to stand before a group of men and answer for her actions. “Mama, what happened to the man? Wasn’t he adultery-ing too?” he quickly asked. “Yes, they both made the same poor choice, but this story is about the woman. We don’t find out about the consequences for the man in this story.” Both of us were curious about the fate of the man, but I pushed forward.