I’m not going to teach your kids that Mary and Joseph were bad parents…

(And other thoughts from the war zone.)

I am neck deep in reformatting the Small, But Wise curriculum for its formal release next Wednesday. It would have been up and ready two days ago, but … hard drive failure. I’ve been plugging away, making things pretty and writing the Bible stories I’ve chosen to illustrate various Proverbs principles in a digestible narrative format for Kindergarten through 5th grade students all over again.

In the past two weeks, I’ve done little else, and you know what they say, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” What I’m writing for the curriculum hasn’t really changed, but every time I study these stories, I consider different things. It’s how I keep familiarity from producing contempt. Because these thoughts don’t generally fit within the scope of the lessons of the stories I find them in, sometimes – sometimes I share them on social media. Most of them are more fleshed out than others, but sometimes – sometimes I’m just coming up for a breath before going back under.

That’s rare. So rare. I try not to post anything without fully explaining my position, without acknowledging other points of view. I am known for my thoughtful perspectives, for my ability to understand where other people are coming from. So even when I post something that seems overly-simplistic, most people know it’s not my intention to limit or misrepresent anything. Most people.

Yesterday, I wrote one of those uncharacteristically mindless posts. As I said earlier, I was in the middle of formatting Small, But Wise, in the story of Jesus in His Father’s House, asking questions and listening to the teachers there. Incidentally, this is also the story where Mary and Joseph accidentally leave Jesus in Jerusalem and travel a day before they realized it. For a moment, I had a thought: How did they go a WHOLE DAY not realizing JESUS was with them? My very next thought was, Nobody’s perfect. And I began to think of all of the imperfect people God uses, including myself.

And because I didn’t think these thoughts required more fleshing out, I shared them in brief (Small, But Wise getting an honorable mention, of course), along with this graphic.

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“Let’s not forget, Joseph and Mary left Jesus in Jerusalem and didn’t realize he wasn’t with them for a WHOLE DAY.”

I didn’t talk about the manifold issues I have with the liberties this graphic takes, especially the number of times it takes things a person did one time and proclaims it as their identity. Yesterday, however, I was posting in the spirit of the graphic, not the letter: Do you seriously think God can’t use you?

More than that, I was just sharing my life. Not in a bragging way: Hey, look at me.  More like, Hey, I’ve been working on this and had this thought while working on it. I shared it across my social media streams with my readers and friends, and I shared it in a private message group with my siblings (though not in exactly the same words). I wouldn’t normally share something like that with my siblings, but others were sharing about their day, so I thought I would, too.

Wow. Okay, guys. Did you know that in Jesus’ time twelve was practically manhood and that they travelled in large groups? So it’s totally not the BIG DEAL I had made out of it. Yuh. Serves me right for having thoughts and saying them out loud. So glad someone took time out of her busy schedule to school me on these matters, because Lord knows you wouldn’t want someone who thinks Mary and Joseph were only human producing a curriculum you can use in Sunday school or a Bible club.

It’s true to say that I don’t need this. I am dealing with all of the emotions that have come with my mom’s diagnosis; I am stepping up even more in various ministry this year; and I am always working on a writing project in some shape, form, or fashion. I don’t have the headspace to worry about whether something I say is going to bring out the correction of someone who doesn’t just not know me, but actively chooses not to know me.

I probably have a dozen friends in my circles of acquaintance who could have critically commented on what I posted yesterday. Instead, they chose to see the spirit behind it. They knew there was nothing harmful in it, even if it wasn’t as carefully thought out as some of my other posts. They knew there was nothing in it to lead anyone astray, even if it didn’t acknowledge the fact that Jesus was practically a man and they travelled in groups back then or even that Mary had other kids to look after. They knew I was just talking about my day. Because they know me.

And so yes, it’s true to say I don’t need this, but it’s truer to say I don’t deserve this. I was talking about my day; I wasn’t trying to crumble any towering delusions, or to explode onto the scene with an epiphany. It wasn’t anything that warranted any kind of correction. Standing up for myself in this matter isn’t anything that warrants the mockery or the silent treatment I’ve received in the past twenty hours, either.

I try to be thoughtful. I try to come at issues from as many angles as possible. I try to relate, to understand. I don’t always do it well, but that’s who I am.

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