Monday, 9 January 2012

Quick opinion poll.

You're telling the story of Moses and the Burning Bush.

You ask the question, "I wonder what it feels like when God talks to you."

Two children say "God's never talked to me."

What do you do?

I'm pretty happy with my response (I'll tell you later, but I want to hear your ideas first!) and the conversation that resulted, but I wanted to hear what other people have to say as well.

Incidentally, I'm not sure very many of us, even the most faithful among us, are sure that God's ever talked to them.  So I'm not saying these kids are lacking in faith, or in spiritual experiences, or that they're in danger of leaving the church or anything.  It's just a very interesting topic, and a very fraught one, and I wanted to hear what people thought!


  1. "A lot of people have never felt that God has talked to them. Some people have felt that God was talking to them. I wonder how it would feel to have God talk to you?"

    Or I might just phrase it in the conditional to start with -- "I wonder how it would feel if God talked to you?" -- to lessen the likelihood of red herrings.

  2. Oooo - a good question! I think my honest answer is that I probably would have nodded, accepting the truth of their experience, and waited to see if anyone else answered. Then I hope I might have gone on with a follow-up question like, "I wonder what it feels like to be very close to God on holy ground" or other similar questions that might get away from the very verbal nature of the first question.

    It might be tempting to come up with a follow-up question like, "I wonder if sometimes God talks to us but we don't hear him," that wouldn't be a "true" question, because I'd have a "right answer" in mind. But maybe something like, "I wonder how many different ways God can talk to us" or "I wonder if you've ever gotten a message from God without having him talk to you."

    Having a little time to think about it, though, I suppose a very "Godly Play" response would be a sympathetic, "Mm-hm. I wonder how THAT feels." which might encourage a discussion of emotions, of desires for closeness with God, and shared experiences from other children in the circle as well.

    I'm interested to see what others say, and to read about how you handled it! :)

  3. Great answers!

    I said something along the lines of, "I'm not sure if God talks out loud, but maybe sometimes he talks to us in our hearts. Maybe it feels like just being peaceful, or maybe it feels like something else. I wonder what else it could feel like."

    A child then suggested that maybe your conscience was like God talking to you.

    I realised as soon as the conversation had moved on that I SHOULD have said, "a lot of people have felt like God never talks to them, but he can be with you in lots of different ways. I wonder what other ways God has of being in our lives."

    Both kids are fairly regular, though, and we're entering the bit of the Old Testament where God is shouting out names left, right and centre, from Moses to Samuel to Jonah, so I'll have plenty of opportunities to steer the conversation that way again.