Tales from the Urban Abbess: Jesus in My Stomach

Here’s a retroactive post from my life as an non-traditional ordained minister. You’ll find more Magpie posts on spirituality every Sunday from here on out.

Jesus in My Stomach
orginally posted November 10, 2003

Yesterday my sister in law emailed me from Africa. She’s a missionary there, in Kenya. She and her husband work incredibly hard to install water systems and build medical facilities and school houses. They are an amazing couple.

Anyway, she emailed us yesterday to tell us “very exciting news.” Now, when I see this in an email from my relatives, I assume this means someone is having another baby. (We are the only ones stopping at two.) However, this time she was super excited because her four year old daughter had accepted Jesus into her heart.

Now I’m happy about this. This is very, very sweet. But at the same time, this makes me wonder, because even though I am an ordained minister, I have not so much as even offered to pray with my children about asking Jesus into their hearts. In fact, it hasn’t even crossed my mind.

After reading the email, I turned to Cate, who was sitting next to me at the computer and said, “Cate? Where does Jesus live?” “In your bah-dee silly!” Cate replied. (Cate is three.) “Oh Yeah?” I answered, nonchalantly, “Where?” “Here.” Cate pointed to her heart, with an uncapped purple marker, tapping her sweater several times.) “That’s great Catie. Glad to hear it.”

On to the next child, age 5, who’s cutting out paper dolls in the living room. “Eden, where does Jesus live?” Eden answered, sounding very bored and put-out, “In heaven….on the earth in the olden days….in my heart.” Again I try the nonchalant parent voice, “Yeah, that’s good to know Eden. You know, Auntie Jewel says Joanne just asked Jesus to live in her heart.” At this point Eden put down her scissors and looked at me with her head cocked to one side and her mouth scrunched up like she does when she thinks a grown up is trying to pull one over on her. “Jesus lives in everybody’s heart. Everybodies in the whole world, Mommy!” “Yeah, Eden. That’s kinda what I think too. (pause) Unless someone wants to kick him out.” Eden shrugged. Then she went on to her paper dolls and I went into the kitchen, confident that my kids were aokay in the ole’ salvation book.

That’s pretty much how I form my theology. Thirty four years of sermons, 12 years of Christian education, 4 years of Christian college, three years in seminary… and it all boils down to 2 conversations with the 5 and under set. Go figure.

Of course, the next day Cate told me Jesus lived in her stomach…with her baby, “Nina”….not sure what that’s supposed to mean…

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