Someone must have been praying after last week’s blog entry because by the time I arrived home from paying my police fine, my Halloween talk had pretty much resolved itself. Many thanks, whoever you were. I went in character as an Irish villager from two and a half thousand years ago, who had dressed up as a witch in preparation for Samhuin, complete with pitchfork, vegetable lantern etc. Points for historical accuracy probably not many, but it reduced fifty raucous kids to silence as soon as I walked in. And instead of giving them the lecture about how dressing up in a binbag is a one way ticket to the occult, I got the Irish woman to tell her story, majoring on how different life would have been for a people who had to deal with three hundred gods who they didn’t know whether they were good or bad, hence the dressing up to hide from the evil spirits, compared to we, the fortunate, who don’t have to do all that stuff because we have one God and we know we can count on his love. It seemed to work OK, I wasn’t sure how the leaders would react given that I was miles from my original remit, but their first response was to invite me back to do another one for Christmas, so I think that’s probably a thumbs up. Like I say, thanks to whoever was praying!
Sunday school this week and my group had a tedious little study to do on “what do I need to live well”, somewhat enlivened by the lad who wrote “A hundred kilos of chocolate, a new bike, kindness, and to be good to others”, which probably covers most bases, and at least it meant that one kid out of the ten scored for honesty. He’s one of my “naughty boys” so he probably has less to lose by telling the truth. I do struggle with the fact that we teach children (or maybe we teach Christians in general, thinking of some of the Bible studies I’ve sat through) that it’s fine to tell lies as long as we’ve got the right answer. A different kid a few months ago answered the question “what would you do if another child hit you in the playground” with “I would pray for them”… this being the boy who was dragged home by the police for fighting on a street corner. But we all know that “beat them up” won’t be the right answer, so we say “Jesus” and teacher gives us a star. I think there has to be a better way of doing this.