Applied assumptions get me cross


Our grandson Alfie is with us today and tonight. We have the gift of love amongst us today!

We have heard “they are so loving” so many times from those who know about “Downs”.  We have seen the smile of affection as they spot Alfie approaching.  They love the way he does his party-trick of waving “goobaye” as we leave a supermarket checkout, a bus – anywhere really.  And when he has a grump and refuses to move – well that is just “sweet” and not to be “tutted at” because “he can’t help it”.

We don’t have long conversations with Alfie.  We don’t talk about the bible and whether or not it is historically correct and factually accurate.  We don’t talk about the bible at all.  We don’t pray over him and we don’t take him to church.  Not because Alfie has Downs Syndrome. But because we don’t do that.

I have something others call a faith.  Something some assume is religion.  Some assume I am a Christian.  Some assume I am not.  My blog talks of my love for God Soft Hands Jesus – and “the names” must mean I love “God and Jesus” – and as they are in “the bible” – and “the bible” is a “Christian”’s handbook – that makes me “a Christian”.  Perhaps a “lapsed” or “bad Christian”.  Because “not going to church” regularly tends to mean “bad” or “lapsed”.  And to admit “not praying over a grandson” – particularly one “who is Downs” – well that is definitely in the category of “bad”.

And then there is the question of whether Alfie could ever be saved. He is six now and can say some words.  But to have a conversation about God and Jesus and being saved … ?  No way can that happen anytime soon.  So is he saved or not?  Does his “Downs” mean a special dispensation or not?  Is he an innocent?   Because some of the moments he has lack any “innocence” – as in the “disability theme” we apply to “innocence” (“poor thing!”).  The reality?  Alfie can be a little sod at times!

Our grandson Alfie is with us today and tonight. We have the gift of love amongst us today!

And my God Soft Hands Jesus (who cannot be defined by the bible) is with us as well.  Not because Alfie is with us but because he lives in me.  Not as defined by the bible (but that is closest language I find even comes close).  And I think that my GSHJ lives in each of us (not as defined by the bible).  Because I can swap GSHJ for Love and back again – because for me they are the same.

I do not care whether Alfie can be saved or not.  I do not care whether your reading of the bible says he can or cannot.  When it comes to Alfie we don’t talk much – but we do connect.  We connect at a level of love.  A love that bridges words and the absence of words.  That connects always without understanding or analysis.  That is safe and permanent and ever-present in good times and bad.

Perhaps I should stop using language from the bible to describe GSHJ.  Perhaps I should talk always of Alfie.  Perhaps I should describe the reality of loving a little human being – who is so similar to every other human being – that to know him as “Downs” shows your ignorance rather than his disability.

And if that offends you, then perhaps that shows your disability rather than my ignorance.

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15 thoughts on “Applied assumptions get me cross

  1. Paul, I can SO relate to this. Sometimes words can be extraneous to what really matters most. I have long stopped trying to figure out “everything” and accept God’s love where and how I find it just as it is. I am trusting God with my son instead of trying to fit him into someone else’s category. Loved this post!

    • Lilka, thank you. You have mentioned your son before. Alfie has that look sometimes – the look of a wise and patient sage. One who lives amongst people who don’t often understand what he says – because even when we get the word(s) I often think we don’t get the “meaning”. And when we don’t even get the word he goes back to a word we do get – almost like saying “it’s ok – we can do this”. I have no idea if that is true or how it is for Alfie. But I do know he is is just another little human being – and with a lot more patience than anyone else I know.

  2. Pingback: Applied assumptions get me cross – Re-theologizing

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