I was reading an issue of Marvel’s 1602 series yesterday over a bacon sandwich because that’s how I roll and bizarrely the story made me think of my kids. That’s right, Elizabethan England, with it’s own versions of some top Marvel superheroes made me think of the Boy (7), Fifi (6) and Ned (3). Admittedly on our bookshelf is the school’s 40th anniversary year book with a line from each nursery child about what they wanted to be when they grow up and nestled in amongst all the lawyers, doctors, vets, professional footballers, police and fire men, is the boy’s intention to be Spider-Man when he grows up (just along from the two girls that said they wanted to be married to him when they were older) but even so it’s quite a stretch, so bear with me and my tortured logical progression…
I’ve had to text the swimming teacher to say we won’t be at lessons on Sunday morning because we’re off to a Christening. Our nephews in fact, and we’re going to be God parents- hurrah! This hasn’t gone down terribly well with the kids though because the children have a strange relationship with the Church of England that I’ve never quite managed to fathom.
Wifey always used to take the kids along to the Tots and Teddies play morning that our local Church ran before they were old enough for playgroup and then nursery and we’ve managed to do the typical Easter and Christmas services (if the Sunday service was half an hour later at 10:30am I’d take them along to that but good swimming lessons are really difficult to find).. We both make sure the kids go through the nativity story at Christmas and the Easter story at Easter, so they know both festivals aren’t just about rampant commercialism but for some reason they don’t quite get it. It’s not for want of trying on our part, that’s for sure. I think that children should be allowed to make their own religious decisions when they’re old enough to do so; I myself wasn’t baptised until I was 20, but I do think that there is merit in giving them an upbringing that focuses on the moral teaching that Christianity has to offer.
This not quite getting it probably isn’t helped by wifey thinking the Resurrection is a bit creepy and zombie like. The boy, on the other hand seems to have a problem differentiating Jesus from Superman or more recently certain interpretations of the Marvel version of Thor (specifically when he has a big beard). Fifi on the other hand has a blanket approach of looking horrified when you mention Church or Christianity and shrieking, “But that’s not our religion!!!” as though I’m trying to invest her into a cult of devil worshippers or something.
It’s all very strange.
So coming back to the comic and bacon sandwich again then,
it was on white bread with brown sauce, which is how I like my sandwiches, it struck a cord that an ancient Templar monk had the dichotomy of having a weapon of considerable power at his disposal in an artefact that could make it’s wielder the living embodiment of the Norse God Thor, whilst at the same time effectively disproving the religion he’d devoted his life to. There’s nothing like a bit of philosophy in a comic book, even if tangentially.
Our kids are young enough to not properly be able to distinguish fantasy from reality. Many might say that Marvel’s Thor is just as fictitious as Jesus and I’m fine with people saying that because it’s a personal choice at the end of the day. I don’t need links to the Invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster to prove or disprove anything. But for many Christianity is real and a life choice they have made. I just wonder when the kids will be old enough to discern the difference…