WHY TIME with NannyGranne

How do you know? (Part 2)

Later in the day, Nannygranne and Bella were quietly watching a movie when Bella turned to Nannygranne and asked, “Can I use your phone, and would you show me a concordance to use?”

Pleasantly surprised, Nannygranne took her phone and accessed the app MySword Bible.  After showing Bella how to search for a specific word, she handed her the phone.

“What have you thought of?” Nannygranne asked.

“I want to know if it’s okay to get my ears pierced!”

Nannygranne, knowing Bella was serious, held back a laugh, wanting to encourage her pursuit. But she realized Bella would be learning another lesson about finding answers.  “Have you asked your parents about getting your ears pierced?”

“They said I should wait until I started wearing makeup, and they don’t want me wearing makeup yet.  I’m going to see what God says!”  She was excited to think she could present her folks with scripture in her defense.  Children aren’t the only ones prone to use that tactic.

Bella typed the word “pierced.”  As she read the verses that popped up, she frowned.  Then she searched for “ears pierced.”  Her frown deepened.

“Let’s try another translation,” Nannygranne suggested.  Switching to the New English Translation, she handed the phone back to Bella to try again.

This time she had a hit.

“Would you read it to me?” Nannygranne asked.

“Exodus 21:6: ‘Then his master must bring him to the judges, and he will bring him to the door or the doorposts, and his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.’”

Bella frowned. “What’s an awl?”

“It’s kind of like an ice pick or a sharp tool.”

“Eeeeewwwww!  But God doesn’t talk about girls getting their ears pierced.  Now what?”

“Perhaps God is just going to leave that up to you. Maybe He’s taking care of other things.  He does want you to live well, be wise, and…” Nannygranne paused, waiting for Bella to fill in the blank.

“Not get my ears pierced?” Bella said, crossing her arms with a pout.

“That’s not what I had in mind.  Did you know there is only one command God gives to children in the whole Bible?”

Bella sat up. “There’s only one?!”

“Specifically for children, yes. Here, read it for yourself.”  Nannygranne turned to Colossians 3:20.

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.” Bella resumed her disapproving posture.  “In other words, I can’t get my ears pierced.”

“No, it did not say that.  It said to obey your parents, and they said you could get your ears pierced, just not yet.  Can you live with that for now?”  Nannygranne smiled and leaned over, peering into the girl’s eyes.

Bella grudgingly said, “I guess I can.”  Then: “How long do I have to obey my parents?”

“Well, everyone has to obey someone as long as they live.  A wise and mature person understands that we, as the human family, need to cooperate as God teaches us or our world becomes an even more difficult place to live in.”

“Who do Daddy and Mama have to obey?” Bella countered.

Nannygranne leaned back as if to ready herself for the long list of powers.  “Well, they have to give in to each other a lot of the time. Then they have bosses who have bosses.  We elect people to keep our society in order.  So, we are to obey the police, city council, county sheriff, highway patrol, state congressmen, the Governor…”

Nannygranne sighed, shifted in her seat, then continued her monologue: “… our doctors and judges in court.  Then there is the U.S. Congress and even the President of the United States.”

Nannygranne stopped. Then, as Bella was about to speak, she continued on. “And when they were in college your parents had to obey their teachers and now they have to obey the school board at your school.  We obey God and the leaders at church, our Bible class teachers…”2

“Okay!  Okay!  I see what you mean!  We have to cooperate with leaders!”  Bella laughed at Nannygranne, who was fanning herself and pretending she was catching her breath.

Finally, Nannygranne continued. “That’s why God wants you to obey your parents.  You’re going to need a lot of practice at cooperating with those who lead you in life.  No leader is perfect, and no parent is perfect, and neither you nor I am perfect.  But God points us in the best way to live!” She grinned. “Cooperate and communicate!  This life is a team sport!”

Nannygranne elbowed the girl who was now giggling  “Always do your part, whatever that might be.  Right now, it’s to obey your parents.  Learn all you can about making good decisions.  Ask God for wisdom.  Live the truth when you find it.  That’s what I’ve put in my heart and mind.  And it feels good.  How about you?”

Bella nodded.  Then, looking down at the phone in her hand, she searched for the word “cuss.”

Nannygranne shook her head, smiling, realizing the movie had ended.  Then she thanked God that Bella’s search for truth had not.

Bella frowned and handed the phone back to Nannygranne, saying only, “Help.”

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1 Benefit of cooperating with leaders:  Col 3:22

2 Necessity of working hard at learning God’s ways and will: Matt 22:29; Mk 12:24; Jno. 5:39; 2 Tim 2:15

How Do You Know? (Part 1)

Nannygranne sat with her barely 13-year-old friend, Bella.  They’d been sharing bowls of cereal while watching the birds, squirrels, and a young rabbit scurrying around outside the kitchen window.

Bella suddenly spoke. “My mom and dad are my bosses.  But I am supposed to mind you. How do I know?”  Nannygranne thought she knew what she meant: “How do I know which one to obey?”

Her dad called Bella his “Little Lawyer.”  She had an analytical mind.  She wasn’t disrespectful, but she wanted information. Nannygranne loved that in a child.  Bella would be the kind of woman who would consider any information coming her way, analyze it, test it against itself for truth, and would ferret out the facts.

Nannygranne wondered about the source of her question. She said to Bella, “I never want to ask you to do anything your parents wouldn’t allow.  Have I done that before?”

Bella studied her cereal. Then before she took a bite, she said, “Well, you’ve told me that you don’t like to hear cussing on TV or anywhere, that everybody should worship God, and you don’t want to be around people that drink too much.”

“Oh, I see.  You’re seeing a difference in what I’ve told you about what I think, and what you think your parents or others think.  Is that what’s confusing to you?”

“Yeah.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” Bella said quietly, looking down at her cereal.  Nannygranne could see her childlike desire to please those she loved and admired.  Inconsistency or disparity in expectations left her feeling off-balance.

How do you help a child learn the discretion needed already in her young life?  At 13, she would soon experience many more severe conflicting values among her social circle.

“Bella, we all have to make our own decisions about who we want to be and what we put into our hearts and minds.  And sometimes, the hardest part of making a decision is worrying someone will be angry with us if we don’t choose their ideas.2  You see, nobody will be living your life but you.  And in the end, the only Person you will have to answer to is the One who made you.”1

Nannygranne smiled and added, “But that isn’t to say you don’t listen carefully to your parents first, then your teachers and others, especially those who are showing you how to live well and make the world a better place.  God planned that for kids while they’re learning how to make decisions.”

“But what do I do if they say different things?  I don’t know which things to put into my heart and mind.  How do you know?”

“Well, knowing isn’t always instant.  Some people aren’t that interested in choosing things for their hearts and minds.  Some folks hear something they like, without thinking it through, and decide that’s what they want.”

Nannygranne tilted her head, peering down at Bella’s upturned face.  “I don’t think you’re one of those people.  I think you’re smart enough and wise enough to find the facts first.  What do you think?”

The girl’s eyes searched Nannygranne’s for a hint as to the answer.  “How do I find out?”

“Well, it depends on what you need to know.  For example:  If you needed to decide whether drinking too much was a good thing for your mind and heart, where could you find out?”

“I’d ask somebody?”  She was guessing.

“And who could you ask about what drinking too much does to your body?  And who would know what drunk people sometimes do?”

“Maybe a doctor or a nurse knows about our bodies.  And it’s against the law to drink and drive,” she listed.  “Or I could ask Google.”

“And God has a few things to say about getting drunk, too,” Nannygranne added.  “I think you’ve made a great start!  Find out what doctors and policemen and especially God, say about drinking too much.”5

Nannygranne went to the next issue she’d mentioned.  “And if you wanted to know about worshipping God, who would know?”

“I don’t know because some people don’t go to church, and some people do.”  Bella’s statement had a touch of frustration.

“You are right, Bella, and good people choose both ways.  That makes it hard for a young girl to know which is best for her own life.”  Bella nodded. “So, where would you find the best answer about worship?”

Bella considered her answer, taking the last bite of her cereal and taking a sip of her orange juice. Finally she responded, “From the Bible.”

“Yes.  Since worship is about God, it makes sense to see what He has to say about it.  Do you know how to do that?”  Nannygranne asked.

“No.  I don’t know where to look.”

“Let me show you something. You’ll like this because it’s a tool you can use to find what the Bible says about anything you ever want to know.”  Nannygranne leaned across the table and pushed her study Bible closer to Bella.  Turning to the back of the Bible, she found the concordance.

“A concordance is kind of like a dictionary,” she told Bella, “except when you look up a word, it will list every verse in the Bible that has that word.  Then you can find everything God’s Word says about that subject.”3

“That looks hard,” Bella objected, wrinkling her nose.  “That’s like school work!”

“It’s your brain, your life, and your question.  If you want your answer, I can help you find it.”  Nannygranne knew this was a task that even some adults found daunting.  “Giving up makes us miss discovering the thrill of discovery, even when it comes to the Scriptures.”

“Okay.  I want an answer.”

With that, they dove into the lists.  Words led to other words and other questions.4

After they had worked awhile, Bella pushed her chair back and said, “I’m tired, Nannygranne.  Besides, I know what I want to think in my heart and my mind about worshipping God.  Can we play a game now?” Rising from her chair, she stepped over to Nannygranne’s desk.

Leaning back and rubbing her eyes, Nannygranne called after her. “That’s a good idea.  We’re going to be together quite a bit until school starts again.  How does the Bible with breakfast again sound next time?  Since God said in Proverbs 14:12, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death,’ I’m glad you’re learning to figure out the right way for you.”

“Me, too,” Bella said as she was returning from the desk with a Monopoly game.

Nannygranne said, “I’m going to need another cup of coffee.”

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1 Ephesians 6:5-6

2 Hard Decisions: Matthew 10; 19:29

3 Bible Resource Apps:  BibleGateway.com; MySword.info

4 On Worship:  the grateful worshipped Jesus: Matt 2:11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9; 17; Lk 24:52

Early Christians worshipped in groups on Sundays: Acts 11:26; 13:1; 14:23, 27; 15:22, 41; 18:22; 16:1,5; 20:17;

I Cor 1:2; 11:18; 14:23; 16:19; Col 4:15; James 2:2

Holding on together as a congregation gives us strength:  Hebrews 10:21-39

The church is people, not buildings, and important to God: Eph 5:25-32; I Tim 3:15;

5 Alcohol Abuse: https://youtu.be/V2Aj-iJ6p38; Luke 21:34Rom 13:3; Gal 5:21

Is the Bible All Messed Up? (contd)

Nannygranne said, “Well, Eli, after a couple of hundred years, some people started to wonder if the Bible was just a made-up story.  The only copy of the Old Testament available to them was written 850 years after Jesus was born.  They called it the Masoretic Text.  So they decided the Old Testament was made up by New Testament writers to try to make Jesus look more important.”

Eli leaned forward, anxious to know what she would say next. “What happened?”

“God showed up, Eli.” That’s what Nannygranne had whispered.  “God showed up.”

That was the end of the conversation after Bible class that morning. It was to be continued at tonight’s “social-distancing ice cream social.”

Parked outside the church building was an ice cream truck filled with treats for young and old.  Families sat, spaced apart from other families, but enjoying being together in the evening breeze.  Masks were impossible while eating but were close at hand before and after.

After Eli made his choice at the truck, Nannygranne motioned for him to come to join her in the shade of the building. Eli plopped down on the grass a short distance from his teacher.

Nannygranne smiled and asked “What kind did you get, Eli?”

“I got a blue coconut push-up.” He held up his treat for her examination.

“Looks pretty, too.” Then: “Let’s see.  Where were we in our talk this morning?”

Eli paused from licking his dessert.  “Hmmm, something about God showing up.”

“Right.  We were talking about how people were beginning to say that Christians wrote the Old Testament books after the New Testament.  They’d decided that the stories were made up to make it look like Jesus was a savior.  The oldest copies of the Old Testament they had were hundreds of years newer than the New Testament.

“More and more people had started not wanting God to be in charge.  One man wrote a book that said God didn’t make people, that other creatures gradually turned into humans.1  Another wrote a book that said only the strongest and best humans should be in charge.Still another man wrote that God is dead.3

“Dead?! Why would anyone say God was dead?”

“As I told you, more and more people did not want God to be in charge of their lives.   But something happened in 1946 that forced people to admit that the Old Testament was much older than the New Testament!”

“What happened.”  Eli, almost out of ice cream, was starting to get into the topic.

“A young teenage shepherd boy was leading his goats around, looking for grass in the desert by the Dead Sea in Israel. That area has many, many caves, and one of his goats was lost.  He was throwing rocks into the caves to scare the goat out.  One rock he threw broke something in a cave.  ‘What could THAT be?’ he thought.  He went inside and found some big vases full of scrolls made of leather.  He took some of the leather, thinking it would make a good pair of sandals. He stuck it in his backpack and went on to find his goat.”

“They had backpacks?”

“Well, not like yours, but a bag he hung on his shoulder to carry his lunch and water, medicine for his goats, and stuff like that. Anyway, later a shoemaker came by the boy’s village and when he saw the leather, he saw writing on it.  When he asked a friend, who knew about that kind of writing, the friend said, ‘WOW!  This thing is ancient!  Where did it come from?’

“So the boy took them back and they found thousands and thousands of those scrolls.  It was a vast hidden library!  In fact, I got to go and see that very cave this year, and got to see some of those ancient scrolls when I visited Israel!  It turns out that there were at least twelve caves with scrolls in them and over 50,000 pieces of writing.4

“Were Bibles there, too?”

“Well, they were scrolls and not bound books—but about 800 copies of the Old Testament books, some of them, in 1949, were 2200 years old.   And do you know the best part?”

Eyes widening, Eli said, “What?”

“Those old copies they found said almost exactly what the copies they already had said.  And those copies were made 1250 years apart! 5

“Wow!”

“I know!  So we do NOT have to worry about whether our Bible says what God’s workers wrote in the first place.  The Bibles we have now are translated from those old, old copies and are very accurate.  God knew we would need those copies someday.  And just when we needed them, there they were.  How does that make you feel?”

“Much better!  You said you have something to give my brother?”

“I sure do.”  She reached into her purse and pulled out three copies of a Biblical History chart.  “Here’s one for you, your brother, and even your parents.  I hope they like them as much as I do.”

“Thanks, Nannygranne!”

Taking the papers, Eli turned and ran to his parents.  When he gave them the pages, they looked them over, then waved and smiled gratefully.

Nannygranne took a deep breath of the summer air, donned her mask again, and rose to leave.  She missed hugs but thought gratefully that the Word of God never returns empty.  And God, in His providence, always gives us just what we need at precisely the right time.  He always has, and always will.

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1 Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin, 1859

2 Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler, 1925

3 The Gay Science, Frederick Nietzsche, 1882

4 Dead Sea Scrolls,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls

5 Manuscript Accuracy, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=444

 

 

Is the Bible All Messed Up?

The third-grade students were trickling in.  It was Sunday morning, and most were chatting with each other as Nannygranne welcomed them to class.  All except one student.  Eli’s expression was unusually cloudy.  Nannygranne wondered what was bothering him.

Class progressed pleasantly.  The kids enthusiastically dramatized Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  But Eli remained subdued.  Then the bell rang, and her little brood stormed out the door.

“Eli,” she called.  “Could you help me straighten the chairs and put the supplies away?” Nannygranne hoped he would want to talk about what was on his mind.

“Sure, Nannygranne.”  Eli began gathering the Bibles to return to their shelf. Then he stopped.  He held the last one in his hand, looking at it as if for the first time, then slowly placed it with the others with an air of resignation.

“Is there something wrong with that one?” Nannygranne asked.

“I don’t guess there is,” he answered.

“Eli, I’m missing your smile this morning. Has something sad happened?”

“Well, kind of,” Eli began.  “My brother got in trouble this morning, and he got mad and wouldn’t come to church with us.”

“Oh.  That could make a person feel worried, I know.”  She handed him the eraser and pointed to the chalkboard.

With his hands busy and his back turned, Eli continued almost as if to himself.  “I don’t understand why my brother said it.  He said he didn’t want to come to Bible class anymore because he found out that the Bible is all messed up, and people have changed a lot of it.  My dad yelled at him, and my mom even started to cry.”  He stopped then, waiting, wondering whether he’d said too much.  Then, mournfully, he continued.  “He’s different since he went to college.  I miss how he used to be.”

Eli laid down his eraser but kept his back to Nannygranne.  She could see his lip trembling and knew he didn’t want her to see him cry.  His heart was obviously broken.

Nannygranne stepped over to Eli, placing her hand on his shoulder.  “Eli, I think your brother has heard someone’s opinion.  And I think that someone hasn’t done his homework about the Bible.  I have something I’d like to give your brother before he goes back to school.  It might help him do his own homework on the Bible.  Then he doesn’t just have to take a stranger’s word for it.”

“What if he doesn’t want to do any homework?”  Eli sounded doubtful.

“Well, at least he’ll have my paper in case he decides just to look it over.”

“OK.  But is the Bible really messed up, Nannygranne?”  His eyes, still moist, begged his teacher to reassure him that everyone he knew and loved wasn’t wrong about the Bible.

Turning to the chalkboard, Nannygranne said, “Let me show you where our Bible came from and how I know that it says just what God had His workers write.”

She began to draw a chart, speaking as she wrote. “Fifteen hundred years before Jesus was born, Moses started writing Genesis.  Over the next thousand years, 31 others wrote the words God gave them.  They mostly used the Hebrew Language.  Then about 200 years before Jesus was born, seventy-two scholars translated the old Hebrew into Koine Greek.  That’s the Bible Jesus used and quoted.  They called it the Septuagint.”

“What’s a scholar,” Eli interrupted.

“These scholars were men who had studied the ancient Hebrew language for years and years, and that’s all they did.  They studied.  Then they put the Hebrew words into Greek so ordinary people could read it.”

“Oh.  Wow.”  Eli’s expression told Nannygranne that studying for years and years sounded a little foreign to what he’d ever seen.

She continued, “After Jesus died and rose again, His followers wrote His story (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the story of the first Christians (Acts) and letters to each other (Romans through Jude). When he got old,  John wrote about Jesus, our hero, and about Heaven in the book of Revelation.  All of the New Testament took about 100 years to finish.  They all used the Greek language.

Then the Christians began to make copies to pass around—thousands of copies.  Actually, we have over 25,000 of those copies in universities and museums all over the world.”

“We do?  Really?” Eli, surprised, was becoming excited.

“We do.  Really.” Nannygranne continued.  “Then, about 250 years after that, another scholar took those Hebrew words and Greek words and changed them into Latin because everybody he knew spoke Latin then.”

“So that’s two times people changed the Bible,” Eli said.

“Actually, they didn’t change the meaning at all.  The scholars just changed the language.   They were so careful that if they made one little tiny mistake, they threw away that page and got a whole new page.  In fact, Jerome lived in a cave and worked for 22 years, and that’s all he did.”

At that, Eli sat down, slapped his forehead, and repeated, “Twenty-two years!”

Laughing, Nannygranne told him, “And it was worth it.  That translation was the only Bible most people used for another thousand years!  Then other people got the idea of turning his Latin version into their own languages.”

“So is that when the Bible got messed up?” Eli was determined to find out what happened.

“Well, some people weren’t as careful as Jerome.  But there is more.”  She sat down next to Eli then.  “After a few hundred years, people stopped speaking Latin, and only the Catholic leaders understood it.  But they didn’t want people to read the Bible because they wanted to be the ones to tell them what it said.  I guess they were afraid somebody might disagree with them.”

“Well, that’s no good.  God wants us all to understand the Bible.”

“You are so right, Eli.  In 1525, there was one man who decided it was time for an English Bible.  His name was William Tyndale.  He and his friends were scholars, too, and they’d studied the old languages of Hebrew and Greek, so they did a good job.  But the Catholic leaders were furious that he hadn’t asked their permission.  So they choked him to death and then burned his body.”

“That’s crazy!”  Eli gasped.

“I know.  But would you believe that just 76 years later,  the King of England, King James, hired 47 scholars to make an English Bible, and they used a lot of Tyndale’s work, along with the Hebrew and Greek and even the Latin version Jerome had made over 1000 years before?  It’s called the King James Version.  And that was the favorite version for the next 350 years.”

Nannygranne waited to see if Eli was keeping up.

“OK.  That was a bunch of people.  They might have messed up the Bible.”  Eli was keeping up.

“Well, Eli, after a couple of hundred years, people did start to wonder if the Bible was just a made-up story.  The only copy of the Old Testament they had was written 350 years after Jesus was born.    So they were saying that the Old Testament was made up by the New Testament people just to make Jesus look more important.”

“What happened?”

“God showed up, Eli,” Nannygranne whispered.  “God showed up.”  Then she stood, took him by the hand, and said, “We’d better go on over for worship.  We’re late already.  But I’ll see you tonight at the ice cream social after church.  We can finish our story then.”

Eli took her hand and left with her, stopping to close the classroom door behind them.  “I like ice cream.”

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For a Chart of the History of the English Bible go to https://www.gentles.info/BibleHistory/Index_History.html

What Really Happened to Jesus’ Body Pt 3

Baseball practice was over.  Nannygranne’s new friends gathered around to enjoy a snack of pizza bites and cookies.  The boys’ practice sessions had evolved into snacks and conversations.  The boys appreciated being heard and encouraged to admit their curiosity about Jesus.  And it helped that their questions were taken seriously.  Unafraid,  they’d pulled out all the stops.

“Mrs. NG, these are good!  Thanks for doing this for us,” Nate said. He had been the first to allow an older lady to chime in on an overheard conversation about God’s existence.  Since then, their conversations had become a discussion about the physical resurrection of Jesus.  The boys focused on objections they’d heard that piqued their curiosity.

“OK, guys.  Your thoughts challenged me and I’ve done some checking and thinking.  Would you like to hear what I found out?”

Nate spoke up. “You mean about the aliens taking Jesus out of his grave?  The same ones that came and helped the Egyptians build the pyramids and stuff?” That had been Nate’s idea from last week.

“Yes.  Exactly,” Nannygranne said.  “The first question I had to ask myself was whether an alien abduction idea is more reasonable than the Jesus’ physical resurrection idea.”

“Well, both are pretty hard to believe,” offered Bart.

“And that’s the reason I wanted to sit down and think each one through,” Nannygranne responded.  “I looked for scientifically and historically acceptable evidence for aliens.”  She paused, tilting her head thoughtfully.  “I found articles and even History channel videos that talk about aliens.  But none of them were substantiated by numerous scholars, historians, and scientists. Alien abduction remains a fringe hypothesis without serious support.”1

Bart wasn’t going to go easy on the issue. “But what about Jesus’ resurrection?  What scientists or historians support that?” He was demanding reasons for changing his mind, explanations for going contrary to what his parents had said about religion.

Nannygranne was encouraged by Bart’s curiosity, knowing that if he was interested in facts and truth, he would be open to her explanations.  If convinced, he would be just as ardent about that belief as he was trying to be for his present beliefs.  She considered his skepticism a good thing.

She replied, “Actually, the majority of even agnostics or skeptical historians and scientists accept the ancient accounts about the events surrounding Jesus’ death and what His followers believed.  Even those who do not accept the New Testament as supernatural, accept the writings as historically accurate and unimpeachable.  Scholars, scientists, and philosophers from such institutions as Cambridge and Duke University agree that the recording of events in the New Testament started within six months of Jesus’ death and that those closest to Him were convinced that Jesus was raised from the grave.”

“Why then don’t they believe in the miracles?” Bart was following her thoughts.

“Well, those same academics say that the followers were either hallucinating or were lying.”  Nannygranne let that sink in to see if anyone remembered earlier conversations about that particular viewpoint.2

Dewayne spoke up. “Wait a minute. I remember something about this.  How could five hundred people hallucinate all at once, and other people hallucinate at other places and times?  How could people who were scattered all over be hallucinating for forty days?  That doesn’t make sense.”

Leon got in on the discussion. He ducked his head and said, “And I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve lied a time or two . . .”

The boys laughed and punched his arm. One said, “Yeah, like you told the coach you didn’t eat junk food!”

Leon grinned and continued, “But seriously, I might exaggerate but I can’t imagine dying like those Christian martyrs did—beheaded, crucified, fed to the lions.”  Shaking his head, he muttered, “No way, man.  No way would I die like that for a lie.”

Nannygranne nodded. “And thousands of people did exactly that, Leon.  They died rather than deny what they’d seen with their own eyes.”

Bart looked confused. “Then why don’t those scientists just believe, then.  I don’t get it.”

“Bart, sometimes people don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to admit they could be wrong in the way they live and think.  It’s extremely rare for anyone to be true to what they know to be facts if it involves admitting they might have been wrong before. More than one atheist has stated that even if Christianity was found to be absolutely, unquestionably true, they still didn’t want to be a Christian.  It is too limiting.”

She spoke gently.  “My personal opinion is that if they would be honest enough to investigate Jesus’ history and teachings critically, they might feel very differently.  Others have been honest enough to do that and found themselves surprised:  Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Nazis, Communists.  But it requires an honest and critical investigation.  Some just aren’t up to it.”3

Silence fell over the group.  Nannygranne knew the point she’d made was heavy, but it was important.  Who would be honest in considering God?

“Uh, Ms. NG . . .” Adrian spoke hesitantly, but he didn’t want Nannygranne to forget his comment from the week before. “. . . what about that Greek gods thing?  You know, the myth that said some of the gods rose from the dead and that the story of Jesus was a spin-off of that?”

“Oh, Adrian!  I almost forgot!  Yes!  I checked on that, too.  It turns out that the stories of the Greek gods coming back to life were something different.  They were made into another god or creature or moved to another realm.  Some died again.  None of the stories said they rose from the dead, lived and moved in the same realm as before their death.  Only Jesus did that.  Further, the oldest written documents about the Greek gods we have were written 1000 years after Jesus lived.4  So maybe they copied Him.   I’m glad you reminded me.  It was interesting reading.”

Nannygranne waited to see Adrian’s response.  He simply nodded, his lips pursed, his eyebrows raised in surprise.5

“Well, what do you think, guys?  I’ve certainly got plenty of material for my project.  In fact, thanks to you guys and your input, I’m more and more convinced that what I believe about Jesus’ resurrection is really true.  So, I’m just going to keep learning more and more.  At my age, I try to be sure.”

Leon grinned. “Aw you’re not old, Mrs. NG. You’re just a teenager stuck in a well used birthday suit!”

The boys engulfed him with head slaps, back slaps, head scrubs, and name-calling.  Tapping on the top of his head, someone said, “Hello?  Is anybody in there?”

Nannygranne smiled. “Come on, guys. Leon was trying to be nice.  And he’s got a point.  The tread on my tires is growing thin, but there’s still plenty of compression in my engine.”

The boys cheered and did a round of high fives.

“Guys, seriously, thank you again for your time.  I appreciate getting to do this.”

Adrian spoke up. “You’re all right, Ms. NG.”

Nate smiled and nodded. “Yeah, Ms. NG.  You’re all right.”  He joined his buddies heading for the parking lot.

“God bless you. Go with God,” Nannygranne whispered prayerfully.

She gathered her tote and chair and walked to her car, humming, “I Serve a Risen Savior, He’s everything to me . . .”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 Dr. Layne Craig addresses the question of Jesus’ abduction by aliens:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW97epVeN7Y

2 Regarding scholarly views of the Resurrection, Habbermass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_Db4RwZ_M

Muslim convert to Christianity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKSuGHXUY_0

4 http://homermultitext.blogspot.com/2010/07/homeric-papyri-and-homer-multitext.html#:~:text=The%20Homeric%20papyri%20are%2C%20with,A%20(Marcianus%20Graecus%20454).

5 Jesus’s resurrection like the Greek god myths?:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrCYVk6xrXg