Jesus and the Buttheads

by Laura on September 12, 2012

So with the shift from homeschooling to public school, family devotions have been challenging to fit in, I’ll admit. We tried getting everyone up early to have some “thoughts for the day” before school, but that would mean waking children up at five-something, which seems just sacrilegious in the first place.

We’ve opted, instead, to shoot for intentional time in the evenings around 7, with everyone pajama-ready and tooth-brushed and {hopefully} in better moods than we are finding them to be at 6:30 a.m. {Okay, okay, Matt and I are in better moods then, too.}

And the other evening Matt was waxing eloquent to the kids about courage and doing the right thing. We had just finished reading this story about some kid named Rob who took an arrow for King Henry, and then we had somehow rabbit-trailed into “why didn’t he just push the bad guy instead of getting shot, that was dumb,” and “do you always die when you get an arrow to the chest?” and “do you think he got some kind of reward?”

This is the stuff of family devotions with small children.

And then the discussion got really interesting as it morphed into a re-telling of Jesus’s interactions with the religious Pharisees and how angry he got at them. The conversation went a little like this:


Daughter One: Jesus got mad, too.

Dad: Yes, he did get mad. At the religious people.

Mom: Yeah, the people who were talking big about following God but who really weren’t loving and who were really hurting people.

Dad: And so what did Jesus do when he got angry?

Daughter Two:  He said, “You guys are all buttheads!”

Mom-Shock. Dad-Chuckle. Sibling-“Ohhhhh, she said a bad word”s.


And I could blame it on school or the fact that she’s watching too much American television these days. I could claim that it’s just her firey little personality {she did tell me last year that “Jesus was gonna beat me up” if I didn’t do what she wanted} or I could admit that we have obviously failed at painting for her an accurate picture of the way Jesus interacted with people.

And all of these are probably partially true.

But the thing I love about kids, especially when I take the time to focus on spirituality with them, is that there is this simplistic honesty and clarity that I learn from the ways they see the world. They haven’t memorized the “right” Sunday School answers yet,  and the knowledge they have of Jesus and his ways are framed in Children’s Bible illustrations and VeggieTales, the worship music I blast when I’m in a bad mood and the ways I ask for forgiveness for it later.  And family devotions are shorter and more interruption-filled than I intend. There is usually a drink spilled, and at least one parental-thought of, “They are not getting any of this.” And, yes, there are the typical sibling squabbles about who gets to sit in the comfortable chair.

But it’s rich, too. And memorable. And maybe better than any church we could attend.

Because what other religious service would put “Jesus” and “buttheads” in the same sentence, would place little kids with great wisdom on the same couch?


Do you/ How do you do family devotions? Have your kids said anything profound about faith or life lately?

  • Terissa Miller

    OH my goodness, that is hilarious!! Yup, we’ve had some grand moments with family devotions over the years. Usually with more irreverent, honest truth out of a child’s mouth…than we hear all month from the ‘pulpit.’

    • Laura Parker

      “Irreverant, honest” yup– it’s glorious, isn’t it?

  • Caressa

    I can relate and it’s refreshing to hear we aren’t the only ones. LOL! Thank you for your candidness. Reading as an outsider looking in, this way seems so much more right that making sure our kids have all the Sunday school answers.. Thank you for that reminder!

    • Laura Parker


      You are definitely not the only ones. More than half the time we make the effort, my husband and I leave frustrated that they aren’t “getting” what we had planned from the time . . . but I reckon that’s a lie in and of itself.

      And I agree, Sunday school answers sometimes just really suck.

      Keep doing “church” with your kids . . .

  • Richelle Wright

    We’ve had some doozies over the years – and several of them I’ve recorded on our blog under the individual child’s names… two of my all time favorites:

    “Jesus gave me this thorn [in a little finger] to hold my paper cut together.”

    “Pick me up, Mama!” (repeated at least 72 times while I was busy caring for recently arrived newborn – several newborns ago].
    “Honey, I can’t pick you up right now.”
    “But I need you to pick me up right now.”
    “What are you going to do some time if you need to be picked up and Mama isn’t here, or you’ve gotten too big for me to pick up?”
    “Then God will pick me up.”

    Then, most recently our oldest and I have been talking about this quote by MacArthur “We should not be entertained by the sins for which Christ died.” He surprised me when he asked if I thought chess shouldn’t be played then b/c it encouraged deceptiveness and deliberate sacrificing of others… certainly has me thinking, that boy of mine.

    • Laura Parker

      So fun and precious. Aren’t you glad you’ve written these down ? I just hate that here is so much I naturally forget over the years– one more reason I really am grateful for blogging . :)

  • Frank Hudson

    Hi – I am Faye Butler NTM and am really pleased with your blog! Thanks for being such a blessings!

    Josh and Faye Butler NTM

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