Ian asked, “Where did the first weed come from?”

And so began a talk that required the entire history of the Universe (abridged) to explain. The most natural question: “but where did that come from?” And we took it back to a speck of absolutely everything and an explosion you can still hear today. “But where did the speck come from?”

Well, Ian, no one knows, but there are people who try to answer those questions. And so we talked about scientists and radio telescopes and life and how we’re children of stars and cousins of plants and animals. We talked about what nobody knows yet, but how we ask questions and try to find out.

We didn’t talk about gods or goddesses, just what we’ve learned from looking at the world around us. But still we talked about how we’re all connected; we’re all the same stuff. And if someday he calls that stuff we’re all part of a different name than I do, that’s ok. You look for those teachable moments to teach the deep truths underneath the names.

It seems backwards, but I think it’s true. We should teach the deep truth first, and the metaphor later. We think we should simplify things; teach the metaphor first. But then we get confused and think the metaphor is truth and forget how we should live.