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Could use some writerly help, please.

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To be clear, my characters are stuffed animals who were all thrown away at the same time, and now have to fend for themselves. Most are as old as their people, so a vast majority are children.


One of my characters is 4 years old, but has never heard of Jesus until the last scene. 


And the last scene others were referencing Jesus as the reason we bear one another's burdens. The characters do help each other constantly, but they are in dire straights too, so this child thought Jesus would physically show up and fix everything. The question he needs an answer to is "Where is Jesus?"


"Little problem." I'm Reformed. (AKA Calvinist.) One of our traits is the ability to take one small concept about God and write a 500 page book on it. So, can anyone help me -- creatively -- to come up with a much shorter version on how to teach a 4 year old who Jesus is?


Can you write a short scene for fiction on an adult teaching a 4 year old where Jesus is? (Maybe if I see it, I can come up with a reasonable alternative to replace the massive jam I've gotten myself into. :$)

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7 hours ago, Spaulding said:

So, can anyone help me -- creatively -- to come up with a much shorter version on how to teach a 4 year old who Jesus is?

When Rich Mullins was asked this question he sang "Jesus Loves Me."

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12 hours ago, Johne said:

When Rich Mullins was asked this question he sang "Jesus Loves Me."

I name each chapter after a song. And that is the name of this chapter. xD

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On 8/17/2019 at 12:20 PM, Spaulding said:

The question he needs an answer to is "Where is Jesus?"

Wow. What a poignant scene.


While I can't create a full scene right now (no time, I'm back to teacher work again lol!!), perhaps it could be something along the lines of "Jesus is in our hearts" (I'm assuming this is a cast of Christian characters), and point out how they are helping one another and being provided for in that way. Perhaps one or two provisions have unexpectedly come along to help the cast as well, and the adult could point out that Jesus helped them by sending those. 

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I've been tinkering with this scene since I asked. I'm six paragraphs of dialog, (short dialog), later, and headed that way now. At the rate I'm going, I should be done by September. (and it's no more than 1000 words. lol)


But, yup. Thanks, because that's where I was taking it. He has asked why while others bring help, so lots of signs Jesus is there, even if not seeable.

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Jesus in in Paradise, sitting at the right side of God The Father. We don't know much about Paradise because God wants to keep it as a surprise for us, but we know that it is a place where everybody is happy and peaceful.

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Jesus is at the right hand of God but in heaven. “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19 NKJV

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11 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Hey, could we see it when September comes?  I'm really interested.

This dialog is happening in the middle of a great feast. Picture it something like taking a bus load of friends to Macy's Thanksgiving parade, and then one of your friends asks. I have about ten named characters together, so not sure how much anyone will get on who is whom, but will try.

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29 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

This dialog is happening in the middle of a great feast.


(fwiw, the spelling here is 'dialogue' - the other 'dialog' is the name of a screen element, a dialog box.) ;)

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Guest Mary Kaithe
On 8/17/2019 at 2:20 PM, Spaulding said:

Can you write a short scene for fiction on an adult teaching a 4 year old where Jesus is? (Maybe if I see it, I can come up with a reasonable alternative to replace the massive jam I've gotten myself into. :$)

I am reading every thing on all sites, because I cant find the common thread or notices when I get them. Don't know what I am doing wrong.


Anyway, this is one of the ways I've witnessed to small children


I am usually sitting on the floor. I want to be near their eye level.  I spread some toys in front of me.  I say the following..


You want to play an image game today?  they usually say yes.  I point to myself an tell them to put a picture in their head that I am Jesus.  I ask them to tell me what I look like in their imagination. This opens the door to really describe the Human Man - Jesus.


Then I bring in the subject of God, the father.  I will ask for their feedback about what their father's might look like. It's amazing how they describe their parents. I bring the conversation around to the relationship between God the Father and Jesus the son.  Most children can really relate to the ongoing story. 


Then I tell the story like this. 

One day Jesus was sitting on the floor with a bunch of broken toys.  God the father came in the room and said to Jesus, These are all broken toys, son.  Why don't you throw them away and I'll get you some new ones that are perfect.


Jesus answers his father by saying, but father, I have been planning a way how to fix them so you can put them on the special bookcase in your den. When I am done working on them, fixing what is broken with my own hands, Won't you be proud to show them off in your den?  I want to fix them. They are broken, but I love them so much because you gave them to me.


When I am sure they understand the  allegorical image I'm giving them, I go into the actual story about sin, how we all sometimes get angry and do something we shouldn't or something wrong.  We discuss what sin "Looks like" and I bring the children or child back to the original image of Jesus playing with His broken toys and has a plan to make them perfect.  


The imaging is crucial for kids. They have to relate it to something real in their lives and actually make a sort of movie in their heads. This method is the way I teach Children, and sometimes adults. What they can image, they can understand and remember. The discussion and the questions you ask them as they are building the salvation story really helps them to understand some difficult  theology.  I love presenting the Gospel this way.



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On 8/23/2019 at 10:52 AM, Johne said:


(fwiw, the spelling here is 'dialogue' - the other 'dialog' is the name of a screen element, a dialog box.) ;)

Ohhhh! Thank you so much! I've never been able to figure out the difference between the two words, and I've researched.


Another work-around for my grammarly-challenged side. 


"Always go for the longer word, unless talking about boxes, i.e. dialog boxes."


Yay! You just made me a tiny bit smarter! Thank you.

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I wish I could help you for the how-to-work-this-site side, but I haven't figured it out much myself yet.


As for broken toys? Considering my story is about toys, (stuffed animals), I love the analogy. Thank you!

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I promised to post when I pulled it off. It's 2000 words, but half is setting and characterization, so hopefully I got the purpose in it.


My apologizes. As mentioned before it's happening in a crowd. They're having a feast after a video surfaced online showing a caravan of stuffed animals, (stuffies), walking through the streets of Philly, so some of their human families came to visit and feed them. So, this is a scene with about 10,000 stuffies are being fed a meal prepared by humans.


And the last thing Phil asked in the last chapter was "Where is Jesus?"


Chapter 4

Jesus Loves Me


"Dinner is served." Charlie placed a plastic bowl on the table and ladled large globs of chunky-red rice in it. "Do you like the crates?"


A human cub scout set plates, utensils, and Dixie cups, blocking Spaulding's view. When he backed up, Spaulding read Charlie's apron. "La cocina de Charlie!"


He understood "Charlie." Since he still didn't understand why Phil thought Jesus would be here or why everyone else seemed confused too, somehow the apron was comforting. Or maybe it was Charlie. The concoction smelled warm and spicy. He smiled at Charlie as another cub scout brought a plate of hotdogs and a soup bowl of stew to the table. "Did you bring all these crates?"


Charlie patted that cub scout's shoulder. "Team effort. Meet my son, Christian."


Christian saluted and grabbed Ryan.


Ryan settled contentedly in the boy's arm.


"I 'fessed up to my family, after I dropped off the car load of wounded. And rats." He held his hand next to his mouth and stage-whispered. "My brother thinks I'm a loon now." He then spoke in a normal voice. "But my wife believed me, once Christian believed me." He pulled his son back to him. "Christian was the one who got his den to contact the right authorities for the Navy Yard. Don't know how he did it, but next thing I knew, we were loading up these crates into the back of a U-Haul."


"Community project." Christian shrugged.


"What?" his father asked.


Christian chuckled. "All we had to do was call politicians and tell them the Cub Scouts need old crates for a community project. If it costs nothing, they'll go for it." He squeezed Ryan. "We just never told whose community needed help."


"Now you have portable tables and tiny houses to sleep in, when the weather is bad." Charlie beamed.


A webelo added paper napkins and a large leafy salad to the table. In his shirt pocket, Mousie waved at Spaulding and his friends. Then he squirmed until the boy looked down. He pointed to the dollhouse group. The webelo rushed behind Charlie to unload Mousie there. From his pants pocket, he pulled out his tightly tied, yellow kerchief and from his other shirt pocket a handful of sharpened twigs dumping them next to Mousie.


Mousie worked at untying the kerchief, as the boy rushed back to scoop a spoonful of everything onto a plate.


"A big scoop of arroz con habichuelas, if you please," Charlie said. "I made it extra special for the occasion."


The webelo searched Christian's eyes.


Christian answered. "Rice and beans."


He added an extra scoop and rushed it over to the dollhouse's table, before running back to the prep area with Christian and Ryan.


The kerchief had a pile of bright shiny coins that Mousie passed along for plates. The FDR Park Cub Scout Stuffies had created quite a few pointed objects for small stuffies to use. These primitive fork-knives were passed along too. Mousie cut beans and chunks of beef to dollhouse-sized portions, and used quarters and half-dollars for platters. Once the group understood what he was doing, others joined him, just as Ryan, Christian, and the webelo brought over packets of catchup, mustard, and relish, some fresh bread, and a bottle of soda.


But beef? Real beef? Spaulding studied Axlerod, but the dog was staring down at his bowl of…?


"What is that, Ax?"


"Dinty Moore Stew. Mom brought a couple of cases." He grinned.


Christmas and Pez drooled. Lady's tail wagged. Dee's rump wagged. Axlerod nodded and Dee dragged an empty bowl to Lady.


"Why aren't you eating it?"


"It's not polite to eat before others." Axlerod smiled at Kay. "Besides, Phil asked a question that needs a good answer."


Phil's shoulders relaxed.


While cutting a morsel of beef like it was a Sunday roast, Mousie asked, "What was the question, Phil?"


Phil inhaled all the air he could into his fiber, and then shouted, "Where is Jesus?"


The entire crowd silenced and looked his way. Socko slinked away with his buddies following him. Then half the crowd went back to what they were doing. The rest watched.


Spaulding froze. He had no idea where Jesus was either, but then again, he wasn't expecting him.


Axlerod said, "First things first. Do you know who he is?"


Phil blew fur off his eye. "If I knew who he is, wouldn't I find him?"


Valentine and Lucy gawked.


Babar offered a plate to Alice, who started filling it with salad.


"That's what I thought," Axlerod said. "How do we know what no one has ever taught us, right?"


Phil nodded hard.


Alice and Babar nodded with him. Alice waved the plate in front of Valentine, and pointed at the arroz con…. The rice and beans. Valentine blushed and nodded. Teddy held out his paw, so Alice gave him the plate. Teddy scooped the dish onto Valentine's plate, until she signaled.


Spaulding joined in with serving the rest of the table, but all ears were set to listen to this conversation.


Axlerod nodded at the servers, and then at Phil. "Jesus is God."


Phil gasped. "God has a name?"


Spaulding sniffled, but caught himself.


Axlerod and Phil watched him.


"Sorry." He wanted to scratch his neck, but scooped some stew for Lady's bowl. "All I know about Jesus is he is God. So, I'm learning too." He made sure Dee had a big chunk of beef in her bowl, too.


Dee pointed to Charlie's bowl, so he added some to both their bowls.


Phil pushed a plate to Spaulding, before turning back to Axlerod.


Axlerod cocked his head. "God has many names, but Jesus is the name chosen when he came to earth to save us."


Phil tiptoed to look across the field. "Okay. So where is he?"


Spaulding and Teddy gazed too.


"Look up." Axlerod nodded at the trees.


The bare branches had filled out lushly in the five weeks since Phil had brought Teddy and Spaulding here that first day.


"Look down."


Foot traffic had crushed the goldenrod, pickerel-weed, and swamp buttercup to a matted carpet.


"Look all around."


The last of the food was being placed on platters, while many of the people served stuffies. Even the stuffies near the hospital tents were sitting around crate-tables eating together. The community had doubled in size, and yet this was the first time there was plenty to eat. No one was going to sleep hungry tonight.


Phil blew the fur off his eye. "I still don't see Him."


Spaulding and Teddy nodded.


Axlerod and Kay chuckled. Pez and Christmas cackled, until Axlerod shook his back. "Not that kind of funny, Buddies." He grinned at Phil. "Who made this spot for us?"


Phil looked down at Kay's lap under him. Then he studied Kay.


Axlerod laughed. "No, not the exact spot you're on. All of it."


Spaulding asked, "God?"


Axlerod nodded, "Yeah, but now that we know God is Jesus, we can call him Jesus, right?"


A breeze rustled the leaves on the trees leaving a wisp of charcoal in its wake. It reminded Spaulding of Babu's barbecues with Mom and Babi. Home. He nodded.


Axlerod asked, "Who brought that breeze?"


Spaulding shrugged. "God?"


"Jesus," Phil shouted.


Spaulding sheepishly nodded.


"Who brought us all together?"


The ragdoll at the dollhouse table shouted, "Je-sus."


"Jesus!" When Mousie shouted it, the bean on his fork-knife shot onto Spaulding's muzzle.


Spaulding licked it off. He thought it would taste like jollof, but it tasted like a garden. Babi taught that gardens were God's way of feeding people. He grinned at Charlie. "Jesus!"


Charlie raised his ladle. "Halleluiah!" He scooped another ladle to add to the depleting bowl. Then he pointed the ladle at Axlerod. "Preach it, brother!"


Axlerod nodded. "And who feeds us when we're hungry?"


Spaulding glanced at Charlie's pot, while everyone at the table and the dollhouse table shouted, "Jesus!"


"Amen!" Axlerod looked at Phil. "So is Jesus here?"


Phil opened his mouth. Then closed it. He studied everyone around the table, then looked up at the trees, and turned to look across the field. "Yeah, but He's hiding really good."


Valentine pulled lettuce out of her mouth. "He's everywhere." Then she pushed it back in.


"Omnipotent?" Ding asked.


"Close," Kay said. "Omnipotent means he's all powerful, which he is, but I think you mean omnipresent." She nodded to Valentine. "Which means everywhere."


Dee nudged her brother. "Yeah. TV taught us he's a lot of omnis, but we forget what word means which."


When Spaulding picked up Phil's plate, Phil pointed to the hotdogs. Spaulding placed a hotdog on a piece of bread, and showed one packet each of catchup, mustard, and relish. Phil nodded. While Spaulding tore open the packets, Charlie ladled juicy red beans, while avoiding the rice, onto Phil's hotdog.


Phil turned to Axlerod. "So if Jesus does everything for us, why are we burdening?"


Axlerod searched Spaulding for an answer, but Spaulding didn't understand the question.


Lady roared with laughter.


Axlerod and Kay stared at her.


"Burdens?" Lady waited for their reaction. "This started with sharing each other's burdens, like Jesus asked us to."


Phil nodded hard.


Ax and his mom kept staring.


Lady placed her paws in Phil's. "Why did you help those stuffies when they returned from building Socko's community?"


Phil blushed and stared at the hotdog. He sighed. "It shouldn't matter where you work all day. It shouldn't matter where you get your food, as long as you get it fairly." He gazed at her. "I wanted them to know this is still home."


She licked him.


He rolled his eyes and smiled. Then he glanced at Spaulding, and then Axlerod.


"That's what I love about you." Lady folded him into her arms. "That is your burden." She pulled him back to stare into his eyes. "That's what Jesus gave you for a burden."


Phil slapped his paws to his sides. "Then why do I keep thinking burdens are heavy?"


Lady swallowed hard. "It is heavy. Heavy enough that you joined them." She pointed to Valentine. "Heavy enough that Val and Dook took the skateboard back with you." Her voice raised to a squeal. "Heavy enough that we rushed to bring you three home." Tears flowed. "Heavy enough to loose Dookie, but come home with thousands more, who now have this home."


Dee pulled out a napkin and handed it to her.


While she blew her nose, Kay grabbed the pile and past them around, before wiping her tears.


Spaulding shook his head at the offer, but wiped his tear.


Lady chuckled. "I think my daughter and Kay's burden is to wipe away tears."


They chuckled and wiped their faces.


"There's another word for burden." Lady crumbled up her napkin. "Love. That's what Jesus gives us, and strengthens us to give to others." She brought Phil in for a hug. "We're not strong enough so he gives us each other to carry the burden. And then he carries most of our burden for us."


Phil hugged her, while he stared far away.


The ragdoll belted out, "Jesus loves me. This I know."


The rest of the dollhouse stuffies joined in. "For the Bible tells me so."


Spaulding's mom sang this in Sunday School when they were young, so he joined Christian, Ryan, and a good portion of the entire field of stuffies. "Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong."


Charlie, Alice, Axlerod, and Babar lent their deep voices to the chorus. "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so."


Kay laughed. "If that wasn't the perfect grace before dinner, I don't know what is."


Axlerod turned to Phil. "Is your question answered?"


Phil eyeballed the hotdog. "Close enough." He jumped off Kay's lap and bit into the hotdog. "Mmmm, a guy could get used to this."


"Don't talk with your mouth full," Kay scolded. Some of Charlie's rice and beans fell out of her mouth.


Phil pointed, laughed at her, took another bite, and with relish falling out his mouth, asked, "By the way, what's a Bible? And what is grace?"

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