I distinctly remember having Ahab presented to me as a cry-baby when I was a child. Patch the Pirate, if you were ever exposed to that gem of children’s Bible programming, had a song called ‘The Poochie Lip Disease.’ I loved Patch the Pirate. (I’m serious, I actually love it.)
“King Ahab went a walking, in royal garments grand. He spied a lovely vineyard, while gazing o’er the land. He said I’ve got to have it. I always get my way. And when he could not have it, he pouted all the day. The poochie lip will get you if you don’t watch out. (Mwahahahah.) The poochie lip will get you if you start to pout! (OH no!) So take my little tip, please control your lower lip, and chase away the poochie lip disease!”
I have no problem with this use of Ahab. I really don’t. It’s absolutely humiliating to be reduced to a whiny, spoiled brat who refuses to eat when he doesn’t get his way, and he deserves it. I think it’s a fine application for that section of the story, particularly for young children. Especially since I did get a deeper picture of Ahab as I grew. Later lessons absolutely communicated how vile he and his wife truly were. Long before I was reading the Bible on my own I was taught the whole story of the vineyard, including the gruesome murder.
I want to make the point that I don’t take issue with the entirety of my christian education. While this blog might highlight some of the aspects I disagree with, problems I’ve identified, I by no means want to through it all out and start over from scratch.
There are how many posts in this series so far and I’ve read through how much of the Bible? I’m through 1 Kings, and I have only been motivated to write 8 challenges to my education.
Yes, I consider them fairly serious challenges, even if some of them might seem rather nuanced, but I think they are correctable. I don’t even think they’d be all that difficult to address, really. And this is why I really strive to encourage you to read for yourself, to carefully consider what you’re being taught, to ‘deconstruct’ your faith. Lay out all the pieces, clean them off, oil the joints, and put it back together stronger than before.
The story of Ahab was taught to me beautifully. He used to teach me a lesson in gratitude when I was very young. The details were filled in as I grew, and I was taught lessons in faithfulness and obedience. I was taught the courage of Elijah, to stand up to a king and queen willing to kill a man over a piece of land and a bit of convenience. I was taught the power of influence your relationships can have over you through Jezebel’s influence on Ahab, and none of those lessons downplayed his own responsibility or faults. (And she absolutely deserves her evil reputation as much as he deserves his as a temper tantrum throwing whiny brat.)
Admitting that some things are wrong does not require nor insinuate a declaration that everything is wrong.