But we did give him one more chance. And another. Valerie went into class with him. He screamed. The teacher tried to soothe him with "Mommy's coming back" talk, but this was no separation anxiety issue. This was, for whatever reason, the day my boy decided to exert his will at any or all costs.

I honestly feel bad in some way that we still put him in the class - not only for disrupting it but because we so didn't want to see him suffer the consequences of a choice we WOULD have carried out because HE had chosen it. We just knew he'd be happier going forward with class.

***

So that's where I am right now - in my own Sunday School classroom in the same building as Jordan, at 9:23 a.m., writing this on my laptop (which I only have with me because I take the notes for our class) since I was too bothered to go sit in the service. Nobody else is here yet. But even before I have actually "had church" this Sunday, I have learned two huge lessons:

1) Inconsistency, thy name is humanity. Jordan sure is his father's son. If there were one thing I lack that I would prize above all other things in my life it would be consistency - of actions, thoughts, behavior, character. To not go lax on a health plan the moment people start to notice and give me praise. To not raise my voice or let the wrong word slip a day or two after studying how the man of God should speak. To act like I believe the things I say.

A good friend in college was once asked by a young friend what he thought it was most important for the Christian to achieve. "Consistency," he said. I overheard that... and it has stung like a barb in my brain ever since, as I knew the only thing I was consistent about was being inconsistent. Honestly, it's what I sympathize for my wife most about - that I am not sure she can count on my action or reaction to ever be what she expects, or the same from one situation to another. And oh Lord if that doesn't sting again seeing the same potential in my son. But then there's the flip side: is Jordan really behaving like me, or have I for too long behaved like him? I think that's more likely. And eye-opening. Perfect Christian with spot-on answers one day, sheer rebellion the next. Great in a crisis, raging at petty things. I've been living like an almost-five-year-old for most of my life.

2) That age-old theological question about free will and Heaven and Hell and God's role in sending people to one place or the other? It plays itself out all the time, I see now, in people of all ages. I love my son to no end, but no matter how we tried to "share the good news" with him, he was "hell-bent" to choose utter torment... almost just because he could. At the same time, we loved him so much that we were determined t make sure he knew the consequences of his choices and actions, give him extra chance after extra chance, and in the end help him find the right way.

I didn't relish what I was willing to let happen if my son had willed it. But let it happen I would have. And rightly, so will our Father, if his children - who are by nature completely inconsistent - insist on their own way.

Jesus was marvelously, amazingly consistent. No wonder He is the model, He is the way, He is life, and the only hope we have to avoid a hellish eternity.