I returned home after a leisurely afternoon at the pub to find my parents midway through a dinner party with some Christian missionaries who were visiting their church. My mother was wrapping up a rather touching story about a woman who went camping alone in the jungle and woke during the night to find her tent surrounded by hungry lions.
“So the woman prayed,” Mum said quietly, “She prayed for hours and hours. And then she felt calm and went back to sleep. When she woke again in the morning, the lions were all gone, and there was an elephant sitting outside her tent, watching over her.”
As my mother’s guests smiled with glistening eyes and shook their heads in wonder at the mysterious ways of the Lord, I leaned over the table and grabbed a baked potato from the serving dish.
“Maybe the elephant was just passing through?” I suggested. “Or maybe this woman is going to murder all her children in five years? Maybe God sent the lions to get rid of her before she smothered her babies, except then the elephant came along and mucked up the plan? I don’t really think you can draw any definitive conclusions here. Correlation does not imply causation. I learned that in statistics. At uni. When I went to uni.”
“You failed uni,” Mum reminded everybody.
“No, sweetheart, uni failed you,” Dad reassured me.
“I’m drunk,” I announced and went back out.