Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can I get an Amen?

Religion is a tricky thing, at best.  And, given the circumstances that we find our world in today it is a highly sensitive topic.  So, allow me to dive right in.

I would consider myself a religious person in that I believe in God, I'm raising my children as Christians, as a family we pray, and I attend church  on a not-so-regular basis.  I am what our pastor refers to as a "C & E" member, or those who typically attend only on Christmas and Easter.  But that still counts, doesn't it?

As a child I was never really quite certain of why it was that I had to go to Sunday school other than because my mother said so.  The retention factor of what I learned was slim to none, mainly because I developed the skills of a professional daydreamer at a very early age.  My mind quickly adjourned from all biblical lessons and became busy deciding how to decorate my doll house, or how to rearrange my closet or planning my wedding in which the groom was Donny Osmond.  You know, important stuff. 

And, as for church service, as a child it seemed excruciatingly long and dull.  If it hadn't been for my good friend, Julie, it would have been unbearable.  We had developed a sign system in which we would talk to each other from across the sanctuary about whose house we would be playing at once we were released from our present doom.  Once we were deemed "old enough" by our parents we were allowed to sit together in the balcony.  That was, until, our pastor was kind enough to inform our parents that we had conveniently disappeared right as the sermon was starting and then reappeared as soon as it was over.  I think we got away with this for about 3 times before the jig was up.  I'm sure our parents were significantly proud of us.

I have not done a very good job of seeing to it that my children have a better appreciation of the Bible than I did.  As I already said, we do pray together every day.  When my now 9 year old was about 3 years old he was in the process of learning how to say his prayers.  There really is nothing quite as cute as watching a little nugget babytalk his way through his prayers.  But, what made his presentation even more cute was when he finished, instead of saying "Amen" he would say, "oh man!" and then clap gleefully.  There was no way I was going to correct him.  It was far too adorable!

My little guy is going to Pre-K at a Lutheran school.  He has "Jesus time" every afternoon which I think is really great.  He's been teaching me a thing or two.  One day after I picked him up from school he questioned me from the back seat, "Mom, did you know that Jesus died on the cross for us?"

"Yes, I did know that sweetie", surprisingly enough.  That's what Christmas is all about, right?  No, wait, that's Easter.  I'm KIDDING!  But, you almost fell for it, didn't you?  I'm not that pathetic. 

I hate to admit it, but over the past few years I found myself questioning the big guy quite a bit.  I can actually feel some of you squirming right now, but, hear me out.  Most anyone who's found themselves in a position of having their plate a little too full, even overflowing, might wonder, Why The Face?  I think it's human nature.  Don't get me wrong, I have never questioned his existence, but I have wondered if maybe he was on an extended vacation, not that I'd blame him.  I couldn't help but ponder if I had been such a horrible person and this was simply my lot.  I know he doesn't punish, but it seemed like a relevant question.  Or, maybe this is just his way of getting people to better themselves.  I'm certainly no philosopher, but it kind of makes sense.  And, it helps to think of it this way, otherwise I'd still be wallowing in my own self misery thinking "well, I suck, so why bother?"

My boys and I visited some very good friends this past spring break.  I think I was starting to freak my friend out a bit because she overheard me saying prayers at dinner with the kids one night.  The next day we were stuck in traffic and she was having a road rage episode while I was busy reading the literature on the bumper of the car in front of us.  In the midst of her rant I said, "Kelly, you need Jesus."  Dead silence ensued.  I looked at her and she was in a full blown trance, mouth agape, staring at me.  "The bumper sticker, in front of us.  It says 'you need Jesus'.  See?" 

I've definitely got some work to do.  I think maybe I should add to my list "Start going to church regularly".  It's not that I don't want to go, but, quite honestly, I work typically 2 Sundays a month and I really just want to spend those other 2 sleeping in and relaxing with my boys. 

I suppose it's on my mind now because we are nearing my next visit to church.  It's a long break between the "E" and the "C" sessions.  I'm not a Catholic, but I'll certainly feel better after my "C" attendance.  I've a few, offenses,  shall we say, that could use a good forgiving.  And, besides all that, I love the music.

So, for now, I'll just say that, yes, I am a faithful person.  I am religious.  I think I could, however, use a refresher course on the good book.  That is, if I can tell my brain to shut up for a while.

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