Linkletter Was Right

I’m reminded of this old joke:

A pastor asked a kid if he said his prayers every night, and the boy answered that yes, he did.  The Pastor then asked him if  he  said his prayers each morning as well…to which the kid replied, “Nah, I ain’t scared in the daytime.”

The joke popped into my head due to two conversations I had recently.  The first was a result of me and Supermousey piling up in the big bed and watching local channels together.  Some of you may know that here in Nashville, once you get past channel 17, its all Jesus all the time.  Everyone and anyone with a camera and not the least bit of production experience can have thier own “religious” show.  Well, we enjoy watching and mocking them together.  Now, let me be clear, we don’t just mock the religious stuff…we laugh at local commercials, and I remember, years ago, this program based in Nashville that promised to make you a star if you let them make a music video featuring you.  That show was so hysterical that I used to tape it…on a VCR.  Anyway, one particular show had slides and quick soundbites (is that redundant?) of one Pastor…then a very serious voice-over proclaims, “Pastor _____, WORTH HEARING.”  Another we enjoy is an older couple, wearing matching sweaters, that really are sincere but you just know their audience is dying off at an alarming clip.  Finally, we both are amazed and amused at what passes for “Christian Rock.”  Sigh.

So, we started talking a little about Christianity, nothing too deep, when Supermousey proclaims that she is an atheist.  I wasn’t startled by that statement as much as I was that she wasn’t agnostic, and she knew the difference.  Apparently, her and her friends discuss stuff like this at great length.  One of her best friends said this the other day when told that atheism is a religion unto itself:

“Calling atheism a religion is like going barefoot and calling it a different type of shoe.”

Kids indeed say the darndest things.

Back home, I have a friend that I’ve known for over 30 years.  We were tight.  I’m talking daily contact for over a decade.  We’ve shared everything two guys can share together, literally and figuratively.    Twenty years ago, he found the Evangelical lifestyle.  I’d say “he found God”, but I am of the opinion that he already knew God, but thats another post.  So his embrace of all things Christian did, for years, make it difficult for us to talk, as his “conversion” changed his politics to the point I felt I no longer knew him.  Fast forward to 2008, and both of us has grown to the point that we can again discuss things without arguing over who is going to suffer the most when our time here on Earth is done.  He is still devout in his beliefs, and I am still devout in my own.

When I told him about what Supermousey’s friend said, he reacted in a way I didn’t expect, but maybe should have.  He actually feared for her eternal life, now that she has “reached the age of accountability.”  You can imagine how that set with me.  I think he expected me to exercise some parochial veto and change her way of thinking.  Well, off we went…

His suggestion that I was now supposed to limit her contact with said friend was way off base, to say the least.  The entire argument he offered was based on fear…fear of standing before a vengeful God that will sling a 13 yr old into a fiery pit for belief…or lack of it.  He actually said that we don’t know what might happen…she could die at this age in an accident or something, and then both her and I would be accountable for this egregious sin.

I responded that any Higher Power that would punish a young soul so brutally is one I want no part of….and that while I do believe in a Higher Power, I believe it lives within me and I could never do that.  I’m a father, for heaven’s sake.  Could I cast off my child for sassing me?  I had more to say, of course, but we managed to remain civil, which I think is proof that I have grown comfortable with my relationship with “God”, because the hair on the back of my neck bristled at the mere suggestion that I punish my child for talking frankly with me.

So, it seems that Faith and all it encompasses is a big part of my life at the moment.  I believe i will have more to say in some follow up posts…but I find it all so very strange to talk about.

Oh!  I almost forgot to share this morsel:  Nog, our 11 yr old son, was watching the local channels and was struck by all the opportunity to buy this DVD or that book…he started shaking his head, and said, “thats not Christianity, thats business.”

Linkletter was right.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Linkletter Was Right

  1. Jim Baca

    the best red chile is Cervantes. see it here.

    http://www.dagiftbasket.com/product_info.php?cPath=133&products_id=1521

    You might also try the Chile Connection.
    http://www.nmcchile.com/

    Enjoy it.

  2. The Missus

    I don’t interact with people like your friend, except at family reunions. But it looks like Jim has some nice chile sights. yum

  3. democommie

    I interact with people like your friend as rarely as possible and NEVER at family reunions. When people start telling me I’m going to hell I tell them it’s time one of us went home.

    Guns, JESUS and taxes–the three things I know can start a fight in any crowd.

  4. “Calling atheism a religion is like going barefoot and calling it a different type of shoe.”

    Damn. I’m SO stealing that.

  5. twain12

    I found you by reading some other blogs, liked what you had to say 🙂

  6. supermousey

    Religion frustrates me.
    I really would like to separate myself from it as much as possible.
    If I’m going to Hell, then so be it. I really, as you said, want nothing to do with a God that’s going to punish me for not living a “pure” life.

  7. You can find some really great people in quite a few religions, and most wouldn’t explain their God the way Supermousey does.

    Mack, are you exposing your kids only to the infomercials and other drecks of religion and not the kind of people you played basketball with at church?

  8. John, thats a fair question, but you aren’t going to like my answer….

    I expose my kids to the TV. I expose them to the internet. I expose them to a small Tennessee town’s middle school…and each of those things are quite tricky to navigate. She gets exposed to hypocrisy and hate disguised as Christian Faith right in her school. The flip side is that there are some wonderful role models available in her life, some of whom happen to be Christian. To me, though it is tempting to try and exercise some parochial options over her and her brother, I let them draw their own conclusions about what they see and hear. I don’t filter the world for them. Sometimes I want to. I don’t want them to be agnostic because I am. I wouldn’t want them to embrace Christianity just because I was a Christian.

    When they ask me something (which, keeping them asking is more important than trying to guide them toward my own idea of safe or comfortable) I do my best to explain my perspective, and i encourage them to make their case when they disagree.

    This drives my Christian friend crazy.

    But its all I know to do.

  9. “but you aren’t going to like my answer….”

    Does that prejudging come with or without shoes?

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