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.