We regret to inform you that your parents are Godless Heathens

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Last school Year, my daughter was introduced to the "Veggie-Tales", by a very sweet classmate who is the daughter of a lesbian couple.

Now, my child has had very, very little exposure to religion. Yeah, she gets a very commercial "Baby Jesus" story at Christmas, but I have never taken her to church, or prayed before meals, or asked God to send me anything "In his mercy".

I was raised Catholic - at least until my mother divorced my father and that whole scene fell by the wayside. Since I didn't want to take responsibility for getting myself to Catechism as a 4th grader, I left religion behind. Yeah, I can do the motions and say the prayers when confronted by either a Catholic OR Episcopalian service - but these are purely motions for me. I can wear the camouflage of religion if necessary. I chose never to go through "Confirmation". It seemed an unnecessary step for an 7th grader.

So, when our daughter - who has not been baptized ( can you feel my grandmothers heart seizing up right now???) starts asking questions about "God" - I don't have alot of answers.
I dodge the questions with a variety of techniques:
Emily: "Mom, where does God Live?"
Me: "Hey, you want Chinese food tonight?"

Ok, not the most sophisticated technique in the world, but I am almost always driving when these questions come up and it is hard to field questions about philosophical topics, as well as requests for food, toys, and other non-stop chattering that is occurring.

So, after watching a Veggie Tale video one day at school my daughter hits me with this , at 5:45 pm on our one hour commute home.

Em: "Mama, why don't we pray?"

I froze like a deer in the head lights. I supposed the response "Cause your parents are godless heathens" wasn't going to do it.

Now, as a segueway, when my mother graduated with her Master's degree, she graduated from a Catholic College. At the Prayer, the Head guy asked everyone to bow their heads in prayer. My daughter ( 4 years old at the time) Says - very loudly - "What's everyone doing?"
My response: "They're thinking really hard, honey"

My track record with explaining religion, as you can see, hasn't been too hot.

So, why don't we pray? Here is what I came up with:

"well, some people pray to God - but Mama thinks that doing good work is like a prayer. When I am kind to another person, or help someone, my actions are like a prayer. I don't need to have a special time to do this, or go to church - just living a good life and taking care of people is what I think God wants me to do."

When she gets older, I'll tell her that we're really just godless heathens.

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