Thursday, April 2, 2009


Oh, it's on baby!

With Easter only a week away, the subtle battle to get my children into church has just gone digital. My in-laws are getting desperate. Remember the day before election night, the Republicans dragged Rev. Wright out again in those scary commercials? Yeah, it's getting that desperate.

QUICK RECAP: A few weeks ago, my wife's aunt sent our daughters some very pretty, very useless Easter dresses. Earlier this week, my mother-in-law, the first female deacon of her church, began asking about our Easter day plans of which we have none. If I'm not mistaken we'll be at Hershey Park the day BEFORE Easter but somehow I don't think those dresses will fly there.

Just yesterday, however, my mother-in-law fired off the following email to my wife and brother-in-law:

Direct Your Children in the Right Path
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

I was really blessed when I heard my 3-year-old grandson tell the story of Jonah and the whale from a toddler’s perspective. I was blessed by the fact that my son and daughter were teaching him the Word of God at an early age. . .nothing is as important as bringing up your child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In Proverbs 22:6 we find these words that encourage us to impart to our children the ways of the Lord: "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." The writer is clear that the training must start at an early age, so that when they become mature they will not depart from the ways of the Lord. He also recognizes the importance of the parents themselves walking in the ways of the Lord.

In other words: PLEASE, please, PLEASE take my grandchildren to church this Easter.

Trouble is, my wife is stubborn and will keep our children out of church JUST because she's being pushed to do it. Me, I honestly don't think I've ever been in church on Easter -- historically I spend that day gorging on chocolate rabbits and picking that plastic grass out of my sheets -- so I don't know what I'm missing. Besides, celebrating the death and supposed resurrection of a thousand-year-old Jewish guy by listening to another guy hoot and holler for three hours sounds EXACTLY like the last thing I'd like to do with my Sunday.

But back to the email.
Here's what I find ironic about it. Both my wife and her brother were raised in church. They sang the songs, went to Sunday school, performed in plays -- the whole kit and caboodle. In other words, they were on the "right path" so says the email, and yet . . . neither of them attend church now unless its for a funeral, wedding or a guilty trip while visting their mom. I'm not sure either would pass the Christian litmus test.

On top of that, both married people outside their "faith" and none of our kids can tell you the difference between Noah and Nebakanezer. You know my story, but you don't about my brother-in-law's wife. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, she has since defected and become a super non-JW Christian. Well, not really, but she celebrates Christmas like nobody's business which is a cardinal sin for JWs. That and being taken seriously. In short, she's as much a Jehovah's Witness as I am a giraffe.

Ok, so here's the point. The email says if you raise your children to be Christians then they will remain that way. But as I see it, if you don't teach them to value it or really understand it and just regurgitate the myths and fear (which are fun) then odds are they WON'T stay "on the path."

So what if you're NOT raised with a religion? Does that mean you'll . . . stray off the . . . oh shit . . . I never considered that. I may have just made my blog obsolete.


Claudia said...

Whoa, this is getting intense. I think what surprises me the most is what an upbeat attitude you have about all this. I've had more than a few of these tense moments with the in-laws (and on occasion with my very open-minded husband too) and it is never fun. Is there ever any uneasiness or anxiety when you are having these exchanges? Or am I just feeling the guilt of someone who has "strayed off the path"?

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