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.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

All Dressed Up . . .

These are my daughter's Easter dresses.

They were given to us by my aunt-in-law Cheryl (is that right?) for the great African-American tradition of getting gussied up for Easter service.

But wait, you ask, does that mean I'm going to church this year?

Fret not, Thirdsies, I will not be at church for Easter -- I'm actually looking to make 2009 a completely church-free year -- so keep your fingers crossed. You know it, I know it and so does Aunt Cheryl. But this is the latest passive-aggressive missive in the largely silent, but deadly war between myself and my wife's devout relatives.

Want another example?

Every year, we get Christmas cards from her Aunt Sharon who never forgets to add, in her own hand-writing, "Never forget, Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- so get to Church before your soul is reduced to a bubbling strip of hell-bacon."

She doesn't actually write that last part, but it is implied.

About two years ago, my wife's theological entertaining of Jehovah's Witnesses, threw her whole family into a tizzy. They all volunteered two hands and both shoulders in the tug-of-war to save her soul -- all doing their part to wrestle her back to Baptism and back to church.

During a conversation with her Aunt Sharon, my wife mentioned that she was still keeping her options open in terms of religion -- you know just dating and not committing to one supreme diety just yet. And, being the understanding and loving aunt that she is, Sharon said kindly: "You don't want to go to hell do you? What about your kids, don't you want them to go to heaven?"

Sweet, no?

And, really, at the middle of this war is our lovely daughters, who, for all my in-laws know, are graven-image-worshipping heathens in desperate need of saving. Hence, these Easter dresses which were either washed in Holy Water or equipped with a tractor beam that pulls the wearer to the nearest Easter Service. If not, the next time these dresses find themselves in church will be when they're picked up as donations.

So far as Easter is concerned, I have no idea what we're doing. We'll be at my parents so, you know, no chance of church there. But the month is still early so anything could change.
Trust me, if I end up at church, you'll be the first to read about it.