Monday, November 06, 2006

Because the Bible Told Me So

Like hanging out with a boyfriend you used to make out with all the time but are now just friends with, my relationship with Evangelical Christianity has become complicated. Everything I was once righteously certain of either no longer seems significant, is muddied by my growing disdane for "Americanized" Christianity and it's institutions, or simply just does not make sense to me any longer. This is not to say I no longer have faith in a Creator or redemption. Its just simply not what it once was for me.

These muddied waters complicates what I (we) choose to teach our daughter about Christianity. As her language skills and curiosity seem to quadruple each day, I feel compelled to start structuring at least a loose plan for how I (we) will proceed with her religious education. While we are certain that we will not prescribe her theology and religious practices for her, I do want to offer her some sort of teaching on faith while she is young. But what to offer her is the dilemma.

When I was a kid, in a small, fundamentalist denominational church, the dogma was thick enough to cut with a knife and wash down with the quarterly sip of communion grape juice. Before I was seven years old, I carried my guilty soul to the alter to tell the Lord Jesus that I was sorry, didn't want to go to hell, and would do whatever it took to make sure I didn't end up there. Quite the pious first grader.

This is obviously not what I hope my own daughter is doing before she learns to tie her own shoes. But, the question remains, what am I going to tell her?

Starting with the traditional stories of the Old Testament is a seemingly natural place to start, until you start really thinking about some of those tales popular in your childhood Sunday school class...

"So God flooded all of the earth, and everyone, but Noah and his boat full of animal dung, drowned. Struggling for their last breaths, I bet they wished they would've minded their mommies and did what God told them to. Don't you?"

The Old Testament is so chock full of sex, murder, and betrayal, that its a wonder that it's not on the banned book list.

Where to begin or what to say is still a mystery? For now, we're just starting with simple prayers of gratitude. That can't screw her up too much, right?

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