Monday, January 14, 2008

Jesus is a Girl (?!)

Doodle has been enamoured with all things religion lately.
We're not sure if one of his friends at daycare talks about Jesus a lot, but for some reason the topic of God is big our home at the moment.
The other day in the car Doodle said to us, pretty much out of the blue, "Jesus is a girl."
We didn't quite know how to respond.
So, we went with it.
He then added "Jesus loves me very much."
I said "that's right."
We have these conversations all the time. He asks about Jesus, and about Jesus Christ and about whether Baby Jesus is Jesus Christ. In his mind he's trying to figure it all out.
But, he is certain that Jesus is a girl.
For our part, we are encouraging this new found interest. We've taken him to church off and on for the last year or so. Our plan is that we give him the choice. At this point he enjoys church. He wants to go. He talks about it. He tells us he likes Sunday School. At the same time, there are some Sunday mornings, yesterday for example, where he's excited to go when I ask. There are also Sundays where he does not want to go. Those weeks we stay home.
At this point, with no commitments to a church, I don't think it's necessary to push him. There are some days I'd rather stay on the couch in my pyjamas. I also feel that we get him up for daycare at 6:15 every morning, and he has no choice about that. So, if on the weekend he decides he needs a day off I think he's entitled.
Phat Daddy and I had somewhat different backgrounds religiously.
Though we agree on the basics, our upbringing in the church was radically different. Phat Daddy went on Christmas and Easter. His parents were rather lenient about things in his home.
I grew up in a fairly strictly religious home. I went to Christian School. I went to church on Sundays and went to Bible clubs on weeknights.
I can't talk for Phat Daddy. But, as far as I am concerned I was a pretty happy kid. All my friends were in the same circle, so it never felt like I was being forced to go to church. When I wanted to quit the Bible club I was in (AWANA), my parents agreed. When I didn't want to go to youth group for awhile my parents didn't force the issue. They encouraged, but they knew when to draw the line.
But, being involved in church I saw far too much of the opposite - kids who REALLY didn't want to be there being strong-armed by their parents, and resolving to never go to church when they grew up.
Guess what? Their resolutions held true.
So I'm finding now with Doodle I'm being very careful. I think church is wonderful. I want him to have some of the experiences that I did. But, I also want him to know that church is a choice, a place that you don't go because you feel you need to, but rather because you want to.
As for me ...
Well, I have to admit that after a year I'm actually feeling pretty comfortable about going to church. I see some familiar faces. I have a friend to sit with. I don't feel like people are staring at me.
Now as for whether or not Jesus is a girl ... I'm a feminist, and I've gotta say I think my child is on the right track there!


SciFi Dad said...

Jesus had long hair, wore a robe (which is kind of like a dress) and kept telling everyone to "stop fighting".

Maybe Doodle is on to something...

Steph said...

Thanks for this great post. While I don't have kids yet my sweetie and I have been renewing our committment to attending church. We both grew up Catholic and attended Catholic elementary and high school but after graduation stopped going. As part of our desire to be married in the Catholic church we have begun attending and I have found it to be more compelling than just going through the motions so we can get married there. I have begun to think about the importance of religion in my life and the community that is present there and how that would be a wonderful embrace for our future children. I think it's amazing that Doodle is so responsive to Church and has given me newfound encouragement to keep attending myself so that our future family has a place there. Enjoy your day!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Thoughtful post. We take our children to church most of the time, they love it and ask to go. If I am feeling icky and don't want to get up, the kids are disappointed. I love that they want to learn about God and I want them to choose to have a relationship with God all on their own.
I heard someone say recently that God doesn't have Grandchildren. We can't choose a relationship with God for our kids, it needs to be their own decision. But I am all for exposing them to the things of God.