Sunday, March 23, 2008

Freedom From Religion

Today is Easter. The rest of my family was getting ready to go up to church. A couple of my son's friends were going along too, and just before they all headed for the car, the younger of the two looked up at me and asked, "Why aren't you going to church?" There was a mild accusatory tone to his voice, so I measured my thoughts carefully before answering.
I thought of telling him that it was because of Buster Brown. I had spent too many Sundays as a child wearing stiff, uncomfortable shoes. The fact that I only wore those shoes on Sunday only exacerbated the problem, keeping them much too rigid and shiny to be of any use to me outside the confines of the First Methodist. Of course I knew that my present footwear was a matter of personal preference, and I could choose to attend services in my best Converse high tops, providing a taste of my fashion sense as well as needed ankle support.
All of the possible theological and philosophical arguments came to mind as well. I chose not to ask him about all the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Pastafarians who would not be attending services today. I decided not to press him about all the "good Christians" who were unable to go to church today because of weather, illness, or natural disaster. I knew my own mother was foregoing the Easter Service back in Boulder because of snow. I wondered if this kid's God would forgive a seventy-year-old woman for missing a Sunday on account of icy roads.
I even thought about pushing the question still further by asking him about his new favorite movie, "Horton Hears A Who," and asking him if he ever wondered if God was really an elephant carrying our dust speck on a piece of clover. I wondered if he would have that same stoned revelation years later along with Pinto in "Animal House", as he stuns himself with the idea that we could all be living in a solar system that is just an atom in the toenail of some giant being.
And all of these thoughts passed quickly enough before I gave him my final answer: "Because I'm a grownup." With that, I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door to greet the morning in my own particular way.

1 comment:

Robin said...

I always thought about it the other way around - Horton was me, and the Who was everything small and precious that only I would notice (Whatever you may choose to call it); and now I assume every childhood includes naysaying outsiders busy destroying the private thing that meant so much to us between bouts of wrong and stupid for having feelings about something they vehemently denied. Which is why it's always been my favorite Seuss.