Friday, March 7, 2008

life church

i knew shortly after moving here that it was a very christian place. a lot of businesses advertise that they're christian...mechanics, therapists, second hand stores. it's everywhere.

i've known since i started homeschooling, that texas is a very christian state. and a lot of homeschoolers homeschool for religious reasons. and i've shared a lot of space with homeschoolers who homeschool for religious reasons even though i am not one of them. we've cheered kids on at baseball games, watched our kids play their hearts out in p.e. classes and on playgrounds, and also watched them learn robotics side by side.

i've loved some of these friends. and i can be respectful of their beliefs, and other beliefs of people i haven't met, when they are quite different from mine. i will admit it's often better if we don't discuss how different our beliefs are...i know there are people who think homosexuals will go to hell...and even though i don't believe in hell to begin with, it still hurts me to hear this because there are people i love deeply that are homosexual. so there's that....

today, i walked into my teenager's room to find him shredding something up. i asked him what it was and he got teary eyed. he said it was something a young man at rock climbing gave him and that it was stupid. we talked about it. apparently, it was a pamphlet asking if he was good enough to get into heaven and what my son walked away with after reading and pondering it for two weeks was no, he wasn't. it defined faith and love in ways that were impossible for him to embrace and while he didn't agree with it, he was still tremendously frustrated and angered by the message that he wasn't good enough if he couldn't embrace what this pamphlet said. at the bottom of the pamphlet, it made sure to say that it had been given to him by someone who obviously loved him so that he should be sure and share his love....

i cannot fully describe how i feel. i feel a lot of things. i held my thirteen year old son while he sobbed because he was so afraid, in a deep, deep place, that nothing he does will be good enough, not even for God. and obviously he didn't just develop that from reading a little pamphlet. i know he feels this way. so there are all those feelings...did i parent him too harshly? did i expect perfection or something too close to it? but i believe much of that is just who he was always meant to be. i don't deny i've had a hand in it, but i also don't claim to be able to sort out exactly what it was. we are too complicated.

i am angry someone printed a pamphlet that was so defeating. it asked all these big questions, gave them all very negative answers, and then provided a very narrow course of action. i'm frustrated someone put it in the hands of a fourteen year old boy and told him to hand it out to his friends to show his love. again, i am angered at the idea of love being something that hurts someone... i'm not angry at the boy. or his parents. his mom is nice...i talk to her sometimes. i know her son likes my son, and my son likes hers, too. i don't think this pamphlet will affect that.

i'm glad it ended up in his hands, sort of. because it allowed us to discuss a lot of stuff this morning...and he had a lot to say, once he stopped sobbing. but i think he needed to get some of that out. and maybe it'll help shape the course of his adult faith and spiritual life...i don't know.

it's just been a crazy God week. we've been invited to join "skaters for christ" a scowling woman in a "jesus" shirt. there've been horrendous arguments on a couple of homeschooling boards i'm on about the national day of silence that isn't even until april 25th. arguments centering on tolerance and inclusivity that sometimes mock those very concepts...

i am so often challenged in my own faith by being a homeschooler in texas. i've often said that faith is not a pristine white garment we put on and should expect to keep clean, even fight to keep clean. that faith is like the very mud this earth is made of...that we should be able to roll around in it, wash it off, wade back in, and cover ourselves in it. that it should be dynamic and able to flow and swirl...handle splashing and sliding and slinging. but that we should love it, appreciate it, be amazed by the amazing thing that it is.

it has been one of those of those weeks where i feel like i need to wash it off and try again. but i don't think i will. i cried a lot in the shower this morning. i had absorbed a lot of my son's energy and needed to release it and what sweet release that was. i probably even washed off a little of my faith mud. but it is what we are all composed of and i have no doubt those parts will be covered again in time.

but for what it's worth, i do have parts of me i try to keep clean. pride tells me those parts should not get dirty, be hurt. righteous indignation tells me i have a right to keep those parts above the rest of the stuff down there getting muddy. and i know in my heart of hearts, that once i allow it all to sink into the mud, then i'll know true peace.

i'll get there one day... i believe we're all headed there in our own ways.


*Jess* said...

Wow, you expressed so much of what I feel so beautifully. Sometimes I wonder what it would like to not live in the South where the deeply religious faithfuls beat down your door while insisting that *their* church is the "right" church and that they must "save" you because "love thy neighbor" is a commandment. I really feel your frustration and I'm sorry that your son had to experience that hurtfulness right now.

earthmama said...

thanks jess. <3

i also think about what it would be like to not live in the south, but then i know there are folks i've met who don't need to save me and also that i probably wouldn't appreciate or even have developed such a strong sense of my own faith if i didn't live's always a mixed bag, isn't it?

whaddygonnado? ;)

Tiffane said...

My daughter at 7 yo was told that every time she sinned it was like she was driving another nail into Christ. That upset me. What was upsetting too was that she dwelled on this without my knowing for a number of days.

I think it could be argued that a statement like that made to a 7 yo is evil.

I hope you son is doing better and emerges through this a stronger young man. I'm also glad you were able to be there for him.