When I was a child, I believed God was made up of all the good things we thought, did, and said. He/She (as a child I never thought of God as a gender) was always growing and changing. We made God with all our beauty and humanity. But every evil thought, deed, or action killed God. A slow toxic death. As a child I was convinced more good happened in the world than evil, so God was always strong.
It was an interesting theology. As my mom is a Roman Catholic and my dad a Nazarene, it seems even more odd that I didn’t believe God had a gender. I went to Catholic school, Catholic mass, and Nazarene church. No one can accuse my parents at not trying to raise good Christians. The only reason why my parents raised us Catholic was due to a premarital promise my mom extracted from my dad, who tried to back out when I was about to be baptized. But my parents are open-minded people. Hell, I didn’t even know racism actully existed until after college. I was so sure it was dead, regulated to a few uneducated, crazy people in the South. So my brothers and I were raised to have tolerance, even an appreciation for other religions, which I thought extended to all religions until I got to college and tried to explain Paganism to my mom. She wasn’t too keen, but my dad, by that time, was ahead of the hate crimes division in the police and had met and befriended many different people from many different origins, cultures, and religions. My dad’s super.
So I grew up in a dual-religious household. I read ancient myths, and the moment I graduated Catholic middle school , I went in search for everything the Catholic’s tried to hide. I was nearly an expert on the Inquisition in high school. When I went to college at a libral school, I met so many neat people. Religion fascinates me because it seeps into the soul of a person, of a culture, of a nation. Even in secular USA, there are the roots of Protastant Christians, burrowing deep into our core values. As a mother, I want my boys to learn, understand, and appreciate all religions as there is truth in each.
But now, as my husband and I struggle to take the boys to church (due to marital disputes over toddler behavior), I find Evan creating his own theology. We pray with him every night, and sporadically go to mass or a United Church of Christ where my best friend is the youth minister. Evan can recognize any church.
Once we were passing a park and stopped at a red light. “Mommy, what’s that?” asked Evan, and I explained it’s a park that we’ll go to later. (This was when asked “what’s that?” to everything, even though he knew the answer.) “No, Mommy, what’s that?” asked Evan again, more instant. “I don’t know,” I said hoping for an answer. “It’s where God lives!” Sure enough, I looked, and he was pointing to a roundish building with a sign mentioning it as a church of some kind. I was shocked. There was nothing to make a person believe it was a church except the sign. (I’ve actually seen that building shape used for a library.)
Then yesterday Evan came into the kitchen and said, “God bless me. God bless Seanny. God bless Mommy. God bless Daddy. God’s not a genius, Mommy. He’s a faery!”
Um. Sure. Why not? We don’t know what God is. So a faery is just as reasonable. But as I contemplate Catholic school because this kid needs pre-kindergarten next year, I just hope I can keep his theology from bursting under church doctrine. Hell, my mom did it. She just didn’t think her little push would shove me past slightly left to almost all the way left.