“All I see are stepford-like lives
Needles and knives, beautiful lies
Bringing out the green in your eyes
Perfect disguise for envy and pride
Make me listen to the truth even if it breaks me
You can judge me, love me
If you’re hating me, do it honestly”
One way or another honesty is on hold at churches. Whether it’s because it can be ugly, or because people want to hide it for shame or fear; it’s quite absent. On any given Sunday, God is on my mind and I am at home. The church has ceased to be a part of my relationship with God. I don’t feel I need it. I surround myself with people who are messy, and loud, and active for what they believe. In a lot of ways, my job was my church. That company was so full of people who want to serve by helping those kiddos. They dealt with kids who can only be honest. I spent every day with kids who don’t know how to lie to themselves. They were messy and loud and always moving. And around them, I get closer to God. The thirteen year old I worked with pushed me so much closer. I never lied to her and she was sometimes so brutally honest and sometimes so openly curious. She was a window into the divine for me. As she asked about my faith, I hope that I gave her a good picture of the divine for her. Honesty is at the center of it for me. That’s probably why I feel so off balance in church. Uh, I dread going back. But church is great way for kids to grow up. I loved every second of the time I spent there while I was young. The time when everything was simple, like the truth should be. It’s messy and it’s loud, but it’s also quite simple.
Suddenly I realize why theology is so intriguing to me. It’s honesty, and curiosity. There are many right answers making it messy. That’s the church I want to attend. but how do I meld the two for my son? How can I allow him to enjoy all the simple pleasures of church, Sunday school, and VBS and still prepare him for that time when things grow complex, hypocritical, and vague? How do I get him ready for the times that everything he’s learned and loved will over turn? And how I prepare him to hold on to the truth of what he’d found and let go of the things that will try to tear it down?
Isn’t it sad that I need to worry about all these things before I step my butt back into church? Shouldn’t the church be a place of safety and challenge for our spirits? A place that uplifts and refines us? Not a place that we need to guard our hearts against? Isn’t that sad? That I need to ask myself how to protect my child from church, so he can have a relationship with God.