Out of the mouths of babes…
My son is at junior high church camp this week. He is not always thrilled to go because it takes him away from his computer games, but once he gets there he has a lot of fun and makes a lot of friends.
This is true this week as well, but there have been some incidents that he has sent me text messages about. I thought I would share them with you because these incidents reflect what is happening within a lot
of organized religion.
My son had made videos of his family talking to him and giving him wishes to have fun at camp, and he had made videos of his dogs “talking” to him as well. He thought
it would help him with homesickness.
Yesterday evening, he was sitting outdoors, waiting for “church service“ to start—it had not started yet. He was sitting watching videos with his earbuds in so he could
hear us all talking to him. He heard some kids behind him—“is that kid REALLY listening to music NOW??” He felt bad and put everything away.
Then during the service, there was a speaker who told a sad, but inspiring story to the kids. A lot of the kids were crying, but my son was not. The kids around him said to him—“dude you have no soul. Get out of here.”
The following is a direct quote from my son regarding these incidents:
“just two examples of why I don’t like (name of camp) all that much because they
talk about this big community and how we’re a family yet I never feel like everyone wants different people to be a part of it.”
If this is what religion is being used for by our children, we have failed them and blasphemed against God.
Churches are trying to figure out why memberships are down, well HERE is the reason. If it is starting with children, then there is no way that a person is going to continue going to church once they have reached adulthood, if THIS is the experience that they have.
Instead of teaching our children to use religion to “shame” the different, maybe we should teach them to use religion as the starting point to share their personal experiences about their relationship with God. Instead of building communities with those that believe EXACTLY as we do, maybe we should try to strengthen
communities by taking those with different views in to challenge and strengthen the entire community.
By using religion the way that my son experienced it yesterday, you are going against Jesus’ teachings.
Remember, Jesus made it a point to be different from what was the popular ideas of his time.
My son’s’ experiences show me that our children are learning things that would make them “attack” Jesus, and THAT is not Christian.
I know that I sound like an angry “helicopter” parent, but I’m really not. My son is fine.
I told him that there are always people that you don’t connect with , and that don’t connect with you. I told him to find “his” people and distance himself from those
that are not.
I told him that he is a member of God’s community, no matter how different he may be or how differently he thinks, and if that relationship is strong, then he doesn’t need to be concerned with man’s community.
So I have laid the groundwork for my son to choose between religion and
spirituality, and whatever he chooses, it will be the right thing for him.
If organized religion wants to lobby for man’s church community, then they need to change the way that religion is being taught to children and adults.