The question I feared more than "How are babies made?" is this one: "Why don’t we go to church?"‘ And like all questions I hope not to have to address any time soon, this one has been popping up all over the place in the last few months. Along with this question comes the other obvious ones---“The grandmas go to church. What’s church? Who is Jesus and why can’t we say his name?”

    It’s at this point that I know that I’m not parenting by dogma but more my own gut reaction. It honestly had not occurred to me that my kids don’t go to church because I DON’T go. I am, what my former church liked to call, "the unchurched." But that’s not really accurate either.  I don’t go because of the patriarchy, because I’d be faking it, because I find my divine in nature (a walk in the woods, good sex, a drive in a beautiful canyon, accidentally stumbling on a poem of genius that fits my precise mood though it was written a few centuries away from me),  and because I take comfort in many myths, not one in particular. I love religion! I find it fascinating. I love how cultures around the world come up with their own particular creation myths and explanations for existence. I love metaphor. I love the beauty of it all.

    But I don’t love the idea of saviors, especially male ones, nor the cannibalism and necrophiliac tendencies of many religions. And I don’t like the nagging of the lesbian grandmothers that I should be sending my kids to church (lovely lifestyle ironies not withstanding). What harm, the grandmothers ask, could come from letting the kids go to the Methodist church? They are a more liberal church after all. That "liberal" part , I think is supposed to make me feel better.  Liberal as in, "this is one of those Christian churches that respects people, doesn’t hate anyone, and is okay with you having a brain.“  That’s all well and good and I’m glad there are churches out there like that, but it still doesn’t make me want to send the kids.

    I like Jesus the way I like Buddha: guys with incredible lives that are great to aspire to and to emmulate no matter how impossible it would be to live as they did. I like St. Francis for the same reason. St. Joan---all those saints their own people thought were nut cases. Thinking on them makes me feel a kinship. Makes me feel a little less alone in my own craziness. I’ll never reach nirvana. I’m just not that way.  I love the idea of turning the other cheek, of loving my enemies, but  I’m not there either.

The more "Christian" of my friends point out that last Sunday I went out of my way to hide eggs in the yard, come up elaborate schemes and plot points for a rabbit to come into my house to deliver small toys and a map to an egg hunt in the front yard. I was fully behind the leprechaun traps and glitter gold dust on St. Patrick's day. I left raw carrots on the lawn for Santa's reindeer and wrote notes from Santa in wrong handed script to each of my kids for further authenticity.

The kids see me light candles for people on my altar. They've participated in meditation. We do yoga. So why the knee jerk reaction from me in my moms wanting to "broaden the horizons" of the kids and have them witness another box of beliefs?

I of course, am also a product of my on again off again Catholic upbringing. Someone who not only went to Catholic high school but elected to go to Catholic college as well. I'm happy to embrace liberation theology. I'm happy to embrace social justice and have my kids give of themselves. I guess what I'm not willing to do is make them feel like sinners.

I've told the moms they can take them when they're slightly older. Maybe next year. My grandmother sent her first four kids (and me)  to Catholic school and church on Sunday and my aunts, uncles and father all have a healthy relationship with humanity, social justice, and religion.  The last two went to public school and became involved with cult-like "Christian" churches that foisted heavy tolls on their relationships with the rest of us. They became fundamentalists for a good long time and one still is. The void of growing up with nothing left a nice big hole for fundamentalism to fill. In the back of my mind, I see this on the horizon, and I don't want that either.

So how do parents deal with their children asking the BIG questions when the parents have lived their lives happy to not have the answers?