Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Welcome To This World

11 Comments

My biggest privilege as a Christian was the great commission, telling others about God and Jesus and winning souls for Christ.  I nervously shared my faith with many others and to my knowledge not a one of them were converted.  That’s kind of a relief now, honestly.

My biggest pleasure and proudest moment as a Christian parent was supposed to be raising my child in the faith, leading him or her to Christ and rejoicing with the angels when he or she was baptized.  I don’t have any children, yet.  But I couldn’t wait to have babies and teach them all about the love of God and Jesus.  I’d looked so forward to singing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and a host of other children’s songs that revolved around God to my bundle of joy. 

Due to my circumstances I’d given up on the notion of having children.  But now the opportunity presents itself anew.  I don’t think I’d ever given any honest thought as to how or what I would tell my children about my beliefs, just that I would.  Suddenly the thought fueled my doubts about Christianity.  What exactly would I teach my children about God?    What I would say sounded a lot like the above video.  So what…would I….scare the hell out of my children?  Literally?  The truth of the gospel began to sound ugly and cruel, not loving and kind.

I have friends who post regularly on facebook how excited and proud they are that their child accepted Christ and they’re being baptized this Sunday.  Now when I see that I have a bit of sadness.  All of my other friends race to congratulate the lovely parents on a job well done and at the end of the day they have a bazillion “likes”.

One of the last times I attended church a five-year-old little boy walked the aisle and “gave his heart to Jesus”.  His grandmother is the pianist and an avid KJV only advocate.  She’s the one who sits in Sunday School and when she hears other people talking about grey areas like alcohol and playing cards she pipes up with “Hell is hot and Jesus lives”.    She couldn’t resist the opportunity to speak.  Hell hasn’t frozen over after all.  “I’m so proud to know my grandson has been raised in a loving Christian home and that he knows about heaven and hell and the sacrifice of Jesus.” Yes, what a touching testimony of love indeed.

This is, after all, the credo among Southern Baptists.  Get ’em while they’re young.  Brainwash them now before they’re old enough to realize it’s all slight of hand, hocus pocus.  I’ve decided for my part I can’t do it.  The church I attend recently hosted VBS a couple of weeks ago.  No one has come right out and asked why I didn’t participate.  For someone who was so gung ho, so vocal about her beliefs they all look in askance about what has happened to me.  They presume I’m backslidden.

If and when I do get the opportunity to hold my own precious child in my arms I’m going to say, “Welcome to this world.  It’s beautiful out here. Enjoy the ride.”

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11 thoughts on “Welcome To This World

  1. This one brought tears to my eyes D'Ma for many reasons. For you, for me, for others. Our children accepted Christ before the age of five. Why wouldn't they? First born was two years old when we started attending an IFB church and second born was in my womb when I was baptized in the IFB church. I held my babies in my arms and sung every hymn and Christmas carol I knew (and that's a lot). We prayed before bed, before meals and well Jesus went with us everywhere. 🙂 Later we became leaders in youth ministry and had plans to retire into youth missionary work. All with the intention of reaching children for Christ. Other than loving God/Jesus/Holy Spirit … there was no higher calling than to lead a child to Christ, saving them from hell's fire and equipping them for righteous lives on the earth in preperation for the mansions that awaited them in heaven. By the time we left the church my conscience was getting the best of me (in IFB lingo, Satan was getting the best of me) … as looking in the eyes of children 24/7 year after year after year gets to you when you know not all have or will "accept Christ" and will suffer eternity in hell. Exhausting.I regret the under-lying wholesale fear that accompanied my conservative evangelical beliefs. It's terribly difficult to imagine your child and other children won't be with Jesus when they die and it's suffocating to think that standing before Jesus, you'll give an account of that one child you missed. Hardly sounds like a beautiful world does it. :-(Seems I had a bit of a rant to unload after reading your post. 🙂

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  2. "Welcome to this world. It's beautiful out here. Enjoy the ride."I can think of a lot worse introductions to give a child.

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  3. @Zoe,You can unload here anytime! The more I really thought about Christianity and "the truth" the less pretty it was. I wondered how I was going to explain hell and at the same time try to convince them God was loving. I have a hard time believing I ever believed that myself. It's just messed up.=================================================@MM,I want my children to explore and adventure and see how beautiful this place can be. There are beautiful moments, tender moments, scary moments, hurtful moments and they all make a person who they are. I want them to embrace them all. But mostly I want them to know I'll love them no matter what, that they can be whatever they set their mind to be, and I don't want them to be afraid to try to do it. And even if they are a little afraid, well dammit, just do it anyway!

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  4. D'Ma,I read your post and then commented. I didn't watch the video until just now. Guess I could have done that video eh? Haunting really.

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  5. Zoe,As I listened to that video, which I actually found while I was looking for something else, I was struck by the haunting similarity of my own thoughts. It really is chilling when, to me at least, when you boil it down and say it the way it really is. Hurts my heart to think of all the children I've taught about the "awesome love of God", and what I would have done to my own children.

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  6. It is so sad to me to see the chain of indoctrination. But you know what? Every now and then a link on that chain breaks, and even fervent believers change their minds and come to the real truth. ;-)Enjoy the ride!

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  7. I used to toy with the idea that it would be a much better world if children were taught about each of the world's major religions, but not expected to make a decision about their own religiosity until they had come of age — which for an American is around age 40. :DI still toy with that idea, I guess. I think it would lead to happier people, although it would be near impossible to put into practice for large numbers of us.

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  8. I resigned from my churches pre-school class for just that reason. I was having doubts and I couldn't stand to teach children the very thing that I was doubting. This is one of the reason's that I felt I had to research and decided what to believe. I was beginning to teach my children about God and sing those very songs you mentioned. We stopped going to church when my children were three. I stopped mentioning God shortly there after. We still have books around here that are God related, for example Noah's ark, but I just read it as I would any other story when they bring it to me to read.I know I will have many questions to try and answer for them as they get older, but your right when you say "Enjoy the ride."And I do hope you get to someday tell your child that very thing. 🙂

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  9. oh, what a tough subject for me. I've got a 5 and a 7 year old. As my beliefs change, it's a struggle to know how to adapt the way and what we teach. this might be the most difficult part of the faith crisis for me. And then I need to be mindful of my husband and what he wants to teach them.

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  10. I used to street-preach. I personally led one person to Jesus. I wonder what ever happened to him?

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  11. @TAW,I've definitely felt a push to know which I think might be impossible really. But I want to be comfortable with what I believe so I'm not like a deer in the headlights when my kids ask me the hard questions hat I know are inevitable. "I don't know" is an answer. ================================================@DoOrDoNot,This is such a difficult topic. I know LAC has struggled with it as well as Mark at christiandoubt. It's so tough to know what to tell your children and you definitely have the added pressure of compromising on that with your husband. I don't envy that position at all. You are so compassionate and lovely though, I can't imagine you won't handle it well.=================================================@HeIsSailing,I never street-preached but I've knocked on a bunch of doors. I used to be so disappointed when people seemed unresponsive to the "Holy Spirit" and always worried what would happen to them in the afterlife. Now it's a big relief.

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