With summer classes afoot, I’ve had to let a few principles go.
E goes to a summer camp in the morning and then with my mother in the afternoon. This week, my church-going mother agreed to work the church’s Vacation Bible School, a somewhat innocuous five-day sermon complete with crafts and coloring books. Ethan goes with her. They learn a new Bible verse every day.
I’ve never been big on Biblical verses, and even when I was a good non-atheist church-goer preferred the abstract rendering of God and Holiness to textual representations of Christ. I decided when Ethan was born that I would allow him to choose if, when, how and whether he wanted to take part in an institutional faith. I wouldn’t push him in any way. Ethan appears to be a mini-heathen in the making. He goes to church with my mother on occasion and I answer his questions as best I can, biting my tongue more frequently than I should.
He is, most of all, obsessed with the idea of a soul. What is a soul? Where does it come from? Can I find it?
I tell him that soul can be found everywhere: music, movies, trees, the fish pond, in himself, everywhere. Not just in church. Last night when we rode our bikes to campus for ice cream, we sat outside and I told him that if anything didn’t make sense at church to ask me or Grandma about it. He told me he doesn’t believe everything they say. “I don’t either,” I told him, “but there are some important lessons there.” We talked about kindness and charity and love and how all people have the potential for such, not only those within church walls, and how these things should not be confined within church walls. He seemed satisfied.
The other day my mom was discussing the day’s Biblical lesson with Ethan. She too wonders how much he has internalized the things they teach in church, albeit for different reasons than I.
“E, do you remember the verse for the day?” she asked.
“Know the Lord,” Ethan replied dutifully.
“But the only Lord I know is Lord Vader. And he’s evil.”