So preschool is mostly rolling now in our area. Lots of little ones are starting for the first time or getting back into the swing of things. As a result, school is the topic of conversations for many moms, my customers included. The other day I had a conversation that took aback, though it probably shouldn't have. I was chatting with a customer/casual friend who asked about Braylen's preschool. As the conversation progressed I asked about her son and she said "Well, I can't afford Montessori. The church ones would be okay but I just don't want them cramming Jesus down his throat. We are Universalist Unitarian, and well...." I tuned the rest out because I was just stunned. I stumbled through an 'um-huh' without saying anything useful. I was shocked into silence and then she moved on with the conversation before I could contribute more than a grunt. So that conversation has been on my mind a lot lately. It has been my observation that a fair number of folks who lean toward the crunchy side of life, tend to also lean away from God/Jesus--often very vocally. I get that relatively often in my store. Not people who seem agnostic or indifferent, but people who openly say that they are not believers. I have no idea what to attribute this to. Just an observation.
So as I sat in the parent meeting for Braylen's preschool last night, the pastor got up, gave a brief welcome and then said "We are not here to indoctrinate your children, but we don't apologize for being Christian either. We will teach Bible stories, Bible verses and songs because we believe that this program is a key part of our ministry here". I had 2 thoughts. My first thought was "Good for you. This is great." My second thought took me back to that conversation I mentioned earlier. I kept wishing I had said something useful. Kind, but useful.
Well, I got another opportunity. I saw a mom from the Holistic Moms group there. Her son will be in Braylen's class. She is super nice so I was very happy to see her. As we chatted, she told me she was feeling overwhelmed, and I asked about her concerns and she said, "What do you know about chapel? That preacher really freaked me out. Our daughter went to church preschool and came home and wanted to ask the blessing before eating and we were like 'well, you can.' We are not Christians and I just don't know about all of that."
This time, I was at least semi-prepared. I said "well, I don't know a ton about chapel, but I know that they do what he said--teach Bible verses, sing Bible songs, and learn Bible stories. Braylen loved it. For us all of that is a benefit because we are Christians." and I left it at that. She said "Well, yeah. Makes sense". And then our conversation got cut off. We didn't get to talk anymore, but I hope my words were taken as I meant them. And I hope her son is still in B's class.
So after I left that weighed heavily on my mind. This outright rejection of Christ still baffles me. Ambivalence I can understand in a way. Or even procrastination. But flat out rejection of Jesus makes me wonder....are you rejecting Christ, or the Church? Did someone harm you in the name of Christ? Were you mistreated by a person claiming to be a Christian? Is the hypocrisy of the church just killing you? What is the issue, exactly?
I don't know the answer, and I suppose the outcome is the same whether a person flatly denies Christ or whether he simply chooses not to choose. Maybe God prefers the former over the latter as it is more honest and less lazy. Still the sentiment is not the same, and it bothers me. I offer no answers or judgement with this post. Just observations and my personal thoughts and feelings on the issue.