Last week Thomas and I went to a friend's house. We have known our friends for nine years. This family is fundamentalist Christian. For the record, I am a Christian but no where close to being what I term "fundie."
We both know that we are totally different from each other on the religious front. I watch my P's and Q's when I'm around this friend, fearing I might slip up and say, "Oh, shit" in front of her. We have both had a mutual respect for each other and our differences.
Thomas has asked me why they are the way they are, and we have had many open talks about it. One of the things I tell Thomas is that this country is so wonderful because we can believe whatever we want to and practice that chosen religion (as long as it causes no one harm) however we want. (I still take exception to the Pearls and their physically cruel punishments, but I've already talked about that ad nauseam.)
Anyway, I have suspected that she talked with her children about why we are the way we are. I was right on that.
She had to take two of her children to an appointment on the day we visited. She asked if I'd watch her youngest while they left. So I did. The boys were happy to play together and I didn't mind at all.
So what I found so funny was after my friend left, the very first thing her youngest son did was to come up to me and say this: "Um, I don't mean to butt in, but why don't you go to church?"
I believe he was too polite to ask that question in front of his mom, but he was curious and wanted to know. I didn't give him an answer other than the fact that it was a very long story why we didn't go to church. But he was very relieved to know we were Christians.
So as Thomas and I were driving home, I took the opportunity to discuss this because he witnessed it. I asked him what he thought of his friend's question. Thomas thought it was rude and an invasion of our privacy. I explained that children are curious and just want to know things, and while it is something I hope he would never ask someone, it didn't really bother me to be asked.
I brought up the fact that his friend was very relieved to know we were Christians. I asked Thomas what he thought of that. He asked me if they would be our friends if we were not Christians. I told him no, that our friends would not accept us if we were not Christians. (And that is the truth. I have talked about that with Mom Friend a few times.)
Thomas thought that it was very sad indeed. He just couldn't understand the concept of not being friends with someone who didn't share the same faith. I was SO proud, because that is the lesson I have been trying to teach. (And it's one reason I'm "not Christian enough" with some of the local homeschoolers. So be it.)
I have friends of all different faiths or lack of faith. I don't judge on what religion someone practices. I do judge, and that is if they are kind, moral, etc. I cannot imagine closing myself off to -- well, the world. I do, however, understand that is "their" choice to make, though. I just feel it's so sad. Then again, like I said, this is why I'm viewed as "not Christian enough."
Why do I stay friends then? This relationship has been on and off over the years. Sometimes I would just go crazy with it all and not call for months. We always seem to end up in the same place, though, as it's a small town. I stay friends because deep down, aside from the judgmental part I don't like, she is a very lovely person. Her kids are nice, well behaved, and warm. Thomas adores her kids, and they like him.
Thomas asked me why we (well, I) stayed friends and I told him that if we did not, we were being judgmental. We will never see eye-to-eye with anyone. There will always be differences. It opens his world to see how others live, especially those that are so different from us.
And that's it. I don't expect any more religious posts here for a very long time.