Friday, May 6, 2011

holy baptismal fount, Batman!

Mr. T's spring concert went off without a hitch--he remembered the words to the songs, even the preschoolers filled the church with enthusiastic renderings of such classics like "He's Got the Whole World" and "Rubber Duckie." Almost as entertaining as the students in front of the church were the two knuckleheads in the pew next to me.

Team Testosterone and I are not Catholic, so sending Mr. T to parochial school has provided us with a steep learning curve. He's old hat at weekly liturgy, understands when to stand, kneel, sit and the rest of it--can even mumble along a decent Hail Mary in a pinch. The other two? Bludgeoned me with questions the minute we walked into the sanctuary.

"Cool! Mom! Look! They have a fountain!" Their eager fingers reached for the baptismal fount and I shushed them away. "But everyone else gets to touch it!" Yeah, I know. "Why?" That, kids, is a great question. Mama doesn't know the belief behind the fount.

Once seated, the stained glass windows and ceiling paintings of the disciples provided rich fodder for conversation. I thought the boys would be content to look around at all the beautiful things in the sanctuary--our church is as plain as potatoes without salt or butter--this church had statues, pretty windows, paintings on the walls. Plenty to look at and admire while we waited. But my kids brought their evangelical sensibility to our pew. "Hey! That's Jesus with the lady at the well! Mom! He can give you living water so you never get thirsty again." "Where's the disciple who betrayed Jesus?" You mean Judas? I don't think they put pictures of Judas up in churches. "No, the other disciple."
Oh, Peter--he denied Jesus, he didn't betray him. "Yeah--but he before the rooster crowed he said he didn't know God. But they were best friends!" Later he stood firm for his faith. "Yeah--where is he?" "There's 12 disciples up there--you said they didn't include Judas! Who's the other guy?" "Why do they have pictures of Jesus on the cross, Mom? Jesus rose!"

What grieved Team Testosterone most of all was the absence of bibles. "Where is the Bible?" They ripped through the pages of hymnals, "Nope, this isn't one." "Nope." "Nope." "Mom, where's the Bibles?" I don't know. "How can it be a church without a Bible?" Honey, maybe people bring their own Bibles. "But every church has bibles. Maybe they're in back." Maybe. "Let's ask this guy, maybe he knows where the bibles are." I wasn't sure how to explain to them that Catholic churches don't really do bibles--but then there's the whys that come up.

Red-faced, I tried to keep my tribe's commentary at a low volume. Guys, Mr. T will be in soon. "Yeah, but I want to read a Bible." "Hey, Mr. B--check out this little shelf to stand on--it must be for short people so they can see up front." No, that's a kneeler--you don't stand on it--good grief, boys--oh, look! They're starting! Sit nice.

Afterwards a woman I knew complemented me on my handsome sons and looked at me curiously, "They sure asked a lot of questions, didn't they?"

The night ended happily--I walked in late to the PTA meeting in time to see two moms step up to take over the president and treasurer positions--the Green Girl Dynasty is officially over!

Spill it, reader--what do your kids ask you while sitting in church? Oh, I longed for the days when they asked for a pencil and pad of paper!

17 comments:

  1. "Hey, Mr. B--check out this little shelf to stand on--it must be for short people so they can see up front."

    Oh man, that's a great line.

    I grew up Baptist, but my stepfather's family is Catholic, so I got a good dose of that early on and know the basics. There sure is a big difference between the two.

    I'm looking forward to (hopefully) meeting those two "knuckleheads" and all the rest of your crew next month. (Fingers crossed!)

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  2. Hey Mom, Hey Mom, Hey Mom!!! My guys' favorite way to start a sentence--Hey Mom! Questions are good, and they were legitimate! (Love the stool for short people because you know They've had that problem! Ingenious!!!)

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  3. Hmm... it may be time for the teachable moment. "Mr. T, your brothers have a few questions." :)

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  4. You have me laughing out loud here!
    This post is hysterical!

    My kids once got up and got in line for communion at a Baptismal. We are not Catholic, so I believe I committed some kind of sin when I allowed them to stay in line and take communion.

    Favorite part of the post, the BIBLE discussion!

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  5. This was hilarious. Your guys ask some very good questions. It's great that they are interesting in examining their surroundings.

    My kids are Jewish so I don't often have them in church with me. When they are, they insist on playing trivia games such as "Who am I from the Bible?" before the service starts. But maybe that's because it's a Presbyterian church and there is less to look at than in a Catholic church.

    I took my teenager to a funeral service at a Catholic church last year. There were paintings and statues of saints all around the sanctuary. At one point she leaned over to me and whispered, "That guy up there is creepy-looking. He looks like Professor Snape."

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  6. Paul and I once went to a Catholic wedding and we were the only 2 people (out of about 100) who didn't take communion - because my understanding has always been if you're not Catholic you can't take their communion?

    Pierce goes to a Jewish preschool, and can sing songs in Hebrew, and we have no clue what he's saying...

    I think learning about different relegions early is good for them.

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  7. Oh you poor girl! The whole scene sounds hilarious. But I guess if I were the mom, it might not have been that funny. ;)

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  8. Interesting questions and I can't even answer them all even though I am Catholic. Here is one...Catholics get the Bible reading through the readings during Mass...if we go every Sunday then in 3 years we have heard the entire Bible read to us thru the readings and Gospel. They start over at the beginning every 3 years.

    I learned this from a nun at the Catholic bookstore in town. I went to get a book of the readings because our church thinks you should just listen to the readings but I have to follow along reading the book or I can't comprehend them.

    I have been reading a lot of Catholic blogs lately to learn more. My husband converted when we got married and now he knows more than I do.

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  9. It's been a while since they asked me - I usually ask them ;)

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  10. This is a good learning experience for your boys. It's great that they're asking questions. As far as the Bible missing from the church, the Bible readings for each week are printed in the missal for people to follow along with. BTW, I think the term you're looking for is baptismal font. :o)

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  11. Question everything! Your boys did great. I would have loved to sit in the pew behind you.

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  12. great questions, my kids used to ask many of the same kind. I'm a cradle Catholic, and taught CCD from 1st grade to high school for many years, kids ask the greatest questions. if you have any you want answered, let me know. I will do my best. ladytatslace @ gmail.com (leave out the spaces)

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  13. That's what we Episcopalian children used the kneelers for! That, and as weapons -- those things HURT when they're dropped on your shins.

    Bill Cosby used to joke that all that standing up and sitting down was just to identify the non-Catholics. Whump, everyone sits down. "There they are!" ;)

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  14. We don't normally got to church. Las time we did it was, sadly, for a funeral for my son's friend's sister. He did not understand that communion was just for Catholics and he was not close enough for me to stop him when he got up.

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  15. LOL! At least they were entertained (and entertaining). I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school kindergarten through college. I remember my cousin and me peeking through the windows of a protestant church during their services because we were so curious about what went on in a protestant church.

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  16. Hi, I am a green girl from Wisconsin, and your newest follower. I live in Calif. now, but my roots are in Wisconsin soil.
    My sons found it more enjoyable to be in Sunday School rather than church with the adults :)

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  17. As a Catholic, I found this post very humorous. :)

    Glad they enjoyed themselves.

    And hooray for PTA replacements!

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Spill it, reader.