My 10-year old nephew, Jordy, is simply one of the best people I know. Aside from the fact that he’s my nephew and I’d love him if he were a lump, he is curious, insightful, optimistic, and hilarious. He loves to play card games, soccer and make up songs. He is quick to laugh, eager to participate and never says no to sweets. To quote him directly, “I am here to bring joy.” That he does
Mikey, my 11 year-old nephew and I got into an interesting discussion about church yesterday. We were walking in to register Jordy for basketball camp and Mikey out of the blue tells me, “you know I’m not a very churchy person.”
I knew this. As a typical pastor’s kid he has been in church more than he’s been out. He’s heard all of the stories a million times. He knows the usual angles for sermons on all major holidays.
But anxious to hear his opinion, because Mikey always has an interesting point of view, I asked, “why not.”
“I think children’s church is dumb. The purpose of church should be to teach kids how to have a relationship with God and all they do is tell you all the same stories over and over. There is no application to my life. How am I supposed to know how to do this as an adult if they don’t teach me how now,” he said emphatically.
I had no answer for that.
I hated children’s church at his age. Like him I refused to go. But trying to be the good adult I rambled on something about how its good to make friends, learn about God, yadda, yadda, yadda. Nothing convinced him or me about why he should be excited to go to church.
In the end I said it honored God for us to be apart of people who believed like we did and it was one form of worship. His reply was a very logical, “I’ll just find my own way to worship God.”
I had nothing to say to that. As an adult I still struggle with church. In California I had an amazing experience with a wonderful small group. It was the closest I’ve come to understanding the relevance of church in my life. Without it I just don’t see the point. I can volunteer with my favorite organizations. I can be with my friends anywhere. I can worship God in a million places.
Here in Ohio I have struggled to find a church that resonates with me as a single, 30something, career woman. Because most people my age are married with kids aren’t that many single’s groups that reach out to my age group. I guess they figure I should be married by now.
The churches here in Canton are pretty conservative and traditional. I haven’t found one that makes me want to show up. I don’t really feel guilty about it, but I do miss the comraderie of my small group. I miss having friends in the same life stage as me. I miss my friends, but I don’t miss church per say.
So, I don’t know. I’m just rambling. All to say, I understand why Mikey doesn’t want to go to church.
This morning I awoke to the sound of birds in my room. I was disoriented for a minute and then realized I forgot to turn off my phone and that is my ring-tone for my mother. Why is she calling me so early?
I answered the phone with a very indignant – what??!! Then a little voice said – A-A-a-aunt Marti – immediately I was happy for the disruption.
“Is this Jordy?” I asked.
“Uh huh, I-I-I love you,” he said. My heart melted. How great is it to wake up to love from a three-year old.
“I love you too Jordy, I miss you,” I replied.
Then he asked, “I-I-I want to know when you’re coming back to my house?” Again more heart melting and an urgent need to run to LAX overtook my whole body.
My mom said that they were watching tv and Jordy asked her where I was. She told him that the plane took me home. Then he said he wanted to call me by himself. I miss him terribly. Nothing is better than the unconditional love from a child.