Tonight at Cub Scouts, one of the scheduled speakers did not show so they asked me to speak. I was happy to do so and talked to the scouts about our nation’s religious heritage, why we consider it important for people to make up their own mind in matters of faith, being a chaplain in the military, and praying for our deployed armed service members. Most of the parents smiled and thanked me afterwards. A few stared at me blankly. All par for the course when you speak publicly on that topic.
But on the way home, my son told me that as I was speaking, one of the scouts leaned over to another one and said, “Going to church is stupid.” It could have made me angry, but it didn’t. I was really thankful for it. Because it gave me the chance to talk to my son about the fact that in the days to come he needs to expect to not only run into people who don’t go to worship anywhere but people who will actively deride what we believe. I told him that I really don’t blame a child, especially someone as young as a cub scout, for saying something like that. If they are saying it, they are likely just repeating what they hear their parents or older siblings say. I was happy to hear my son respond, “that doesn’t mean we can’t invite him to church.” Exactly.
We may think this is all something new running into people who don’t believe (or who think gathering to worship is a waste of time). But it is really an ancient phenomenon. I am glad I had the chance to talk to my son about it and he feels comfortable sharing with me what he hears. It surely is just the beginning for him in his life to have his faith challenged.
And I hope there is a way to reach people, young and old, and let them know that church isn’t quite as dumb as they might think it is. Instead, it is the very place that is the doorway to our real home.
What do you think?
Until next time,