Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Apostasy on the Drive Home

TW is Catholic, and I’m not.  We’re raising the kids American Catholic, which is a distinct thing.  I don’t know all of the ins and outs, but I’ve made the decision to be respectful about the church and to let the kids figure out for themselves how much of what they hear they should accept.

I picked up The Girl from CCD on Monday.  Car conversation:

Me: How’d it go?

TG: Ugh.  The teacher said that gay people, and transgender people, and people who’ve had abortions, and pets, won’t go to heaven.

Me: She did?

TG: Yeah!  Isn’t that stupid?  I mean, I’m not any of those things, but…

Me: You’re not a pet?

TG: (sighing) Dad. (pause)  I mean, why shouldn’t they go to heaven?  

(This is where my “let them figure it out for themselves” strategy fails: she asked a direct question.  I did the best I could on the spur of the moment.)

Me: That’s ridiculous.  No dogs in heaven?  It wouldn’t be heaven without them!

TG: Exactly!  Why couldn’t Sally go to heaven?  

Me: I have no answer for that.

TG: And gay people and transgender people?  That’s just about who they love.  And God is all about love!

Me: True.

TG: I mean, isn’t love supposed to be a good thing?

Me: I always thought so.

TG: And abortions, I mean, aren’t Christians supposed to be forgiving?

Me: I remember something about that.

TG: They are!  


TG: It doesn’t make sense.

Me (softly): No, it doesn’t.

For a twelve-year-old, I thought she handled it pretty well.  And I owed her more than a pure teacherly “what do you think?” response, because she wanted to know that I was taking her seriously.   There’s a time to be neutral, and a time to own where you stand.  She seemed to need to know that I had a view, and what it was.  This wasn’t an attempt to set policy for an institution; it was a father trying to help his daughter square her moral sense with what she had heard.  And to recognize that sometimes, they won’t square, and you have to make a choice.

She’ll have more choices to make.  I hope she’ll keep asking.  

Brilliant girl!Help writing an essay

American Catholic here. My husband and I chose to send all three of my children to Catholic grade school and high school, the same school my husband and I both attended. As a "liberal," my views and the views that my children have learned/are learning in school don't always match. It's made for some tough and good conversations as they've matured. My oldest son mostly sides with the strict Catholic teaching positions (as does my husband), and he is still respectful of my viewpoints. Now that he is a freshman in college in a much more liberal city than our hometown, he sometimes struggles with the hard conversations - but he engages in them respectfully and has thanked me for helping to prepare him for those discussions. Son #2 is straddling the conservative/liberal line and daughter is leaning liberal. We'll see how it all works out.

Please encourage TG to stay engaged in the Catholic faith. We need insiders with a liberal viewpoint to challenge the institution to live up to the spirit of the faith.

good for TG ! thinking for herself, and compassionate, a fully Christian approach.

What bothers me about the US evangelical and US Catholic positions is that we don't know what Jesus thought about abortion or differently-gendered people, because He never mentioned it. We do know what he thought about helping poor people and the oppressed, because he told us many times that we should be doing this. Yet those groups slavishly adhere to positions that Jesus did not consider important enough to talk about, while consistently repudiating the charity that He did preach.

Even the apostle Paul did not condemn Muslims or the differently-gendered,
"there neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
This makes me sad both as a teacher and a Catholic 'cause the CCD teacher isn't actually presenting what the Church teaches. (I'm assuming that what TG reported is what the teacher actually said, which seems like a safe bet given how thoughtful she sounds and how dreadful a lot of CCD can be.) The Church obviously identifies particular actions as sinful, but anyone who's equating feelings or attractions or identities with sin, or who's saying that certain sins aren't forgivable, isn't teaching Catholicism.
as to the dogs, Pope Francis famously said in 2014,
"One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God's creatures."
I trust the Pope.

I am not Catholic, but am Evangelical. My husband is a minister, we spent nine years in South Africa as missionaries, so I "serious" about my faith. What most bothers me about what your daughter's teacher said was that she made a blanket statement about who was and was not going to heaven. We cannot judge a person's salvation. Only God can do that. When I have been asked questions by middle and high school students in classes I have taught, my response has been this, "God is a fair judge. Whatever he decides, no one will be able to say that he was not fair and just in his determinations." The other thing is that forgiveness is a big part of all of Christianity (and Judaism for that matter). As far as Catholicism and confession go, most Catholics who die have "unconfessed" sins because people don't usually drop dead as they leave the confession booth. So, from my perspective as a Protestant, the teacher is really doing the Christian belief in God's grace as a gift to humanity such a great disservice that there are no words to emphasize how strongly I disagree with her hard line regarding sin. The real tenet of Christianity is that we are all sinners in need of God's mercy and grace. Yes, some sins are worse than others (intentional murder). However, I am not sure what the difference is between sex two people outside of marriage in a relationshipor sex between two homosexual people in a relationship. Of course, as an Evangelical Christian, our current "hook-up culture" is something I find worse than any extramarital sex between people in committed relationships (in monogamous relationships of any kind). IMHO, this teacher has lost touch with her own need for God's grace and mercy to not only teach such a hard line, but to think that she can judge for God who will or will not be saved. Only God can judge the heart.
Yep. There are no good answers to those questions.

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