Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hm. Religoius recital

My daughter has been taking guitar lessons for the last 6 months or so. She's learned to read music, and though I have to remind her to practice, she's at least getting musical proficiency.

Within the last month we've switched guitar instructors to someone more local - saves me a 20 - 25 minute drive down to about 5 minutes. So that's fine.

Yesterday I didn't take her - I had a long day at work, and My Lovely Wife offered to take my daughter to practice instead. That was fine. I kept working on dinner so when they came back it would all nice and hot.

After dinner was served, my daughter told me in breathless tones about how she would get to play in a recital. For a Christmas recital. At a church!

"Hmmm." I said. Not very nicely, to be honest.

My wife looked at me. "What's that 'hmmm' about?"

This is where I mention that the music shop where Emily gets her lessons is a music/Christian book store. I know what you're thinking. "John, aren't you a Christian?"

Yeah. I am. I'm also a gamer, but you don't see me hanging a Game Boy around my neck either. I take very seriously the idea that "let not your left hand know what your right hand does" - the stuff that Jesus talked about that said you don't wear your religion on your sleeve for the praise of man, but just do your job. Be nice to people. Help the poor and the sick and the needy.

The idea that you'd wear an instrument of torture around your neck to show off how much you believe honestly offends me. That you need your own branch of music and literature to be "pure enough" bugs me as well - we're suppose to live in the world, not separate ourselves from it.

And to be honest, some of my own personal history coming through. I was plagued as a teenager by people trying to "save me" from being a Mormon (since evidently believing in Jesus as the Son of God, the resurrection, the atonement, and that the guy walked on water isn't good enough for some people out there). They'd bring up the stupidest things ("Do you really believe women are eternally pregnant in heaven?")

Now, up until this point, I kind of ignored the store's secondary function. I noticed the cross earrings and the video tapes of cartoons for children taking them on a tour through the history of the bible. It was there, I didn't care. I was there for my daughter's guitar lessons.

And then, she's invited to play at a church.

Yeah. I have a problem with it. I have a problem because now I'm worried the first time my daughter says "Uh huh - I was baptized and my daddy did it in California".

Then someone says "What church do you go to".

And my daughter says "I go to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

And then someone gives me The Look, and they try to "convert" my daughter, or my family. Or tell her she doesn't go to a "real" church. Or start arguing about whether their God is bigger than my God or some stupid crap like that. Those that know me know I won't just be able to let it go. Odds are, I'll be sarcastic at first as a warning of "Hey, let's not discuss this, I'm not going to get into your arguments." Then if they get pushing I'll use reason as a "Does it really matter, let's just focus on something else."

Then I'll get mean.

Maybe I'm worrying too much about it. Maybe I'm projecting my own negative experiences onto the situation. Maybe I should just go, not worry about it, and let things fall as they may.


Lakidaa said...

The last church I went to was in California, in Vacaville (outside of Sacramento, next to Edwards AFB), was a teeny podunk sort of place, in a rented business building.

It wasn't bad at all; they were honestly nice. Really, the best thing for you to do would be to do a dry run; check the place out. Or something like that. v(._.)v

John Hummel said...

@lakidaa: That's not a bad idea at all. Next time I go to the guitar practice, I'll ask for the name and address of the church, go one Sunday, and honestly say "My daughter wants to play a Christmas recital here, and I'm checking the place out to make sure you guys aren't cultists or something."

That probably is the best way.