As a kid, the concept of life beyond what we know here and now is limited to exactly those things that repel a kid — Bible study, Sunday school, little old ladies you can’t relate to who walk slowly and stoop down to you, saying, “my how you’ve grown,” a squeaky clean antiseptic world of wafers and wine, dark sanctuaries and organ music in minor keys. Tell me — what kid wouldn’t trade a sanctuary’s lemon pledge smell for that of piles of decaying leaves and dogs and firecrackers, where childhood is alive?
So years later, in order to connect with these same subjects of life, death and what else there is between the two, I am back there, and it looks even more superficial than it did back then. I have to separate the way faith — of any religion — is introduced to us as children from what faith’s potential is when it rises to the occasion at times like this.
It can’t be a cartoon Jesus and a rousing chorus of This Little Light of Mine led by the Church Lady next to an open box of cross-shaped donuts.