When my wife and I finally had the awkward discussion with her Mom about the fact that we were not raising the kids religiously, one of the questions she asked us was, “What are they going to turn to during the hard times in their lives?” Now, I did have a bit of ammo to respond to that question because I had lost my dad a few years ago after I had let go of religion and got through that with the help of my family and my friends. But recently, I also realized that there was something else I turned to during those tough months, as well as other times in my life. Anytime I needed a boost, or felt emotional, or needed to de-stress, it was there for me when I needed it. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize what a pillar of my life this has become.
I was a nervous flyer in college, so before every takeoff, I would put on Best Of The Doors and crank it (Touch Her was my favorite take off song). Before big exams, my favorite pump up track was The Movie, an Aerosmith instrumental track at the end of Permanent Vacation. Before our intramural basketball games, we would put on the Rocky soundtrack. Before dates, after breakups, before work on Mondays, after work on Fridays, before long drives…there was always a soundtrack going on in the background. Even at my most religious, anytime I wanted to find inspiration, or feel melancholy, or reminisce, I didn’t look to scripture, I turned on my stereo.
This is more true today than it was 10 years ago.
So if religious people can turn to their faith during difficult times and find comfort, good for them, but that’s not the only answer. For me, music is one of the things that I turn to. And it is not static, non-changing, and rigid. Instead, it changes, grows, and evolves (he-he) with me. John 3:16 ain’t got nothin’ on Springsteen Live 1975-85.
It’s getting scary out there.
My sister and I were talking over Thanksgiving about how inquisitive both of our oldest daughters are. They are both in 1st Grade, although mine is about 6 months younger than hers. She was telling me about how her daughter asked her about where people came from. My sister, (who is a big pro-Evolution type and has expressed some anti-religious sentiments in the past, although she still goes to Catholic Mass and has her kids enrolled in a private Catholic school), started telling her about natural selection and Darwinism before noticing a bewildered look on her daughter’s face. Then she just said, “Because that’s how God decided to make us.” “That seemed to stop the questions,” my sister told me.
Yeah, no kidding.
I know that answering tough questions like that from a 6 year old can be difficult, but doesn’t invoking God kill the conversation? Isn’t that squashing curiosity and discouraging further inquiry?
My daughter asked me a few weeks ago, “Where did the first human come from?” and I went into a convoluted 5 minute explanation of how humans turned into humans slowly from other animals who also came from other animals and so forth. It wasn’t pretty and maybe didn’t make sense at first, but it encouraged several follow-up questions that let me fine tune my answers and make sure she was (kinda) getting what I was saying.
I know I don’t have all the answers, but I don’t ever want my kids being intellectually satisfied with that dreaded 3 word answer to any question: “God did it.” And hopefully they won’t be.
The Bible makes SO MUCH more sense if you read it as everyone in it is a stand up comic.
"Moreover, I do not allow a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man. Instead, she is to be quiet."
"Am I right, fellas? Heeeeey-ooooo!"
- 1 Timothy 2:12