The most important fact you need to know about me above being a mom, wife, or writer is that I am a “Jesus freak.” All good DC Talk lovin’ 90s kids know exactly what I’m talking about. I believe in God and trust in what Jesus Christ did for me when he died a gruesome death on the cross. Call me crazy, but I have no doubts whatsoever about Jesus rising from the grave three days after being pronounced dead. I guess it could seem far-fetched to some people, basically a fairytale. But this is one fairytale I’m living! Periodically, people make comments to me about not being “religious” but they respect my decision to be; as if they think that’s what I am—religious. And yes, I understand that Christianity is technically a religion. But let me be clear when I say I am NOT a follower of religion or at least not the connotation this word evokes nowadays, nor will I teach my children to be. Confused yet? Allow me to explain.
I am not just a moral person who completes her churchly duties once a week and follows the code of religious decorum. I have no desire to solely go through religious motions, learning who God is and believing He exists (the devil himself even concludes that); rather I aspire to truly know Him. I crave a relationship with Him, and I desire my kids to come to know Him the way that I do. He is my best friend. The One I cried to when my earthly best friend was taken from me by cancer and other loved ones passed away. The One I voice my complaints to about hurt feelings, corrupt politics, and “Christians” who love not and judge ignorantly (to name a few). The One who helps me see the good in the darkest of situations and in the most loathsome of people. He is my hope when there seems to be none and my faith when nothing makes sense.
So do I want my kids to go to church just because it’s “the right thing to do”? Absolutely not! I want them to be church to every person they come in contact with. I would rather them know to love and serve others with big hearts than for them to memorize the entire New Testament and wear their perfect religiosity out for everyone to see. I desire for my children to throw out the scripted prayers and the churchy behavior and instead embrace a real relationship with Christ!
You can guarantee I will never tell my children that our religion is of utmost importance and everything in life hangs on it and our faithfulness to church. But I will teach them that Jesus is life itself, and He is the only person who will never disappoint them. Christians will fail. Church will fail. Religion will fail. But Christ will conquer! What I really want my kids to know is summed up in the lyrics of one of my favorite songs “Love You With the Truth” by Casting Crowns.
This is why I refuse to teach my children religion. But I will teach them about new life, hope, faith, grace, mercy, unconditional love, and service. I will teach them Christ. He is where religion ends and relationship begins.
To read more about my feelings on this topic, see “An Open Letter To My Children, the Preacher’s Kids.”