Monday, November 26, 2007

The Displeasure Principal (Or, Camp Esther)

Last night I finally watched the excellent (and frightening) documentary Jesus Camp. I realize I'm about a year behind the curve here, but what can I say.

Watching this film made me entirely grateful that I was raised in a tolerant family. I'm not against organized religion at all, but I am wholeheartedly against the hypocritical "license to judge" that sometimes comes with membership to religious groups (specifically the zealous Christian Evangelicals profiled in Jesus Camp).

Anyway, my point here is not to spew from my tiny leftist soapbox.

Growing up, one of my best friends went to church every Sunday. Occasionally, he would tell me about how fun Sunday School was. And once, after hearing such a tall tale of kickin' it with Christ on Sunday, I asked my mother:

"Why don't we go to church?"

My mother - ever the diplomat of child development - asked me:

"Do you want to go to church?"

"Yeah. It sounds like fun."

And so, to satisfy my curiosity, we went the following Sunday with my friend's family.

I'm not exactly sure what I thought was going to happen at Sunday School, but I'll just say this:

It.

Sucked.

Instead of making me feel at ease in this new environment, my Sunday School teacher immediately started drilling me - the new kid - with questions about the Bible in front of the 20-odd children in class.

"Name the twelve apostles," I was quickly commanded by Mr. Sadist On-Sunday.

I broke out in a sweat, feeling the eyes of all of the other kids on me. I honestly had no clue where to start with the assignment at hand and my mind started latching onto the only Biblical names I knew:

"Moses?"

"No."

"Uh...Noah?"

"No."

At this point, I was ready to cause a distraction ("Look! There's Jesus!") so I could barrel out the door in a fevered jail-break.

All I could think was: "If I can't mind my mother upstairs, I'll just go stand outside by the car for an hour or two...or go get a Clamwich at the Friendly's across the street."

I was trapped - sweating - and hate-hate-hating this thing called Sunday School.

I went for broke with the only other Biblical name I could think of. I had seen a semi-glamorous TV movie with Victoria Principal somewhere around that time, so I said:

"Queen Esther?"

The teacher then called me - ever so sensitively - an idiot.

How's that for the love of Christ?

On the car ride home, my mom could sense something was up.

"We don't have to go back, do we?" she asked me.

In knowing gratitude, I just shook my head no.

3 comments:

TWISI said...

I was raised in a religious family and carry that faith with me today, but Jesus Camp scared the hell out of me. I have NEVER come across Christians like the one portrayed in the movie and hope I never do.

JOE * to * HELL said...

noooo. queen esther didnt arrive until 2000 years later in a small town in michigan

after that, she achieved international creamy, smooth pop icon status (she became "the queen of pop").

when that proved less-than-fulfilling, she turned to the prophecies of the aforementioned religious studies and became at one with them. thats when she put on her red string and became ESTHER.

queen esther of pop

can i get an amen up in here????

Darth Gateau said...

everyone knows that the most famous of the apostles were John, Paul, George and Ringo. Couldn't you have started with them?