This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Inherited Religion

I come from a long line of Christians.  In that lineage are Catholics and Non-Catholics, evangelists and prayer warriors, pastors and missionaries.  Ok.  The missionary thing came along with my younger brother, but as a lineage with bi-directional implications, a couple of missionaries are in there.

You get my point though, right?  It would seem that ministry work, or at least religion, might be something that is passed down from generation to generation.  Certainly, there's an implication of it in future generations.  Or is there?

In a world where Christianity has apparently become a political leaning/agenda and more of a cultural issue than anything, I wonder what that means for me as a Christian Mom.

Conservatives raise little conservatives, who may stray into the liberal camp during college and  occasionally retreat to their conservative upbringing.  Liberals often find unity in sticking it to the man, that man usually represented by a middle-aged, white, upper-class C(c?)hristian man.  Lines being drawn, erased, moved back and re-drawn, leaving everyone who lay in neither camp, somewhere in the ever increasing gap which used to be "the greater good".

But, this is not a political post.  It's really not, I promise.

I've just recently come to the realization that being a Christ following mother of 4 is somewhat complicated by the fact that Christ is no longer treated as a Person in this country (world?), but more as a box I'm relegated to when discussing social issues.  Though, for me, party lines are irrelevant as it pertains to my firmly held beliefs.  I have registered with a party, with which I share certain values I have deemed as imperative, but I refuse to choose a representative solely based upon an affiliation.

Ok.  For real, this is not a political post.

My point in all of this is this question, "If being a follower of Christ is found in a personal relationship with the Person of Christ and having a life that reflects that relationship, how does one raise children into Christianity?"  If it were simply religion, or a bunch of strictly held social beliefs, it would be easy.  I could simply say, "Do this, don't do that, say this, don't say that." and not care if it meant anything to them, so long as I had a little robot-clone.  However, for me, that could never be the case.

I deeply desire that my children would know what it is to sit in His presence; to pray and truly know that He's listening; to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to them as they navigate this life.  As much as that is my deepest desire for my children, it's something I cannot MAKE happen.  It's also something I would never WANT to make happen.  I don't want to be a fake and I certainly don't want my kids to be big fakes either.

So, the other night, when my son said he wanted to ask Jesus to be his Savior and to start the journey that would make my deepest desire for him come true, I had two thoughts: (1) Have I done something where he feels like he HAS to do this right now, to which I answered no; and (2) Have I done something wrong that he didn't do this sooner, to which I also answered no.  You see, I have a strict philosophy that I will not ask my children leading questions relative to Jesus.  I refuse to encourage them to please me by not being themselves.  I value authenticity in others, and I expect it of myself.

I don't have any great advice, or heartwarming anecdotes in this post.  I just have thoughts.  Thoughts that tell me that Christianity is not some political agenda or affiliation.  Thoughts that tell me following Christ is not about the box I check when I'm filling out hospital paperwork or finding continuity with my families historical penchant for ministry work.  It's about me and Jesus.  That's it.  Further, that's what it has to be for my kids too, and if they can't make that genuine commitment until they are 12 or 32, it must be theirs to make.  

My role is simply to paint such a detailed picture of Christ in (with) my life, that when they meet Him they recognize Him immediately and want Him for themselves.  But, they can't have my Jesus, they have their own picture to paint.    

Ironically, I did not actually paint this picture of Jesus.
I just thought it was cool.