Santa God

May 26, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

Probably my mother talked my dad into my going to Sunday school.  It was in second grade.  I don’t imagine that Dad considered Sunday school on his own.

Jack Lipshultz and Jimmy Hart were going, so I had a ride.  It all seemed kinda weird to me, going to a school on Sunday that was about religion.  But, I was game.

Earlier in school, I’d heard some friends talking about Jesus.  I knew we weren’t Christian, but I wasn’t clear on what exactly were our beliefs.  I asked my mom if we believed in Jesus.  She answered that we believed Jesus was a great man but not God.  OK, I thought.  What’s the big argument?

Sunday school had been in session for a couple weeks when I walked in and took a seat near the back of the class.  I was nervous.  Pictures were taped above the chalkboard in the front of the room where the teacher was talking.  The pictures were from the previous week’s assignment.  They were second-grader’s crayon drawings of God.

Whoa!  People got to draw in Sunday school.  People got to draw God!

There were pictures of smiling guys, more stick figure than anything else.  There were the abstracts.  Some looked like images of nature.  One kid drew a picture of Santa Claus.  I was excited.  Sunday school looked to be major fun.

Then there were the assemblies.  It seemed like every week there were assemblies.  They were as boring as regular school assemblies, except the guys on stage talked in a language I couldn’t understand.  Then, every once in a while, all together, everyone in the room would say a couple lines of this very foreign language.

I couldn’t even pronounce the rabbi’s name.  I felt like an outsider.  I had no clue what was going on.  Still, I had no clue in a good way.  This was weird, almost interesting stuff.  And, I got to draw.

Sunday school ended at about the same time as regular school and glorious, unconfusing summer cranked into gear.  One weekend afternoon, I bounced into my parents’ bedroom, where my dad stood above his desk frowning at a piece of paper he’d just retrieved from the mail.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“You don’t want to go to Sunday school next year, right? It costs me $150 if you want to go!”

I lied.  I said I didn’t want to go.  That was my religious education.


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