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Walking the dogma

Let your kids discuss their spirituality


Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. --- Mark 10:15

Look, I don't want to be another hokey Hallmark advertisement cramming "child-like wonder" down your throat. Indeed, child-like wonder can easily give way to childish naiveté, which the world decidedly does not need right now. But what can a little openness to creative possibility hurt?

I have neighbors who curse the snow and stomp off looking for their shovels while my family dashes around catching it on our tongues. Likewise, some Christians arrogantly insist on Christmas. But most of my friends and I prefer to dance around in it like the wide-eyed little children we are at our best.

I like to tell members of the church I serve, but especially the youth, that it is an exceedingly good idea to walk the dogma --- that is, to take one's core beliefs and governing principles out and around the neighborhood for some exercise, interaction, and a good sniff. Religion needs to be socialized out of bad habits. It needs to have its horizons expanded with regular exploration. It needs to learn when to back away from a challenge, and how to be friendly, but respectful. Keep it on its leash on the streets, of course. Let it run and play in the wide-open spaces.

All of this is just to say please don't take offense if my kids wish you a Merry Christmas. In fact, if you return a Happy Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice, they'll most likely respond with genuine interest in your beliefs. If you offer a profession of unbelief, they'll probably ask you about that before they move along. They mean no harm in their greetings. Please mean no harm in your response.

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