I generally stay as far as I can from politics and religion here. I prefer not to alienate people, as those topics tend to do. So I hope I don't offend when I say that I am currently not a church-goer.
I was raised by Anglican parents in England, and we attended church from time to time, but not regularly. My memories of the times we did go usually include a grumpy old man at the front warning of hell and damnation, and my siblings and me bored stiff and giggling hysterically in the back, every adult in our immediate vicinity very rightfully giving us the evil eye, my parents embarrassed and uncomfortably reminded of why we didn't do this every week. What I don't remember is feeling particularly spiritual. This is not to say that I couldn't feel spiritual in church, and I believe there are many dynamic ministers (or the equivalent, depending on the faith) out there today who want to keep their religion relevant to modern life. If I ever find a church that I think is a good fit for me, I'll happily go.
As I've gotten older, I've come to my own conclusions about my spirituality. I still associate myself most closely with Christianity, and I try every day to live a Christian life. However, I won't discount the ideas of other religious groups, because I firmly believe that claiming my own religion to be the true religion and any other as false would be the height of arrogance. I believe I'm what you'd call a Unitarian.
In any case, I feel that one's spirituality is a very personal matter, and one not to be reached through fear or forcefeeding. So when Firstborn reached an age where he had questions about his own mortality and the fate of his soul, it was a tricky business.
The Captain, who is more wise and logical than I am, met my arguments about not wanting to overly influence our kids with the very good point that a little boy can only comprehend so much, and that maybe the idea that there is a heaven would be comforting to him. The Captain is a smart guy, and if it wasn't for him, I probably would've made some hippie-dippy statement about "figuring out your own belief system, man" which wouldn't have helped Firstborn at all. So, we told him that there is a God who created the whole world, and that when you die, you go to heaven because you were good, and then you get to do whatever you want. And since he learned this, he has walked around here talking about God and heaven with all the enthusiasm of a born-again Christian on a mission to save the souls of everyone around him.
Firstborn says a lot of funny things, about everything you can imagine. Last night, when he couldn't remember Pat Sajak's name, he called him "The boss of Wheel of Fortune." Hysterical! So of course, with his newfound religious convictions, there have been a few moments that have left me stifling a giggle. Here are my favourites:
"Does God have a last name?"
"Does God have legs?"
"I want to write a letter to God. We'll have to get a plane to get it all the way up there though."
"When I go to heaven, I'm going to eat cookies all the time!"
When my kids say and do the hilarious things they do, I marvel at the power they have to create joy out of nothing. They are a gift from God indeed.