Y’all know that I identify myself as a “Christian” (usually wincing because I hope people don’t identify me as a Christian with the political beliefs that accompany that label a la Bush).

And its very strange to me that I come across the opportunity (I don’t say “need” because really I don’t have to, just am challenged to) to defend being a Christian and taking my children to sunday school, and being a sunday school teacher.

I was reading Jay Lake who is a Portland Specfic writer and is usually good for a set of links to interesting issues and discoveries in the world.

He wrote about the law case against the Texas Polygamy sect.

And he wrote, regarding that sect, “…The followers of virtually all religions raise their children within their religious framework, and impose the moral and behavioral rules of their faith on their children. Why is this different? If you’re going to give social approval to religious upbringing, where does the line fall in picking-and-choosing? From my atheistic point of view, it’s all indoctrination, after all.”

When I first read it, of course I got huffy. Of course I wanted to say, “Lutheranism is different because its GOOD Christianity.” We don’t, for example, encourage children to have babies at age 13 or force them into marriages.

I try to explain by discussing my view on religions, which says, religion is good when it helps people to cope with living in THIS world and is not good when it causes conflict and suffering among its members.

But in the comments to Jay Lake’s post (and he’s got lots of thoughtful, polite commenters, so it was well worth reading) someone found a better way of saying it:

“I offer up a quote from Islamic scholar Abdal-Hakim Murad: “True religion invites us to become better people. False religion tells us that this has already occurred.”

(from gvdub)

We have to walk a microscopic line between allowing freedom of religion and protecting citizens in this country. I am glad that the Texas authorities are attempting to pick apart this legal and ethical muddle.

And also along these lines, recently I expressed my dismay to a friend that I had done something hurtful to another friend. And that friend (who is avowedly atheist and continues to express his suprise that I am christian) said something along the lines of “why are you so upset? Because you feel like you did something sinful? Cause you’re going to hell?”

And I wish I could have explained to him at the time that its not about going to hell or being afraid of sin. Its about trying to be the best person we can be. It’s about trying to live up to high expectations BECAUSE WE ARE LOVED.

It’s like wanting to make your father or mother proud because they’re you’re family.

It’s about love and the spreading of it.

(And not the spreading of misery or rules that make people miserable, or the spreading of doctrines that encourage people to kill each other)

And if that isn’t a hokey thing to write on a Sunday Morning, I don’t know what is.

But that’s what I try for. So there.