On Saturday night, I took my children to a holiday dinner at my mother’s church. For the record, church is something like I no longer “do” for a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with the lack of analysis and participation in most churches. I grew up during the era of “don’t ever ask questions, just pray and have faith and trust that God has all the answers even if you don’t know what is really going on in your life and a lot of things just don’t make sense. Keep your eyes closed and stay on your knees!” Thankfully there are churches today that allow for just a little more participation that that! I have been to some of those and find them to be a good start. But I digress…

At this holiday dinner, there was good food and an excellent program! There was modern dance, spoken word, singing (good and bad!) and a whole lot of other fun activities — even breakdancing! Very positive. But one thing that struck me on the negative side was the way that many adults felt about the little children playing.

My three children along with three other youngsters were having a ball, running and playing in the hallway (outside the main room) and sometimes laughing and waving and joking (inside the main room). For their antics, they received many a disapproving frown, a lot of “shush!” and my husband and I were both approached (at two separate times) with a strongly-worded request that we keep the children quiet. It seemed to me that adults had a great appreciation for the children, as long as they were on-stage singing, dancing or otherwise looking cute and performing for the Lord. But outside of that, the children were seen as a nuisance and a bother.

Now I went to church for many years and I remember a lot of the Bible and the lessons that were taught. One that stands out for me vividly is “Suffer ye the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Is that verse out of fashion these days? I don’t remember Jesus saying “Suffer ye the little children to come unto me but keep their little behinds quiet or you’ll be asked to leave.” No disrespect but if they have as many stringent rules and regulations in the Kingdom of Heaven as they do in some churches these days…well, let’s just say that the experience left me feeling not too joyful. ‘Nuff said.

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