Your child is not a Christian

Recently while listening to Richard Dawkins’, “The God Delusion,” I had to pause and let some of his words wash over me—they were cleansing, if you will.

I won’t quote him directly, but here’s the jist:

**There can be indoctrinated children, and there can be children of Christian parents, but there are zero Christian children.**

Obviously, a few years ago I would have wanted to battle back and proclaim that MY children were believers and students of the Holy book. I would’ve scrambled to find the flaw in his statement—- but deep in my noggin, I would’ve been arguing, not with Dawkins, but with my own indoctrination.

As much as I would’ve wanted to believe my kids WERE Christian kids, the truth was—every belief they possessed came directly from me or the Bible stories I’d allowed them to learn. Sure they knew scripture, but how did they learn it? –Me, a curriculum I’d chosen, a class I’d taken them to… Sure they knew the prayers, but how did they know who to pray to and the format of recitation? Me! These weren’t things they would’ve ever approached on their own. They were simply babies who wanted to PLAY! But my kids were my echo chambers, they were simply regurgitating by beliefs right back out at me. It’s scary to think how deeply I had sculpted their entire world view and reality. Shits terrifying, man. Wheeeew. Breathe. Even scarier is the way some folks never realize what they are doing….

Fortunately for me now, as a deconstructed exvangelical, when I read Dawkins’ words, I was in complete and total agreement. It was actually freeing to hear someone else saying what I knew from my own childhood and in raising my kids.

Every single attempt at raising Godly kids is a form of indoctrination. From reciting scripture, creeds, and prayers at young ages, to attending weekly services, to routines of the home. Every time a parent intentionally places their belief system into the mind of their child, they are indoctrinating that child. Every time a child declares they are saved or that they’ve had a God experience, it is simply a replication of what they’ve witnessed from adults around them or is a fictitious response to hormones released in emotional situations. Again, a fabrication of that child’s reality set up by someone else.

Children are born religion free. Again, when a baby is born, their brain has zero knowledge of any religion. Yet, they are divine. They come to us with an awe-struck curiosity for the mystical experiences of nature. They are bright eyed and eager to explore, they worship in the form of wonder. Wouldn’t it be grand to approach guiding them, with that same joy of learning that they implore. When THEY ask about God, faith, sins, the devil, as parents we show excitement and present them with timelines of all the major world religions, allowing them to see for themselves the bigger picture. There is NO indoctrination in that method. And, there is no right answer, therefore no pressure to conform out of fear.

I remember the fear that being a Christian places within parents. The “their blood is on your hands,” approach to training up children. Hell, I pulled my kids from school so I COULD INDOCTRINATE them to think like me.

I remember feeling afraid when they “sinned.” I remember crying out to God that he would guard their hearts. I spent literal nights awake trying to envision a way to best teach them so they’d know God’s Love….

But now I see, if you look at your child as a fallen being to be saved, you’ve lost the chance at letting the magic of life teach them. Their own Life is their best teacher. You are cutting them off from their own flow when you’ve set the default state of being as a religious one. They have very little chance at growing beyond that default setting, and for many Christians that is their hope.

How sad. But that’s what you get when generation after generation sits in the church pew and never does the work of thinking. You get uneducated worldviews, partnered with indoctrinated beliefs, sculpted into little robotic beings, passing off their ideals as the ONLY right way, all the way into their adulthood, and this then repeats itself with their children. And it’s ALL misinformation, but they live from default because it’s safe and requires no conscious effort to learn new ways and new information.  It’s frankly, an irresponsible way to live.

For me and for my children, I did the work of reprogramming my default settings. They will not have to deconstruct, they will not have to “go astray” or “leave the fold.” Together, we are free to let Wonder, Curiosity, and Life be our teachers. Please join me in ending the brain-washing of our youth-they deserve better. They deserve to be the joyful explorers that they were literally born being. Let us, as adults, give our children the space they need to be here, free from your default settings.

Thanks for reading! XO

Glorious Girl, a poem

So you’re turning 14

That’s a big number to mommy

You’re turning 14

I didn’t know it’d be this hard on me

See, when I was 14, I let my divinity go…

I cut my beautiful hair, I traded in lion king panties for lacy underwear

I went from having never been kissed to loving someone deeply, and being completely dismissed

At 14, my first heartbreak left me different but not totally broken

with threads of insecurity, my heart was stitched up but gaps were still open

At 14, I watched on confused as the light of innocence left me

Hell was coming, no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how much they preached grace, I still knew my place

After every sin, I knew I’d need to repent again,

and so this game of guilt and shame was one I could not win

At 14, I understood fear to be the driving force, behind every single of one my life’s choices

It wasn’t about following my heart, it wasn’t about using my smarts, I’d only be okay if I learned early to play it safe, stay inside the boundaries so I’d be covered by grace

At 14, deep longings for more, resounded in my spirit, but because of indoctrination the flow of life couldn’t heal it. My divinity whispered for me to draw near, but I simply could not hear it.

See, I didn’t know I was still perfectly precious, I didn’t know I was still totally infectious, Being a sinner is what I let define me, not the amazing woman who was hiding inside me

So, Baby girl I just have to share, you carry a warrior’s glare and you have a mighty stare,

Your wear your armor daily with your strands of gold and copper hair

YOU know your truth and with YOUR hands you build your empire, and don’t forget like a dragoness, my girl you can breathe fire,

Your veins hold the pulsing of women

who fought so hard to be here, hold up your hands and cup their courage should you ever find yourself in need, dear

You have fierce wisdom of Athena

And great beauty of Aphrodite

Put them together and channel that strength, it’s beyond almighty

In your mind you carry the intuition of Dione and you hold wilderness of Artemis, listen to the call from within, she won’t leave you mistaken

Baby girl, at 14, you can begin to manifest your dreams, you can leave people behind if they don’t align, don’t feel guilty and deep down just know, that’s how you grow

And don’t you for one second think a mess-up is reflective of who you are, when wounded be proud of your scars, and deep down in the marrow of your bones, know your beauty, your truth, and your worth.

And baby girl at 14, when insecurity creeps in, acknowledge her presence but don’t let her win, make her an acquaintance but not a close friend,

Remember you earned your place on this earth, you get to be here for this moment in time, and though you’re only 14, you’re able to see, that this in itself is truly divine

When mommy set out to write this for you, I let my mind go back in time, I don’t know why but I started to cry and so I stayed there for awhile.

That girl was beautiful with a heart of gold and smile she could not hide, but oh the sadness, such sadness were hiding in those green eyes.

I saw the Universe in those eyes, and I heard a whisper in the wind, you, JUST you, you are enough, so I let that voice rage from within,

I placed my arm around that girl sitting to my side, I said- chin up sister, it’s a matter of time, you’re gonna be just fine,

I gave her a hug and left her there

because 14 year old me, could not see it, much less try to live out and be it…

My baby girl now, I’m calling you out, I see your glory, your beauty, your grandeur….and at 14, if there’s only one thing you let engulf you and fill you up, please let it be that warrior raging within, “I KNOW I AM more than enough.”

Written by-Stacy Johnson, April 13, 2018

I wrote this last year on the eve of my daughter’s 14th birthday. I needed to channel the energy I was feeling into something positive, as 14 was a tricky year for me…

MY GLORIOUS GIRL:

******Today, I watched that 14 year old, stand before 150 high school band students and play a solo. A 3 minute piece that captured the magical essence that is my daughter. You see, my girl had only picked up a saxophone 9 months ago. Her teacher didn’t believe her when she told him she’d be first chair by Christmas, but SHE believed in herself, and that’s all she’ll ever need. She is not only first chair, but was was chosen to do that solo, I couldn’t have been prouder to watch her play up there. I witnessed the anxiety ridden tears throughout the week, but SHE GOT UP THERE AND NAILED IT. She cupped that courage and it paid off. I cried. And I’m giddy. She’s brave.

Thank you to:

My sister over at The Irresponsible Blogger, she reminded me that today was International Women’s Day and this poem goes right along with celebrating women, healing women, and empowerment of women. Thank you for reading, Friends!

My BEST GIRLS and Me (plus one sleeping lil guy):