Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Christening

My daughter announced a few days ago that she wanted to be christened.

She did this rather pointedly, in front of my churchgoing mum and dad. I would have struggled to get her to change the subject had it not been so close to tea-time. A quick: “What would you like in your sandwich, darling?” did the trick.

You see, I don’t really want to get her christened. Because I don’t believe in all that ‘magic being’ stuff, the idea of it makes me squirm.

We do do God in this house a bit. We talk about people going to heaven, even though I think it’s ridiculous, and my girl goes bananas for the story of the Nativity, but she’s a child. She likes God and baby Jesus, in the same way she likes Father Christmas, and I’m not mean enough to break the spell for her.

This makes me a hypocrite, of course. I fully admit this. I got married in church, not because I needed to declare my love for my husband in front of an imaginary omnipotent entity in the sky, but because I knew it would mean a lot to my mum. I said so in my speech at the reception, in fact, telling the guests I’d agreed to get married in church as long as Mum agreed to cook me Sunday dinner every week until she dies. (16 years on, that deal is still a stroke of genius on my part, I can tell you, although I have a feeling that after this blog entry I might have to dust off my roasting dish).

I have also stood up in church on more than one occasion, when taking on godparenting duties for family members and friends, and renounced the Devil. I squared this with myself by looking up the dictionary definition of ‘renounce’ and decided I could live with 'giving up or refusing to obey or recognise' a red, horny man with hooves.

But my daughter’s interest in being christened got me thinking. Should I do it for her? If it’s something she really wants, should I swallow my pride and logic and get happy clappy for her sake?

My answer came today, when my daughter came back from a school visit to a gurdwara in a nearby town. Still buzzing with excitement after her look around the Sikh temple, my daughter explained that her religious plans had changed.

“I’m changing over, Mum. I don’t want to be christened. I’m going to be a Sikh. I want to be baptised in a gurdwara. I wrote it in my thankyou letter.”

I managed to maintain a straight face.

“So what made you change your mind? Why?”

She looked at me and beamed.

“Because I love curry.”

Video is Elvis Costello - Beyond Belief

2 comments:

  1. Hello,
    To answer your question, religion is something so personal that even in a same family, we can have such different views.
    My mom is Jewish, my dad is Christian. I've been raised between French and English also (dad's wife is American).

    You can explain to your daughter that a Christian can love curry as well. Loving a certain type of food doesn't mean that you have to change religion.
    At her age (maybe a bit before), I was questioning myself about religion, about "who I am religiously speaking". Even typical teenagers can be in the same questioning.
    Of course, with PWS, she questions herself on this topic differently than typical teenagers, but the core question remains the same as her peers.
    And this is the most important. It's perfectly normal whatever the disability.

    Why won't you make her let go to the church and speak with other persons ?
    You can make her let discover the different religious currents in a same religion.
    To give you an example in the Jewish religion (which I know best), the main currents are the orthodox and liberal. In a liberal synagogue, women and men are together, but in an orthodox synagogue, they are separated. In a liberal synagogue, you can meet women rabbis, not in an orthodox synagugue.
    I don't think that PWS and being christianized are an absolute no no. But it's a long path before it happens. Let Josie and yourself take your time about this topic, there is no reason to rush. It's not a question you have to answer tomorrow, or within an hour.

    And if you feel really too ill at ease about this topic, don't be afraid of letting someone take over you.
    Don't be afraid of speaking with the pastor about this matter, with and without Josie.
    Don't be afraid of asking your church how can we make Josie benefit most from cathechism, if she can get a 1:1 aide during cathechism or so.
    I'm sure your pastor will be happy to see Josie involved because she wants to be involved (not because someone else obliged her to be involved).
    I'm also sure that Josie understands on this topic more than you imagine. She has difficulties to understand abstracts concepts, but she understands the most important in every religion : unconditional love.

    Also, take this point of "becoming Christian or Sikh" to explain to her that even if we honor God on different ways, the core message is the same : love, forgiving, mercy...
    Try to explain her also the similarities between religions, not only the differences. Or let someone explain to her if you feel ill at ease.

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