Disaster has befallen the house: Katie is exploring religion.
Actually I don't mind — in fact, it's kind of interesting watching the "recruiting" process. It all started with a new friend of hers. They've spent a good bit of time together lately, there have been some overnight stays, and at least one of these was a Saturday night followed by a Sunday morning service. This kid's mom approached this proposal (and us) a bit cautiously — I'm not sure what information has been passed on to her exactly, but she seemed to be on uncertain ground talking to us, like we were going to recoil in horror or sprout devil horns or something.
Katie's report on the experience was about what I expected. She enjoyed the music and was indifferent about the message. She mentioned there was a discussion about nonbelievers and their eventual fate, and I wondered if bugs were dropped in ears to make sure this particular message got across. It didn't do much good either way... she said she didn't like it, didn't like not fitting in with that crowd, and didn't plan to go back.
There have been phone calls since and a postcard thanking her for attending, asking her to come back and bring friends, that kind of thing. Nothing too severe, but a marketing effort nonetheless.
Now my commentary.
I'm fine with her looking into this and trying it out. I tried on all sorts of skins at that age before settling on one I could live with. I'm seeing this as part of that process. And for the record, I have absolutely no intention of steering her in one direction or another. I don't intend to steer either kid toward religion or away from it. Being a "nonbeliever" doesn't mean I'm obligated to promote that lack of belief, but I'll admit others feel like they are, just as some (not all) faithful feel they must promote their faith. It seems like I once heard "spreading the good news" is one of the tenets of some denominations. I may be misremembering that, but if it's true it wouldn't surprise me.
Anyway, I think that's a flawed approach. Faith is inherently an internal process and something each person in the world must approach on his or her own terms. I think I've been pretty careful about that over the years, pitching things in terms of "some people believe this, some people believe that" and not really favoring one point of view over another. I suppose a lack of religious activity is favoring a viewpoint in a way, but that's a pretty passive way to do it, and it's really not "anti" anything unless I make it that way.
I'm not, and I won't. These kids are going to believe what they choose, and they will eventually be satisfied with their choices. I can't imagine doing it any other way.