Monday, August 09, 2010

I Heart VBS

Roman Catholic Church
This week, for 3 glorious hours every single morning, I will be able to clean the house, plan dinner, blog, and otherwise GET MY WORK DONE without someone saying, "Mommy?" every 3.5 seconds.  And no - I haven't duct-taped anyone's mouth shut (well, I tried, but it didn't work).  The girls are happily ensconced at our local parish's vacation bible school, where they are being playfully indoctrinated with the tenets of the Catholic faith.   These tenets, I believe, include love for thy neighbor (Catholic or not) and an acknowledgment that we are all God's children, no matter our religious tradition.

The Great Synagogue - Sydney

I'm just kicking myself that I didn't think of this sooner.  I mean, we have at least 10 churches within a 5-mile radius of our house.  (There's a synagogue, too - but we Jews aren't down with the VBS scene, for some reason...)  If I had just thought to plan it out, I could have probably had the girls in someone else's care every morning all summer.

Islamic Center in Washington, DC

We've got an Islamic center nearby, too.  Do you think Muslims have vacation Koran school? Oh, look!  Here's a picture of a mosque in Washington, DC!

Hmmm...that's odd...this mosque doesn't seem to have precipitated terrorist attacks or a Muslim takeover of America, which some fearmongers would like us to believe is the inevitable result of allowing Muslims to practice freedom of religion in this country.  What's up with that, anyway?

Thank goodness there are those among us who have kept their heads in these confusing times and refuse to traffic in fear.

"Whenever there has been bloodshed allegedly in the name of one tradition or another, it's necessary to say, 'That's not what that tradition is about,'" Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center, said.

Thank you, Rabbi.  Indeed, the bloodshed represents not Islam but a tradition of hate, a tradition which the protesters down in Tennessee seem to be intent on perpetuating.

That goes for you, too,  Anti-Defamation League...

[Church photo: TurboPhoto]
[Synagogue photo: Sydney-city blog]
[Islamic Center photo: worldpress]


  1. I never did VBS for my kids--after my mom signed me up one run by a Baptist church (think Fire and Brimstone) when I was about 9 I have been a wee bit terrified of VBS.

  2. Sing it, sister! One of my favorite images is of the community neighbors of a local mosque sitting in front of its entrance, as a sort of ad hoc neighborhood watch, after the mosque had received threatening phone calls. Now /that's/ "love thy neighbor."

  3. I agree -- the anti-defamation league should be ashamed of themselves...

    You have to watch to whom you send your kids for VBS. I went with my kids to one where a teacher was bemoaning that the poor, poor people of Haiti sometimes had only red beans and rice for dinner! (Oh, the horror, eh?) Then they sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children", using a different racial stereotype for each verse. I can still hear them singing it through the microphones, "Jesus rroves the rrittorr chirdllen, arr the chirrden of the worr." You can imagine the pulling-eyes-diagonaly motion yourself.

  4. I just got done directing VBS. :)

  5. really, don't you know that's what sahm's do ... schedule vbs weeks throughout the summer?

    but if you volunteer to help well, that just defeats the purpose.

    enjoy your daily 3 hours.

  6. I taught VBS at our local church for several years when Laura was "VBS" age (ours stops at Grade 3). It was a fun week with games, music, crafts, snacks, and sweet parables about loving one another and such like. Spiritually uplifting and focused on touching young lives with love and connection.

    I love it when you "go there" in your posts. This was a great one.

  7. It's about community, caring, sharing, and loving others. At least, it's supposed to be.

    Our church has VBS in the evening because we have too many who can't show up to help in the mornings. My kids "graduated" from attending to helping when they hit middle school age.
    I scored this year and got to play with baby girls in the nursery instead. It was almost like getting 3 hours to myself, except I as enjoying sweetness and pink! And then I went home to my testosterone-fueled house.

  8. I guess if the Spanish Inquisition was in full swing right now people would be wary of a Catholic Church being built in their town, or sending their children to VBS there either. I can't say I am thrilled at the prospect of a group of people/religion who treat women with so little regard and respect building training centers in my city. (And that's wholly apart from the extreme terrorist fringe of the religion. It's all very well for some dude to say they are going to be tolerant, but then along comes some other extremist guy who says no lets blow them all up along with ourselves.)

  9. There are extremists in every religion. It was a Jewish extremist who shot Prime Minister Rabin in 1995; another Jewish extremist who went on a shooting rampage somewhere in the West Bank years ago. Christian extremists shoot abortion doctors. Some also oppress their women while quoting parts of St. Paul.

    Mainstream Muslim women in America are treated as equals by their husbands. The idea is to integrate Muslims into Western society, rather than to marginalize them. Marginalization fosters the extremism.

  10. 1. My sister and cousin shipped the kids off to VBS for week - you can not beat the price. My husband was afraid. Of course, he goes to work and leaves me with these two.

    2. Islam has been marginalized by the interpretations of men in much the same way Catholicism has.

    3. Did you read Time Magazine a few weeks ago? The one with the woman whose nose and ears had been cut off on the cover?

  11. Wouldn't it be grand to raise a generation of kids with the "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR" tenet drowning out all the rest of it?

  12. Here's my problem with the Mosque at Ground Zero thing. Why? Why there? I certainly understand that most Muslims are not extremists. I have known many a lovely and moderate Muslim (alright not many, but several) but to me there is some agenda-ish about the placement of this particular Mosque. If the non-extremist majority could be a little more outspoken against the extremist minority, that would be good. And if they could openly display a little more sensitivity to those who have been harmed by extremists that would go a long way. But this seems like a deliberate attempt to raise hackles and then cry about bigotry. This reminds me too much of the lesbian couple who got all upset because a Catholic school didn't want to enroll their children. What the hell were they thinking anyway???? There is an ulterior motive afoot here.

    And as for the press's coverage of this. Every day CNN shows pictures of extremist Muslims. We hear about terrorism all the time, 24/7 but then they have to go and interview the most ignorant or extreme folks (who are extreme because they take all those images the media dishes out without question!) and make people look like bigots. The extremist terrorists and the media are working in synergy here. And it ain't good.

  13. Sloppy analogy, Faith - the Catholic Church explicitly warns against the practice of homosexuality. Our country, on the other hand, specifically encourages freedom of religion. My country is not so weak as to be threatened by a moderate Islamic center built near the site of a horrible terrorist attack by Islamic fundamentalists. In fact, building a mainstream Islamic center at Ground Zero sends the message that we are strong, we are not frightened, and we do not need to start violating our ideals of religious tolerance in order to protect ourselves.

    I don't think it is a deliberate attempt to raise hackles. I think it is a deliberate attempt to make mainstream Islam (as opposed to the fundamentalist kind given so much media play here) more visible to Americans. That's a very good idea. Let's shine a light on that ignorance!

  14. I love these posts when you take it to the limit. Love this stuff. I have to stop and read, and start up again.

  15. First, I completely heart VBS despite Mormons not being into it either. My kids have attended several over the years and my adoration just grows. (I too have thought about building a schedule and having them gone for weeks on end, but I think they would rebel.)

    You are the first person I've heard from who isn't squawking at the idea of a ground zero mosque. I have no problem with mosques being built in the US but ground zero seems to me to be hallowed in other ways. I wouldn't want any sort of religious building there because it is sacred ground to all of us, not just to those of a particular faith. Also, to have a religious building particular to the faith (I absolutely grant that they are extremists) that was "used" in the attacks seems too much to me.

    But thanks for your viewpoint. It's always nice to hear the other side.

  16. It's not at Ground Zero. It is 2 blocks north. It is going to include a commemoration/memorial to those who died in the attacks. There are many, many buildings between it and where the Towers stood.

    It is incredibly important to bolster mainstream Islam and to encourage the integration of these types of Islamic centers into our society. Making it harder for extremists to recruit disaffected youth is what will make us safer.

  17. Jesus wants you to have some alone time. Enjoy it!

  18. Suburban, THANK YOU for continuing to point out that they are not planning to build a mosque at Ground Zero. People can tend to get a little sloppy with details when they want to make a point!

    As to the rest of what you wrote, Amen!

  19. I agree with Mrs. G about VBS. A few years ago i seriously thought of signing them up for several different churches' VBS...Ours is in the evening and leads to a restful time.

    I also agree with angelawd and thank you for your post.

  20. I was struck by Faith's comment that "if the non-extremist majority could be a little more outspoken against the extremist minority, that would be good." This is precisely what Imam Feisal is trying to do with his center near Ground Zero. That this got whipped into a "mosque at Ground Zero" (it's not a mosque, and it's not at Ground Zero) is a direct attempt to incite Americans into abandoning their ideals in favor of something more, well, say, Saudi. Osama bin Laden could have written that script, and too many Americans are gullible enough to believe it. Our liberty and our brilliant Bill of Rights is the greatest defense we have against extremism. Don't allow yourself to be played by people who have to lie to make their point. Great post, Sub, honey.