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And That’s How I Got Kicked Out of Church

December 28, 2010

I was a very religious little kid.  I went to Sunday school and everything.  I especially adored the parables about Jesus, the creating of fish and what not.  I thought that was pretty cool that he used his magic God powers to feed people instead of, Godzilla-style, wantonly destroying cities and capturing leggy blondes.  I had a sneaking suspicion that if I had the kind of powers Jesus did, I would probably not use my gifts for good.  I would probably use them multiply plastic dinosaurs rather than rations.

Around Palm Sunday, the nice church ladies gave each of us tots a little gift: a beautifully carved wooden donkey, symbolizing the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and a palm leaf.  I, thrilled at my gift, raced home with each clasped tightly in my chubby fist.  I was filled with a love of Jesus and my Sunday school teacher, and I would show them that I was heeding their inspired words!

For the next two hours, I was very industrious.  And unnaturally quiet.  As my mother would later say, that’s never a good sign.

The first problem I ran into was how to keep my Lego Jesus on his mount.  His legs would not separate enough to hug the sides of the donkey’s belly.  I decided scotch tape was the answer.  While I was at it, I fashioned a halo out of yellow pipe cleaner and taped that to his head as well.  The Power Rangers held the shredded palm leaves surprisingly well; I even managed to make the blue one, Billy, kneel and hold the palm leaf above his head.  I strew the other palm leaves before my miniature savior, and made a few other Lego women into grateful worshipers.

It was missing something, I could tell.  My five-year old self sat on her haunches and pondered.  Narrative!  That’s it!  Sure, Jesus came into town on a donkey, but that wasn’t the whole story.

I had to show him being crucified.  That was the important part.

An hour later, I drew my puzzled mother into the living room to show her my creations.

“Can I bring them in to show my teacher?” I asked, sure of my devoutness.  She stared.

“Please?  Pleeeeeasse?”  She gulped.

“Is that… did you… is that a Lego Christ on the cross?”

“Yep!  And the red and black Power Rangers are the evil Romans, and that Playmobil woman is Mary, and that other Playmobil woman is the other woman whose name I forgot.  And the other one is him coming into Jerusalem and people liking him.”

“I see.”   She had started to laugh.

In the end, my mother, ever the diplomat, temporized.  I couldn’t bring my dioramas into church, no matter how well-intentioned.  But she took pictures of them.

If only she had encouraged my creativity.  I could be famous now like this guy.


Perhaps my mother does love me after all.

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