My first experience with religion is not ordinary, but it does make for a funny story. To begin to this story I have to say that both parents are extremely non-religious. They are so non-religious that conversation about religion hardly or never happens. When I was the age of seven I went to elementary school in Philadelphia. My mother wanted to get me out of my school, because she didn’t like the neighborhood. My mother would say that there were crack bottles everywhere, but I never saw one personally. Anyway, she decided to enroll me into a private Catholic school in Philly. The only condition to my enrollment was that I had to attend Sunday school.
Literally without any explanation my mom told me that I had to go to this class, and she drove me to the school. I was very confused, why do I have to go to school on Sunday? My mother and I walked into the building, and went to the classroom where the teacher greeted both of us. The teacher was a twenty something woman and she told me to take a seat at an empty desk. When I sat down my mom waved goodbye and left. Then I sat down listened to this teacher lecture. She started reading a story from a book, and I realize now it was the bible. Yes, I didn’t even know what the bible was. I had no clue what she was talking about, and I was thinking, what’s with the funny language? Thou, shall, cometh, what the heck are all these strange words? Then the teacher started taking about God, and doing good deeds. I also have to mention I didn’t even what God at this point. So, this woman’s lecture literally made no sense to me. I left my first day in utter confusion. I remember my mom picking me up, but she never asked how the class was. Honestly, I was glad she didn’t ask me anything, because I wouldn’t know what to say.
For the next few months I continued to go to Sunday school. I still had no idea what the teacher was talking about. I remember getting a work book with some interesting pictures of a bearded white man. Who was this guy? I finally figured out the man’s name was Jesus, but the teacher never explained why he was important. Most likely the teacher thought she didn’t have to explain who Jesus was, and why he was important to Christians. Presumably most of the kids in the class grew up in Christian families, and were taught about these topics. You would think the teacher would lay down the basics. Jesus was the son of God and etc., but an explanation would never happened.
I remember the teacher talking about the crucifixion, and Jesus rising from the dead. “Wait, what is crucifixion?” I thought to myself. It’s pretty fair that a seven-year old wouldn’t know what crucifixion was. I looked in my work book for clues, but there were no pictures of the crucifixion. Most likely the publisher of the books didn’t want to scare little children. Also, when I think about it there were no crucifixes in the classroom which was odd considering it was a Catholic School. How in the world did the teacher expect kids to know what is crucifixion? At the end of the course everybody got a piece paper saying you passed the class. Clearly I shouldn’t have passed the class if I didn’t learn anything. A couple of days later after the class was over I asked my mom “Who is Jesus?” and my mom was stunned. Finally she explained everything, and I learned more in that conversation than the whole time I was in Sunday school. Around my third year of college I talked to my mom about this, and she said “I thought they would teach you everything”. The funniest thing about this whole story is that a Catholic Sunday school failed to teach me anything about Christianity.