Today my son and I went to church. My daughter is an irreligious heathen and my husband couldn't be bothered, but I managed to talk my son into joining the choir, so for a few weeks now we've had our Sunday morning routine: we get to church at 9:00, robe up, warm up, sing the 9:30 service, and then at 10:30 he has an hour-long confirmation class.
Now, I wasn't adamant about sending him to confirmation class. I figure a boy who has never gone to church regularly is already making a considerable lifestyle change in joining a choir.
Especially this choir. There are about 75 kids in the choir. It starts in third grade, and they go through a choir curriculum modeled on English cathedral and collegiate chapel choir curricula. As they progress, they wear slightly different vestments. The first year all you get is the basic choir robe. Your second year you get a surplice to wear on top (code name: the puff) and beginning with your third year, you add crosses, first silver, then gold, which go on different colored ribbons. I haven't figured out the ribbon thing. It's complicated. It reminds me of the belt system in karate.
Anyway, it's a huge choir, and it's serious. The kids stay in it through high school. I suspect this is partly because of the trips. Every other year they go to England where they're a resident choir at a cathedral.
Next August it will be Salisbury, and in August 2011, it will be Canterbury.
Now because I sing in the alto section, I get to go on the trips, too.
And this explains why I didn't put all that much pressure on my son to sign up for confirmation class. I was too busy wearing him down to a nubbin to make him agree to be in the choir.
But my friend Fiddledeedee shooed him up the stairs with her son in the beginning of September, and history was made. Now here he is getting his first formal religious education! And again, these people are serious. He came out of confirmation class today with all kinds of materials.
And how much fruit is it bearing? I'll let you be the judge.
He was telling me today about this fantasy world he's been creating for a few years now. Apparently, it's a very inclusive--you might even say politically-correct world. And he was telling me about the different kinds of characters he had invented for it:
Poppy: So, do you have any Asians?
Young Master Buxom: Yes, two.
P: Any gay characters?
YMB: Yeah, main character's brother is gay. That way people will realize there's nothing wrong with being gay.
P: What about Jews?
YMB: The main character is Jewish.
P: OK. Now what about Catholics?
YMB: What's that?
All photos taken from the church website by disobeying the eighth commandment, unless you're Catholic (whatever that means) when it's the seventh.