first things first

First grade’s a little fuzzy. We had moved back to Riverside, CA and I attended Immanuel Lutheran School €“ the school connected to our church. My only memory may be this. There was a boy named James in my class who’s birthday was on October 31st. I spent many of the weeks leading up to Halloween trying to convince him that he and the devil shared the same birthday. If this had happened in 5th grade it obviously would’ve been with malicious intent. But in first grade I was coming from a place of innocent and profound spiritual concern* – all I was trying to do was to warn him. Of what? No idea. Even if the devil and James did have the same birthday so what? My mom and Vanna White share the same birthday (coincidentally it’s today, Feb 18th) and they’re happily autonomous. And anyways, if Halloween was the Devil’s birthday wouldn’t we call it Devilmas? Or V-mas for short? I obviously didn’t understand the erroneous implications then, and I sure as hell don’t have any clue now. I take that back, hell may be more sure of this than I am.

Either way it played out like this: I freaked James out. I felt bad, and was still concerned that with he and the Dark Lord sharing the same birthday he was probably at risk of eternal damnation so I stopped focusing on his birthday and put my efforts toward saving his obviously lost soul.

Luckily my dad was on the evangelism committee at church and happened to have a lot of tracts lying around the house including the ever popular, €œFour Spiritual Laws.€ I don’t remember what the laws were, but I’m guessing they were along the lines of 1) you’re screwed 2) Jesus loves you 3) you can be sure of this and bask in the promise of eternal life 4) say the Jesus prayer and we’ll seal the deal.

So I grabbed one of the tracts out of his desk drawer and took it to school. I gave it to James. He looked confused. He took it home. My dad got a call from James’ dad that night. I was informed that no, Halloween is not the devil’s birthday, and that I should hold off on the four spiritual laws until after I had mastered the Kennedy questions.

So do tell, if you died tonight where would you go?

Ya’ sure about that?

Call me if you want to pray about it.


*This may be a bit of a flaw in Jesus’ notion that we should be such as children. Sometimes children are such as dumb. A strong argument for W’s brand of Christianity. And yes camp counselors, go ahead and comment on the important difference between childlike and childish faith, I’m dying to read more on this fascinating topic.

Posted: February 18th, 2008
Categories: edumacation
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