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Language Log

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 - 6:36 a.m.

So, my mom self-identifies as a Christian. She never goes to church, or exhibit any other behavior that one would associate with a practicing Christian other than generally being nice. So...one faithful to the idea of Christianity, anyhow.

But we've been doing Hanukkah stuff these days. So the other day she was all like, "I don't understand the Jewish religion." So I said, "It's the Old Testament of the Bible. That." (I realize that simplifies it, but it seemed like the best place to start). So she said, "Well, I don't know much about that, either."

!

I knew she was never the sort to quote scripture, but someone please tell me how someone who is unfamiliar even in broad outlines with half of the book on which their faith is based can go on calling themselves a member of that faith?

I do not especially want her to dig into it much at this point, but. I guess it illustrates how people can be brought up with something fundamental to their identity-- just in the water in western PA, I guess-- and never have to work through it. My religion is good, my family is good, that's all I need to know. This is who I am and I don't have to do anything to demonstrate it except not say bad things about people who go to church.

Anyhow. Sometimes I really wonder how I turned out to be me. Must remind myself of this when my children become who they are. It will no doubt be surprising to some degree. I should not be surprised at how surprising.

Also had a conversation with her about the not listening to me thing. Turns out she thought I was explaining things at length because I think she's stupid (actually, I think she's more intellectually incurious, which may be worse, but that's neither here nor there). So it all makes sense now. I explained that I explain things at length because I myself do not like to be given orders without a reason-- an explanation is my giving her the respect to not expect her to do something just because I say so. It was a somewhat illuminating conversation for both of us, I think.

Going to make a wreath-sized 16-point star from clear vellum and will put cut-out snowflakes in each point. Maybe glitter will be involved too. Will give to the in-laws for their house rental while they're here.

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