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Living Room Religious Diversity

In our living room a few minutes ago, I heard Julie raise her voice at Lucas, telling him to chill out, that there are lots of different ways to build churches, and people worship in different ways.


By the time I got to the front of the house, the kids had moved on to something else. Julie said they — Lucas, 9, Nora, 6, and Lucas’s buddy Walker, who is 10 — were trying to build a church in Minecraft. It was riot of religious pluralism (Walker is Methodist). Julie said it was pretty funny, and started quoting lines she had heard from the kids.

Nora, for example, raised a ruckus about installing a holy water font.

Julie: “We don’t have fonts for holy water in our church. Are you trying to build a Catholic church?”

Nora: “No, I’m trying to build a church church.”

Julie tried to encourage Nora to embrace ecumenical compromise: “You know, they don’t use holy water in Walker’s church.”

Nora: “WHAT?!”

Julie overheard Nora and Lucas get into this argument:

Nora: “You have to have a bookshelf behind the altar. The priest has to have a place to keep the Gospel when he’s not reading it.”

Lucas (sometimes an altar boy): “Nora, there’s not a bookshelf back there. Have you ever been to the back of our church?”

Nora: “Duh, no, because girls can’t go back there!”

Then Nora started trying to build an iconostasis, and poor Walker had no idea what was going on.

It’s so strange for me to wrap my mind around the idea that for my children, Orthodox churches are the norm. Nora was the only one of us who was Orthodox from the moment of her baptism, but the boys were so young when we converted that they have no memory of Catholic churches. I seem to recall that when he was young, and we were still Catholic, Matthew entered his grandparents’ Methodist church, and was disoriented because there was nothing on the walls or the altar. He thought it wasn’t complete. This struck me as odd, but then I realized he had never seen any other kind of church but Catholic.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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