As my four younger daughters and were I were en route to the local library last night I asked Daughter No. 3 how her most recent Sunday evening religious education class had gone. Three of the four are preparing for confirmation and are in the first year of a two-year program. They are about as enthusiastic as any young teen would be about having to spend 75 minutes every Sunday evening learning about religion.
Daughter No. 3 was quick with her response: “We didn’t learn anything.”
Me: “What do you mean, you didn’t learn anything?”
D3: “We had a party because we won’t have another class until after the holidays.”
Me: “Well, that must have been nice, right?”
D3: “Oh, yeah.”
I then decided to see how much or – more likely, in her case – how little she was enjoying the class. “How about I ask you some questions about what you’ve learned this year?” Her sisters, sitting in the back seat, and likely hoping for a repeat of this memorable Q-and-A session, immediately voiced their assent.
“Dad!” Daughter No. 3 broke in. “No! You always ask me hard stuff. About the bible. You know I don’t know bible stuff!”
Now, to be fair, Daughter No. 3 is an exceptionally bright young lady. She has a very good chance of finishing the current semester with straight A’s and just last week learned she had earned recognition as a South Carolina Junior Scholar.
That said, she is not on the fast track for a doctorate in Theology.
“Okay,” I relented, “how about if I ask you about the sacraments? I’m sure you’ve gone over those, right?”
Me: “Really? You haven’t gone over the sacraments?”
D3: “Dad, we’ve only been to class a couple of times.”
Me: “You’ve been going since October, so it’s been more than a couple of times. Just name the sacraments. I’ll give you a hint: There are seven of them.”
D3: “Um, marriage, baptism, communion … confirmation … “
And then the fun began.