Spontaneous Sunday

Show and Tell

A kindergarten teacher gave her class a “show and tell” assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented their religion.

The first student got up in front of the class and said, “My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is a Star of David.”

The second student got up in front of the class and said, “My name is Mary. I’m a Catholic and this is a Rosary.”

The third student got in up front of the class and said, “My name is Tommy. I am Baptist, and this is a casserole.”

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So you’re wondering where on earth I’m going with an opening like that, aren’t you? When I was young my folks started me going to church in Pennsylvania, and when we moved to Boise in 1962, we found a church within walking distance from our North end home. I met Mike there, we married there, and had children attend there. (For more on our story see this post.) We have attended the same church the better part of 50+ years not because we think it is the one and only true church or that our denomination has something over other denominations, because frankly that’s just not true. The one thing that is true, however, is that those darn Baptists have some pretty funny jokes told about them and yep, I’m a Baptist! As a Christian first, I could attend any number of local churches as long as they preach from the Bible and teach sound Biblical truth. I believe our church fits that requirement and I have wonderful connections to the people, the building, and the positive changes take have taken place over the years (although Mike and I didn’t always embrace them in the beginning). Yes, it’s true that there are Christians who simply give the church (any church) a bad name (and sadly I’m certain I may have been guilty of that at times myself). A quote I heard years ago could not ring more true: “If you find the perfect church, stay away or you’ll ruin it!” We’re not perfect folks and luckily for all of us God made provision for that through Jesus. A church can be a place of hope for people in all walks of life who are hurting, healing, rejoicing and reaching for the potential God can equip them with — to live lives with purpose — and that’s a beautiful thing! It’s a place where we learn together about a loving God who wants to give us more than we are ever capable of on our own! If you have a bad taste in your mouth from a less than perfect church experience, I hope you’ll not let that stop you from trying again one day. On this particular Sunday, the youth were leading the music worship, and nope, there is no Photoshop on the next picture. Just pretty new lights (at least I’ve never noticed them before!).


A woman called on the Baptist minister and asked him if he would preach a funeral for her dog who had just died.

“I can’t do that, ma’am,” he said. “Why don’t you try the Presbyterian minister?”

“All right,” she said, “but can you give me some advice. How much should I pay him – three hundred dollars or four hundred dollars?”

“Hold on,” he said, “I didn’t know your dog was Baptist!”

* * * * * * * * * *

I have three child photo sessions coming up in March and I am stoked! But … I feel the need to practice after the last few months of organizing rather than photo taking. I recently purchased an 85mm f/1.8 lens so I put that baby on my Canon and off to church I went. Just so you know I’m not completely crazy, I have taken my turn in the past as church historian, so people seeing me with my camera at church is not that alarming. For the sake of any photographers out there, all these pictures were hand-held, shot in Manual Mode using ISO’s between 500 and 6400, none were shot using flash, I always use Selective Focus (and always focus between the eyes), and all were shot wide open at stops ranging between f/1.8 and f/2.5 thus giving me a very shallow depth of field. For the children’s’ pictures, I positioned myself with my back to a window to allow for natural catch-lights in their eyes.

The first classroom was to the “New Americans” where the Karen children (from the Burma/Thailand area) were in story time. There were two particularly inquisitive children at the back of the room that took more of an interest in my camera than the story time (sorry Teach). I would snap, then show them the result. I was a child who grew up going to Sunday School and I loved it. Who amongst these children might really feel the impact of a teacher who cares about them and will one day grow to love and follow God because of these experiences? The impact of a teacher can be far-reaching but the impact of God has no boundaries.

This little cutie-patootie couldn’t have been more than a year-and-a-half. She was chewing on one of those wax bottles of sugar-water, thus the blue face.

From there I went to a very energetic classroom of pre-schoolers where they were having free time. I sat by the window and watched. Most kids were completely oblivious to me as they played, but others stopped for a second when they saw my camera — giving me just enough time to snap their picture. There was a lot of activity (and noise) around the horse so the teacher tells the kids to take it down a notch and he tells Autumn, the little girl riding on the horse (who was exhausting it beyond the gallop stage), to slow down. She responds immediately with “I can’t. It’s the horse who’s doing it!” (Hmm, where have I heard a story similar to this?) 🙂

This little guy dialed the phone and said “Um. Would you like to come to a party?” then he went over to the workbench to prepare. He was really cute.

It was this little girl who intrigued me the most. What was the stuff on her face? She saw me with the camera, took a seat near me and waited. (Snap) Without changing her expression, she got up, came over close to me where I showed her the photo, then returned to her seat as if to will me to do it again. Over and over we did this. Snap. Share. Snap. Share. She never spoke to me so I motioned for her to smile, to which she nodded her head in agreement, but no smile came. Such a beautiful child and the only one in the room who payed an ounce of attention to me. I was obviously as intriguing to her as she was to me. She followed me around the room placing herself in situations just so I would take her picture.

This boy sat alone and read to himself the length of my stay. He never once even glanced up at me or the other children. He simply hugged his lamb and read stories of Jesus.

Where’s Jesus?

My little grandson came in from Bible Study and I asked him what they studied.
His reply was “Nothing.”
I asked him “Didn’t you study Jesus?”
His reply was “No, he wasn’t even there.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Learned in Sunday School

I’d had a pretty hectic day with my four-year-old. When bedtime finally came, I laid down the law “We’re putting on your p.j.s, brushing your teeth, and reading ONE book. Then its lights out!”

Her arms went around my neck in a gentle embrace, and she said, “We learned in Sunday school about little boys and girls who don’t have mommies and daddies.”

Even after I’d been such a grouch, I thought, she was still grateful to have me. I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes, and then she whispered, “Maybe you could go be their mom?”

Linda - February 2, 2012 - 8:46 PM

The innocence of children is so appealing, such beauty in their expressions–even the one of my reluctant phtographee grandson, Micah. That precious girl who followed you and wanted her picture taken–so poignant; the little guy immersed in his books and little Autumn riding her horsie to the stars–all so special. Thanks for sharing Mary.

Kathy Grover - February 3, 2012 - 11:38 AM

One of those little girls is Moo Ka Paw Paw whose family I visit every Tuesday. They don’t have a lot of pictures; maybe I can get a picture made up for her. She is the kind of girl who would gladly say “cheese” if you asked her to pose, though. When the Karen first came here, I remember Lanie and Glenn saying that hugging was not part of their culture. I can tell you that you can get a free big hug from Moo Ka Paw Paw any time. Maybe even two if, unlike me, you spell her name right.

Nice job on the stained glass, too. I can only imagine how tricky that was.

FairlyCandid.wordpress.com - February 3, 2012 - 12:38 PM

That’s sweet Kathy …. I wish I knew which one was the girl you speak of. Did I take her picture and was she is in the first group of Karen children, or in the last pre-school group? I am making copies to take to the Sunday School classrooms for teachers to send home with the children I took photos of.

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