When I was little, my dad made space noodles. Some say we were so poor we only had a pot and three spoons, and so dad and Joe and I would sit around the pot, our spoons in hand, eating those salty buttered noodles straight out of it. Others (my mom) would roll their eyes at such a thing, saying we weren’t that poor, he was just too lazy to do the dishes. Whatever the case, we always prayed before we ate. It went something like this: Dear Lord, thank you for this food and this family and that we get to be here together. Amen.
It’s been thirty years since we sat together like that, and God seems to have gone the way of those greasy carbs: a sort of vaguely comforting memory that makes me both hungry and sad. A study out this week shows I’m not the only one whose faith is more memory than practice. According to the study, more Americans than ever identify themselves as having “no religion.” In fact, one in five people say that they have no religious identity and one in four do not expect to have a religious funeral.
Strange to imagine a funeral without religion. I’ve been to a few. You stand around drinking champagne and talking about how much fun the dead person was and how the dead person would have wanted you to stand around and drink champagne. Nobody mentions anything about a better place, and then your feet start hurting from all that standing and you go find a better place, another bar around the corner with more seating and stiffer drinks. To the dead, you say, over and over.
But it’s all got me thinking. First, there was no prayer in schools. Which I’m good with. Really, I am. But, then, no prayer at home. Before we know it, there won’t even be prayer in foxholes. How about you, reader? Any moments that you find yourself around the proverbial pot of noodles begging Jesus (or the God of your choice) for something special? Do tell.