Back to Basics

It happened to be Ash Wednesday and I was with A. at his karate class. I had forgotten about the ashes on my head but, of course, there were the usual teasing remarks about it.


One of the mothers said to me, “I need to get better about that. We should have been there.”


And we started talking about church. She mentioned some of the issues she had had with the Catholic church. Her second child was baptized at a Congregational church. But (and this happens a lot, believe it or not), there was a part of her that deeply missed Catholicism.


She worried that her children couldn’t make their sacraments because they hadn’t regularly attended for years now. I told her about my own class.


“Oh, that’s right! You teach religious ed. Gosh, you must know all the details and specifics, then. I bet you have a really firm grasp of Catholicism.”


I laughed, “Sara, you know I teach first graders, right? Here’s what I teach them:

1) Jesus loves us.

2) We are Christians and we believe in Jesus.

3) We love one another, even when it’s hard, as Jesus did.

4) We take care of one another and help people who are in need.

… Seriously, that’s pretty much it. I mean, there are different lessons but, at the end of the day, that’s what I’m teaching them.”


Her dark eyes grew wide and, well, serious. She started to nod.


“JessieLeigh, that’s what we ALL need to be taught. Somehow, we’ve forgotten all that. We’ve lost the foundation. How much better would this world be if we could all just learn THAT? If we could just get back to basics?”


You know what? She’s right.

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6 comments to Back to Basics

  • mlearley

    AMEN! Just think about how things would be different if for once we thought about our neighbors instead of ourself. Crime – lower, poor people – lower, the list goes on and on. How have we forgotten such a simple concept?!?

  • very true! i have just started reading Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly (our church passed them out for Lent and is sponsoring a book club review), and i am really enjoying it. i think there are many people who just need a friendly welcome back to their faith – without judgement.

  • Yes! There are differences in faith traditions, but GOOD GOLLY, people! The basics is where it’s at.

    • That’s what makes teaching first graders so very fun– they are so good at just focusing on the root of it all! Christians, in general, would have a better reputation if we could all learn to do that. ;)

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