When I wrote Josiah and Julia Go to Church, I had NO idea I was writing a scandalous book. I certainly had no intention of doing so. However, it has come to my attention over the last couple of weeks that there is a campaign against it. The prickly point is Josiah squirming at Communion. It is the opinion of those who are upset by it that I am giving children bad ideas and being disrespectful of the Eucharist.
However, I did not think up this idea. No, this is behavior that I have seen -- that my daughters have seen -- on several occasions over the years. Largely, the children whom we've seen squirming, flailing, and indeed, spitting out Communion have been visitors or infrequent attendees. So, early on my girls questioned why those children were acting that way. I had to explain to them that some children don't attend church often enough to be accustomed to receiving Communion, and perhaps some don't like the taste of wine. I also explained to them what Communion is and why it is important to be calm when receiving it and not only not to spit it out, but not to put fingers in their mouth or chew on teddy bears right after Communion. Having had this conversation with my own children, I thought it might just be one that other parents were having, too, and that J&J might be a tool to broaching the topic.
Since respect for the Eucharist was a large factor in my conversion to Orthodoxy (After months of fighting to defend Catholic doctrine, I knew I couldn't keep up the fight when I saw a Catholic priest tell parishioners at a midday Mass to let those who had to return to work receive communion first, so they could leave right away.), I am hurt that people think my book is disrespectful. The entire purpose of this book is to show children how to behave respectfully in church. I have seen children doing all of the "bad" behaviors in church, and I find it hard to believe that others haven't seen them all, too.
Of course, I've read this book hundreds of times to my own children and neither of them has ever tried to squirm or spit out Communion after reading it. So, unless a child is just deliberately trying to be bad, I don't think my book is going to have them spitting out the Eucharist.
Deep breath! I guess I'll have to learn to ignore all reviews like celebrities say they do if I'm going to keep writing for public consumption.
In other news... if you're a fan (or if you're not but want to give me a second chance), I started a Facebook page not so long ago. Check it out for a special offer.