Thursday, September 20, 2012

Children's Book Controversy

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.


  1. I can't imagine a child reading that and deciding to spit out communion. Ridiculous. I completely agree with your whole post. Goodness knows I've probably scandalized a whole host of people by what I've posted about children's behaviour in church and taking kids to communion.

    My advice would be to ignore the reviews (were these on Amazon?) because I have found that only about 15% of regular folks writing reviews are literate or have any idea what they are talking about.

    J&J is a great book.

  2. Amazon and Adventures of an Orthodox Mom

    1. Bash the book because of behaviors we have all seen out of kids at Church? Yikes. Please write another great book. Whoever is having a cow, needs to get a clue.

      Keep up the Good work. God Bless and have some ice cream and let whoever these folks...."whatever!"

      We have J&J and it is awesome. Time to say so on Amazon.

  3. Thanks for the show of support! It's much appreciated.

  4. May I make an honest point (that turns out very good, I promise!)
    When I first read it, I admit that I was a bit skeptical of reading it out loud to kids. However, since then, I've seen several kids squirm at Communion (and remember back to how hard it was with a toddler) and have been specifically told by a mom that this was important to read to her child for specifically this point.
    So, I think it is very good as it addresses an issue that children have.
    Thank you!

    1. *reading that particular line, not the whole book, I promise :)

  5. Mimi, I do understand your initial reaction although it didn't occur to me when I wrote it. My biggest problem with the negative comments is the implication that I don't take communion seriously or treat it respectfully. And I certainly don't think the book is a bad example for kids. Anyway, I appreciate your honesty, and I'm getting over my initial disappointment in the original remarks.

    I'm even finishing up a sequel of sorts for slightly older children...