Penny has grown up going to church with our family. She’s also grown up with parents who pray, read the Bible, and offer sporadic attempts to include their children in various spiritual activities. But, as with each of our children, Penny’s personal faith and spiritual practices are hers to claim (or reject). I asked her a set of questions about her experiences of church and spirituality more generally and then pasted together her answers to give you a sense of how she thinks about church, prayer, the Bible and what questions she has about God.
Well on Sunday mornings first I go to my Bagels and bible study and talk about god. We first we go into the kitchen to make our bagels plus juice and then we put either cream cheese or butter on them and then we bring our food and drink to the table while we talk about god.
And then I go upstairs and talk about god some more pray, sing , and scripture readings. I look forward to seeing at church is my old babysitter who now lives in Washington D.C and her mom because i like sitting with them and smelling her hair. I smell it and always say “ mmm lemony.”
My favorite part of church is singing because i want to worship god while we sing. i do have a favorite song it is “oh gracious light” and “Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone.”
I believe about god that he made the heavens and the earth. i do believe that god made me and one of my special abilities is that i have down syndrome and flexibility.
i do believe that god loves me. It affects me when i am trying hard to do something and if for some reason i can’t god helps me reminds me that i actually can do it if i work even harder. I believe about Jesus that he took away our sin. I think sin is when you lie. I sin a little and then I talk with god and ask for forgiveness.
I have the gift of encouraging people. i encouraged a person when she was feeling down and i said do you want to talk about what happened she said yes i do want to talk about what happened and then she gave me the whole story of why she was feeling down.
When I pray on my own, I pray about my worries.
I do have some questions: Do i have to talk about god outside of church? Why god is so important in our everyday lives?
When I go to school on Monday I still think about god but I know I am not in church. Church always has been a highlight for me.
On Wednesday of this week, check back in for my own thoughts on Penny and faith as I share five passages from the Bible that have guided me from fear to love throughout the course of Penny’s life. If you’d like to read other recent posts by Penny check out here thoughts on the first day of school, exercise and eating healthy and her letter to a new mom of a child with Down Syndrome. I’ve also written several other posts recently in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month on moving from exclusion to belonging, explaining that concept to 4th graders, creating institutions that encourage belonging.