Before moving to Splendaville I had never heard of Vacation Bible School, or "VBS", for those in the know. (I hadn't heard of Mary Kay, Creative Memories, or Pampered Chef either, and I now realize that all of these things exist in the outside world, but such was the glorious urban bubble I mentioned in my initial post.) The first time someone mentioned Vacation Bible School, I thought it was possibly the most oxymoronic title I'd ever heard. Exactly whose idea of a vacation is that? (That's rhetorical, I do know exactly whose idea it is.) And I noticed that this fabulous getaway is only offered to children who, unless emancipated, really don't have any say in the matter. You lucky little devils! Getting to spend a week of your increasingly-abbreviated summer vacation listening to Bible stories, making "Walk with Jesus" flip flops, and learning how to Live for The Lord!
Say what you want about summer fun and connecting with God -- the big unspoken appeal for this is free childcare. The church knows it, the parents know it. What stay-at-home parent can long resist the lure of a place to send their kids for five mornings or evenings, at no charge? Including snacks! Well, I couldn't. This summer I sent Phartacus off with his friend for a religious holiday, so excited by the prospect of three less hours of daily bickering with his little brother that I scarcely bothered to ask what was on the agenda besides the obvious. Phartacus was fortunate enough to enjoy a program that emphasized putting the Bible back in VBS, (who knew it had left?) ate graham crackers coated in frosting and red licorice, brought home a couple of nifty music CDs and a t-shirt that will only be seen by the Tooth Fairy, and generally had a good time until the last day, when some kid threw stones at him. Now that's Biblical.