As a kid I asked way to many questions for Sista Sheen (nope, that’s not her real name), the youth Sunday school teacher at Greater Victory Church of God & Christ. My Uncle (who adored me) was the pastor of the church, and thanks to my questioning ways, I usually ended up in his office or as the only child in adult Sunday school.
I remember being very frustrated with Sista Sheen because she couldn’t tell me whether or not Cinderella was a Christian. I don’t know why it was so important to me at the time, but it was, and in my mind, the fact that Sista Sheen couldn’t tell me Cinderella’s religious preference meant that she wasn’t at all as spiritual as she professed to be.
My obsession with fictional characters didn’t stop at Cinderella, nor did I have the good sense to stop trying to create conversations that would prove that my Sunday school leader was either kicked or had flunked out of divinity school. I was convinced it was the latter.
One Sunday evening during youth group Sista Sheen asked, “Is Cinderella a Christian?” If it were possible, my head would have done the full on exorcist spin! Everyone looked right at me, and I nearly froze. This was my chance, my chance to make everybody see right through Sista Sheen.
Me: Yes, Cinderella is a Christian.
Other Kids: How do you know?
Me: Because she was a servant and Jesus was a servant.
Other Kids: That doesn’t mean she was a Christian.
Me: Yes it does. She served with a humble, but happy heart and sang uplifting songs.
Other Kids: That’s stupid and doesn’t prove anything! Gargamel sings songs that are uplifting to him, but he’s still evil to the Smurfs.
Me: It’s not stupid! Plus we believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness and she was very clean and is therefore a Christian!
Sista Sheen having heard enough, brought it all to an end. “Cinderella isn’t a Christian and Gargamel isn’t evil! They are both figments of a creators imagination, they are drawn pieces of art, they don’t exist! They aren’t real! I wanted to have this discussion so that Sista Beehive would stop these nonsense questions, but it seems that you are all CRAZY! You all need to focus more on the individuals in the Bible and how you can avoid becoming like the ones who are evil, and be more like those who followed Christ our Lord and Savior!”
Years later, I feel that Sista Sheen missed an opportunity to engage her Sunday school class in a deeper conversation. Back then our young brains hadn’t yet made a connection with the people in the Bible. We didn’t see them as actual people, the weren’t our everyday heroes, we didn’t watch them on tv on Saturday mornings, and they sure didn’t come as prizes in our favorite boxes of cereal.
Now that I am a volunteer Sunday educator (ya’ll know what I mean), I have much more appreciation for Sista Sheen. And because I had so many experiences as a youth where my questions went unanswered or my very active imagination was treated with disdain, I also have an appreciation for my students who are of a more inquisitive and creative nature.
Go With God,