John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

A non-traditional traditional baby shower

Last night, for the first time in almost 20 years, I went to a baby shower. It was somewhat non-traditional, in that I didn't know the parents-to-be and there was a certain educational component to it, but it was still pretty fun.

As I mentioned last Sunday, my church sponsors a weekly English Conversation Time as part of its International Outreach ministry. One of the mandates of the ECT program is introducing and/or explaining American culture and customs to the international students, so when the organizers found out one of the internationals who attends ECT regularly, they decided to use one of the ECT sessions to throw an baby shower, both to celebrate the pregnancy of one of their own and to show the internationals what an American baby shower is like.

That latter purpose required the games we played to be somewhat educational and informative. There was an idiom matching game that required the internationals to match baby-related idioms -- cry baby, sleep like a baby, it takes a village to raise a child -- with their definitions. There was a memory game that asked them to study a display of ten different items commonly associated with babies, such as a onesie and diaper pins, and then write down as many of the items as they could remember. But there were other games that were just for fun, like guessing the number of M&Ms in a jar and matching words meaning "baby" in ten different languages. And there were presents to open, and cake and ice cream.

For me, the most memorable part was something that happened before it all got started. When I arrived at Pres House, there was a large group of Mennonites out on State Street, preaching and singing old-time gospel songs. Once inside, I started chatting with a couple of people I'd met last week, and they had questions about what the Mennonites were doing out there and why. I explained as best I could, and then one of them asked me to explain the difference between God and Jesus. I explained the concept of the Trinity as best I could, and added, "but look, people have been trying to figure this out for 2,000 years, and no one really knows the answer yet. That's why it's a religion, not a science." When seems to satisfy them well enough, but man, that's not really the kind of question you like to have sprung on you.
Tags: religion, wisconsin: madison

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