A Little Background
I was raised Christian, and still believe in God and Christ's message of love, but am estranged from most Christian Churches because I don't find them to be truly loving places (members are often quite judgmental - particularly in our area and certain platitudes are passed on in Sunday School Classes as well. As a result, none of us attends church with any regularity). My husband is agnostic.
My daughter is seven, home schooled, and living in a heavily conservative region both politically and religiously in the US. Yet, I have friends with Jewish as well as Christian backgrounds. One set of grandparents is vehemently Atheist while the other is loosely Christian. I am Christian but like my parents very liberally so (many Christians in our area would not consider me Christian at all). We have some gay and lesbian friends as well, so our household is what I would describe as one of love and acceptance for most (KKK members, nazis and the like not allowed).
Unfortunately, for her to have friends, it seems many of them are Christians, that in my opinion would fall into that crowd of people that are unknowingly rubbing elbows with the KKK and the Nazis in their level of judgement toward others thankfully, they are no where near as violent.
My daughter wants to consider herself Christian despite the fact that I have told her time and again, she can't really make that choice until she understands a lot more about the faith as well as other belief systems. Many of her friends are Christian and so is half her family and at seven, life is all about fitting in.
However, because we had a pumpkin carving party, she had a couple of "friends" at school turn her down and claim she isn't really a Christian because she celebrates a pagan holiday (Little do they know that most of what we do at "Christmas" and "Easter" are also quite "pagan")
My daughter is feeling horrible.
I explained that in their view we aren't true Christians because we don't believe what they think we are supposed to believe to be Christians. I talked to her about how Jesus taught us about love and forgiveness, so I don't believe their actions and words were Christian under my definition of the word either. I also told her I don't believe any of them are really old enough to truly have chosen a faith yet anyway. I reassured her that it was wonderful to be who she is with or without a faith-label and that there are plenty of good people that are not Christian (her Dad being one of them) as well as plenty of good people who are.
We also talked a lot about friendship and what it means to be a good friend and what kinds of friends we want in our lives anyway.
Of course, she is still feeling horrible, left out and judged harshly.
Any ideas about how to talk to her about this one?
Also, any ideas about how to guide her in speaking with others about faith and belief when it comes up in a way that allows for her to "save face" with others while also standing true to "the journey?"