We were driving (quickly, and to a friend's house to pee, if you must know) while doing a gazillion errands today, and passed the local Catholic high school. There is a grotto outside with a waterfall (?) and O asked about it. I explained it as simply and as best I could, and somehow the topic of the Virgin Mary came up. O said, Those people believe in Mary. And the Those People was in the tone of voice people use when they are talking about Those People.
I was not excited about the tone of voice, a technique she had perfected well before she turned five. And really, Catholic is just another barely differently-flavoured version of Christianity than the flavour of church we attend. So being the educator I was trained to be, I brought this up with O.
Me: We believe in Jesus Christ, so we are Christians, right?
Me: Well, this is a Catholic school, and they believe in Jesus, too. So they are Christians.
O: But they believe in Mary. (emphasis: Mary)
Me: Do you believe that Mary is the mother of Jesus?
Me: That means you believe in Mary, too. Get it?
O: But we don't believe what they believe, right?
Me (scrambling in my brain): We pretty much do. It's like... it's like... uhh... macaroni and cheese.
My brain: What?
Me: You know how there are all different kinds of mac and cheese. There's the Aldi brand, and the Tops brand, and the Spongebob kind, and the Dora kind, and the kind I make. You follow?
O (quite possibly thinking I had really lost it this time): Uh-huh.
Me: Well, no matter what kind of box it comes in, or how you make it, or what it looks like, it's all still macaroni and cheese.
O: (thinking hard)
Me: It's like churches. When it comes down to it, if you believe that Jesus is God, and that he died for your sins, it doesn't matter so much about the little things. It's all pretty much the same.
O (with an enlightened-sounding 'oh'): So it doesn't matter if sometimes you talk to Mary or other guys in the Bible if you believe in Jesus?
Me: Pretty much.
O: Well, that helps, doesn't it?
Me: Yeah, I guess it does. We're all not as different as it might seem.
O: Well, that helps that people are a lot the same.
And that, dearies, is the Five Year-Old Profound Statement of the Day. It helps that people are a lot the same.