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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Gotta have faith, faith, a-faith-uh.....

I have had this post rambling around in my sometimes incredibly empty head. I have thought a lot lately about what I am going to be giving to my kids. Not material stuff because, let's face it, that shit does not make you happy. I mean, the bigger things. Am I going to pass on some of the family traditions that we had? How will we celebrate birthdays? Will I spoil the little rotten thing? Will I be a good disciplinarian or will I try to be tough and end up laughing like I do with the dog? And the major thing - what am I going to teach him (I am determined to will my husband to spit out a "Y" chromosome) about God? When I tell him that things are supposed to be one way or another, what sort of moral background am I going to give him? Where am I going to say I got my thoughts and beliefs from? I am not going to just pull answers out of my ass. My parents did that whole black and white no shades of gray thing with me and it did not fly. At all. If I tell my child that a certain thing is the incorrect way to think/feel/be, I wanna be able to say why.
I have not attended church with any sort of regularity in quite some time. My husband and I have taken stabs at finding a church home a couple times only to end up going back to sleeping in on Sundays. Our most recent excursion looked promising in the beginning. The pastor and his wife seemed a tad.....tv-ish...for me but I liked the music and the message but something was off. Finally I came to find out that this non-denominational church had very deep roots in a former Pentecostal church. That is not for me. I won't go into the various reasons why but I was increasingly uncomfortable and ended up telling the hubs one day that I would not be going back.
The husband was raised Catholic. From what I can tell, he became a non-practicing Catholic pretty much from the time he left his childhood home. He did raise his two kids Catholic as a promise to his mother. However, that promise was tossed on the side of the road when he and the ex got divorced and she pulled them out of catechism to be nasty.
My background is that, in my life, I have attended churches in just about every denomination of Prostestantism - Methodist, Baptist, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, etc. There are subtle differences, but for the most part they were all the same to me. I do not affiliate myself with one or the other of any of them. So I don't feel any sort of loyalty to any of them.
That leaves me sort of rudderless. Thinking about my kid's future is what brought me to this topic but really, I need to explore this further for my own sake. But where do I go? Most churches directly contradict LOUDLY what I believe in my heart to be true. I don't think that gay people are going to hell. I don't think that just because someone is Muslim they are obviously a terrorist and should not be trusted. I don't think that someone of another faith is also necessarily going to hell either. I don't believe that someone who lives their life as an absolute bastard 6.5 out of seven days a week but does his one hour in church a week is going to heaven. I think your faith should permeate your life - every layer of your life. I don't like churches that feel the need to prod their members into bringing people into the flock. I don't want to broadcast what I believe to others and show them how they've gone astray. I don't remember who said this but someone said once that one's faith should be like a light. It attracts its own attention. If you live your life in a certain way and treat people a certain way, those around you will naturally be attracted to you and may, on their own, decide to find out why you are the way you are. Does that make sense? I probably butchered the fuck out of that example but it makes sense to me. I have issues with the judgment. I don't like the way women are treated in the Catholic church. Who says that just because Joe Blow attends Bliggity Blah church that he has any right to sit in judgment of me and how I live my life? I don't want to attend a church that makes me feel "superior." I want to feel safe. I want to feel protected. I want a sense of community. I want a church leader that I can go to with any and all problems and not be ridiculed or made to feel less than anyone else.
I am not sure where I am going with this. I am not sure where to begin this journey. I have talked to the husband about maybe going and talking to a priest or pastor and being honest with my feelings. I am not going to pull any punches either. I am going to tell whoever I speak to the problems I have with various churches and see what they have to say. I guess I will be able to gauge my interest in their church based on their reactions to my criticism. If I am met with stoic inflexibility, then that is not the place for me. That will be the telltale sign, I would imagine.
If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, I would appreciate any input.

Elizabeth at 12:17 PM



at 7:10 PM Blogger Kami said...

Oh, when you leave the hospital with your newborn, you get a user's manual.



Check out the Unitarian Church.

at 1:22 AM Blogger Amy said...

Ugh, I want to post an intelligent comment, but you've caught me at a tipsy moment.

DH was raised Catholic, is now agnostic. I was raised Southern Baptist, and now don't know how I feel. I believe in God and Jesus, and I want Evan to be able to make his own educated decisions. Upon attending a weird Atheist birthday party the other night, a friend and I have at least decided to take our boys to church so they will be exposed. Her son asked about Jesus and she told him Jesus is a superhero over all other superheros. The only other thing I can say is that if you don't introduce your religion sooner, then it will come up the first time kids experience death. Evan now knows all about Heaven and God and prayer since we lost our dog a few months ago. You will be fine! It comes more naturally than you think. With religion, you really can't screw it up, because in the end it will be his own decision.

at 1:48 AM Blogger Red said...

Man, now you got me thinking about this! I'm one of those that completely beleives in God, however, you won't find me at church on Sunday. My husband was raised Catholic, but does not even want to go to church-EVER. I hope that when we have kids that he decides it would be a good thing to do the family-church thing. Then I'll probably just run into the same issue that you are having...damn...what to do, what to do. Hope you find the answer soon.

at 9:19 AM Blogger Timestep said...

Well, I wish Kami was right about the user manual. I dream about birthing one before the placenta. But, alas, I always wake from the dream.

But, I've taken a bit of a journey looking for a church. I was raised Catholic. My DH was too, but he's now agnostic. I wanted something that had the parts of Catholism that I liked, while replacing the things I didn't (Woman's role in church, unwillingness to look to the bible as society evolves, etc). I have ended up in the Episcopal church. I was starting to look to Episcopal and Lutheran. Martin Luther played a role in the development of these churches. He was a Catholic Monk who wanted the Catholic Church to modify to things he found in the bible.

Anyway, the Episcopal Church has accepted Women ministers, birth control, gay priests, and inclusive language. It interprets the bible as society evolves.

Read up on Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation and see what you think.

For me, my relationship with God is private, my relationship with Organized Religion is shared goals and community. I look for a community that matches most of my views and makes me feel welcome.

Sorry to share so much, HTH

at 10:22 AM Blogger Nessa said...

I'll put a call into my aunt - she lives near you and see if she can recommend a Christian church that does not carry the judgmental views you speak of. We've been fortunate in finding one here, because I believe the same as you, basically and there are church families out there that do too - you'll find one, but it does take time and I do believe that it's important, especially in this day and age to (when you have them) expose your children to some faith based organization unless you've got it going on in the home and are able to teach them - email me if you want to talk more about it - I think you know where I come from on this and I'm more than happy to talk to you always!

at 1:06 PM Blogger Nap Queen said...

AMEN! (Pun intended). I have the same issues. I was raised Presbyterian, the hubs, Baptist. We both stopped going to church in junior high/high school. I HATE the judgmental attitudes as well, and I can't go anywhere that doesn't accept gay people or their rights. Which rules out quite a few churches.

I agree with Kami, look for a Unitarian church. I went to one for a while, and they accept everyone. Their Sunday school teaches kids about all religions, too. Very cool.

at 4:21 PM Blogger MsPerdie said...

Funny you write about this, because I'm going through the same thing with my daughter now, and she's 7. I've been to the Witnesses, the non-denominational, the baptists, etc. and I don't agree with everything that anyone of them say. I do pray with my daughter everyday, and try to show her right from wrong, and when she gets to that age, she can decide on her own. I totally agree with you, and wish I had a suggestion for you.... good luck!

at 8:28 PM Blogger The Kept Woman said...

It's funny you posted about this b/c I've spent a lot of time thinking and discussing this with Sugar Daddy.

I was raised Episcopalian (Catholic Light...like Miller Light) and am now agnostic like Amy's DH. Personally, I believe in doing things because they are good and right not because I've got hell hoving over my head. I live by The Golden Rule. We had D#1 baptized Catholic (because you can pretty much pay the Catholic church to do anything you want), but I don't think D#2 will be baptized. We teach our girls to be kind and respectful because it's the right thing to do. Will we ever take them to church? Who knows. It makes the Christmas/Easter thing seem hypocritical but that's another story.

at 8:40 PM Blogger Pissy Britches said...

Great post girly.
I am pretty much the same way you are currently.
Don't want anything to do with any of it but at the same time I feel guilty b/c I am teaching my child to believe in nothing. That southern baptist was pounded in my head and I dont want to pound it in my childs head..I want to let her make her own decisions to be what she wants to be and believe what she wants. Easier said than done.
When you figure it out..lemme know b.c I sure as hell can't figure it out.

at 9:59 AM Blogger lawbrat said...

OMG! I cracked up at Kami's comment!! LMAO!! I think i'm in love with Kami now.

What you said here:I don't remember who said this but someone said once that one's faith should be like a light. It attracts its own attention.

So very true. Just beautifully put, whoever said it.
I'm going to email you on this, cuz its gonna be looooooong. Feel free to share with anyone, or post bits and parts, or whatever. Just the length is why i'm going to email.
Love ya!

at 2:46 AM Blogger Annejelynn said...

I've been thinking about this one for weeks - coming from a mormon background and my honey-man, catholic, we both feel that we learned nothing but how to self-hate/self-loath, ladden with fear ridden, elitest, exclusionary ideals; all teaching us to help only others who are "of the fold" and feel we are special and/or better than others not on our path... we teach the angel boy-O to respect others' differences, to treat others as he and they would like to be treated - to share, to be honest, to love. We don't discuss organized religions as myths - but what people truly believe. He's already come up with some things from other people, independent of us... see here...


at 2:48 AM Blogger Annejelynn said...

oops - too long!
try this:



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