Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 539012

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Long rant on my religious outlook

Posted by Mal on August 8, 2005, at 2:01:13

I was raised in a very small, independent baptist church, where a bumper crop of churchgoers numbered 100, and everyone knew everyone, and most were related. Until I left home at 18, I was dragged to church at least 3 times a week (more often that that if they were having revival) to hear a preacher yelling bloody hell fire and brimstone sermons. I remember being very small, maybe 6 years old, and growing a very guilty conscience in response to those sermons. Then there were the sermons on Revelation that REALLY upset me. We got a LOT of "Jesus is coming back" sermons, too, and I spent the first half of my life thinking things like, "Jesus will be back before I get my license" or "Time probably won't last long enough for me to go to college." And my Mom wasn't one to smooth it over for me- she still lives and dies by everything that is preached from that pulpit.

My older brother and I were talking about how we were raised, and we both agreed that our childhood freedom was eaten up by all that. I don't remember ever being really carefree as a kid. There was always that dark cloud on the horizon. But he is raising his kids in that very same church. Maybe the pastor is different now, but I don't really think so.

I never was baptized, because everyone made such a fuss over "If you make a promise to God, you better keep it"- I figured it was better not to make a promise than to make one and inevitably break it- because of the sinful human condition. And the same story goes for why I have NEVER taken communion. "If you take it and there is sin in your life, there's gonna be trouble!" in one breath, and in another breath, "None of us are perfect- we all have sin." I took it all as serious business, and haven't made any publicly symbolic promises to God that I can't keep.

Now now, flash forward 20 years, and I have a babygirl of my own. I feel some obligation to raise her similar to the way I was raised (read that as "in church"). I have visited a few churches near here but haven't really gotten "involved" and haven't made much of a habit of going. My husband isn't into it at all. I think he thinks it is a waste of time. When I say I am going he teases me- "You haven't done anything wrong this week, have you?"

I don't have any intentions of going to church 3 times a week. (Is that a terrible attitude to have?) I will be doing great to get in the habit of going on Sunday morning! I have liked one church very well, but the sermons could be better. I mean, they are nice and quiet, mostly logical, but somewhat simplistic. I usually used my time in church to think, commune with or ruminate about loved ones who have passed. (OK, not really commune with the dead, but think of them- think of what I would talk to them about if I could and such.)

Since I have been on my own, my thoughts on sin have REALLY changed. I mean, when I was little, I thought THINKING bad thoughts was a sin. I admit, keeping my mind from thinking some things is a nice skill I probably cutivated then, but come on! I also used to think having certain feelings was a sin. Like feelings that I didn't like someone, or nearly hated someone. Now I think it is my right to be choosy about friends and have an opinion about people. I am not nearly as compassionate as my Mom. If I think someone isn't doing their best, they get no help from me. Momma help and helps till she gets USED, even enables some, I think. Is enabling a sin?

When I was little, sins were the little things, and that sort of makes people feel bad about themselves, doesn't it? Now sin (to me) is violating the 10 commandments. Heaven help me I cuss and it isn't nice, but I don't think it is a SIN. I appreciate the male form, but it isn't LUST, so it isn't sin.

Well, this has run the gamut - maybe I should have named this thread "Everything I think about Religion".

Ya'll have a great night!
MAL

 

Re: Long rant on my religious outlook Mal

Posted by rayww on August 8, 2005, at 9:40:05

In reply to Long rant on my religious outlook, posted by Mal on August 8, 2005, at 2:01:13

Mal, I enjoyed reading about your experience. Two bits of wisdom that popped into my head while reading, (in case you're interested) "as a man thinketh, so is he" Proverbs 23:7, and "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." When a person is taught truth, it resonates, and they can live accordingly. You were taught truth, perhaps in the wrong way, but you were able to glean truth out of whatever else your minister was teaching. And you governed yourself accordingly. Your children deserve as much, however you choose to teach them. They are certainly taught falsely by the world. It is up to parents to see that their children are taught truth. And, what better place to begin than Bible stories and prayer in the home? The home is the center, the church is the support. Everything taught at church should support what you do in the home. If not, change churches.

 

Re: Long rant on my religious outlook Mal

Posted by Dinah on August 8, 2005, at 16:20:42

In reply to Long rant on my religious outlook, posted by Mal on August 8, 2005, at 2:01:13

I started looking to go back and re-establish a relationship with God when my son was a baby. I think it's sort of a natural time. I did a lot of prayerful study, and spoke with various spiritual leaders, and settled on a rather progressive denomination that values individual thought while being very clear on what duties we have to our fellow man.

It's possible to re-establish a relationship with God, even through organized religion, in a way that is congruent with your adult beliefs and values.

I didn't have a horrible experience in either church I was raised in. I learned valuable things from both, although I never really identified with one of them, and still identify closely with the other although I'm no longer a member. A lot of what I teach my son comes from the best of that religion, along with my favorite readings along the way. I'm also fairly nondirective with him. When we discuss death, for example, I present many of the various ideas that different world religions have as to what happens afterward. And admit I have no idea which if any are right.

But I do want him to have a joyous and loving relationship with God. I need to reinstitute more family prayers. We've tended to slide into the ritual ones, because my son finds comfort in ritual.

 

THanks Dinah RayWW

Posted by Mal on August 10, 2005, at 19:01:15

In reply to Re: Long rant on my religious outlook Mal, posted by rayww on August 8, 2005, at 9:40:05

Thanks to both of you for your replies. I think you are right- I was taught how to be a good person- by Mom, really- and I can teach that to my daughter, too. I will try to find a church I am comfortable with. I have been liking the idea of methodists... ANyway, Dinah, I am glad to know you can relate to my "need" to find a church at the arrival of my child. Ya'll have a great week!
MAL


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