mangofandango: (evil hand issues)
So, here's a thing I've been thinking about.

I went to church this weekend. Not really on purpose, or rather, not really for Going to Church Of My Own Accord. I was singing with Ryan's family (singing has suddenly become okay and fun, even if my voice is weak and little.)

The sermon was great. I said after that it was like the pastor had chosen that day to come out to the congregation, about all of his not-quite-orthodox beliefs - and you can imagine that I enjoyed that. It was really empowering, and he said a lot of things that I agree with, even if I don't come by them the same way or feel exactly the same way about them.

Regardless of that, though, I still felt sort of uncomfortable and small being in a church. The sermon should have taken care of those feelings, and I did feel better during it. But I think being in church dredges up years of stuff - sitting in pews reciting things I didn't quite believe, in an environment where you are absolutely expected to believe everything that is being said. And the baptism...well, I don't plan to baptize my children, at least not in a Christian church in the traditional manner, because I am not comfortable promising to raise my child to be a Christian. I'm not planning on raising Christians, specifically. I want to raise children who respect and value religion/spirituality, and are exposed to it in diverse forms. I want to make sure they feel free to seek out religion if they want to. But I don't want to promise that they will be Christians, because they might not be. That's up to them, and promising to steer them towards one religion specifically just doesn't feel okay to me. I want to teach them about ethics and morals, of course, but by talking about mine, and Ryan's, and what else is out there, and how we came to the ones we have.

I think the community that a church offers is really nice, and I understand why people want that. There are a lot of other things, too - sometimes I miss the ritual, the ornate beautiful ceremony that Mass can be. Sometimes I miss singing, and knowing everyone, and going through familiar and meaningful motions. There's comfort in praying, and in the guidance that religion gives you when things are hard. I know the value of that stuff is a lot greater if you really believe in everything that's going on. And it's not that I don't believe in any of it, or in any thing - it's just that my beliefs are complicated, and not really Christian (although they incorporate some Christian stuff, I don't think most people would call them Christian, and I don't identify as Christian). So being in a room full of people who expect that since you're there, you're One of Them...that's a little bit uncomfortable for me.

I realized, though, that it doesn't need to be uncomfortable. I can probably learn to just approach time in church as visiting, and that will be fine. Some things are still awkward, but I think I can treat them as a visitor would treat them and that is okay. But I have to sort of unload some of my religious baggage first, I think.

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mangofandango

March 2016

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