Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spiritually Homeless

During our girls weekend my cousin and I had a conversation about religion. Specifically it was about a desire to believe something, and to teach our children something, tempered by a distaste for Christian culture and a belief that people can be good even without God telling them to be good. Christianity is my home. It's where I started and it is to this church that I return when I am struggling. But I don't feel at home there anymore. When I go there looking for answers I don't like what I find. I believe in some of the basic tenants of the faith but I cannot feel at home within the four walls of the church. If I'm honest, I know that my beliefs would disqualify me as a Christian in the eyes of most Christians. This leaves me feeling lost, like I have no home. I'd like to believe that my need for a spiritual home is a social construct, not necessarily something I need but something I've been told I need, but that's not true. I know that I need something that binds me to other people. I am considering the Quakers as a next stop on this road. Who knows, maybe one day I'll come home and it will feel like home again.

But this leaves me with the question of teaching our children. I want my girls to have a church experience and I want them to feel like they are part of something big, something outside of mommy and daddy that unites them to other people and to God. There will be things they learn that we don't agree with but I'm not much afraid that we can't just address those things at home. Right now it's easy, church is singing and puppets and Love. As they get older it may be more difficult. I hope that I can trust the values we teach here at home to influence what the children believe more than what they learn at a church program.
Elliet gave me hope this week when she came home from her mid-week church program:

E: They told us that God knew all our names before we were born.
St: Oh, that's cool
E: Yeah, I don't really believe that.
St: Oh really?
E: Well, yeah, I mean, you didn't even name me until I was born so that doesn't make any sense!

I don't recall ever once questioning what I was being taught as a child. She's a smart one!


  1. The bible is a collection of great stories, designed to keep us in line when we were 4 hairs from being baboons.

    If you teach your children to approach the bible like they would any other puzzle, with an open mind and a desire to learn, there are good lessons to be had, you just have to be able to discard the bad ones.

  2. thanks for always being so honest. You are courageous.


  3. Ya know, I attended a very liberal Catholic retreat and convention in January and it blew my ever-loving mind! I attended seminars on how to teach the bible to children and we were instructed specifically to teach the bible as a series of instructive stories. Apparently (and I did not know this) the Roman Catholic church does not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. Also heard a LOT about social justice and activism, feminism, how to interpret the bible as literature and forms of literature. It was awesome. Maybe getting involved with a church or wing of a church where there is more open-mindedness would help? I always felt like a weirdo liberal feminist interpretative outlier as a Catholic. Turns out there are a WHOLE lotta folks just like me. It was wonderfully spiritually uplifting.

  4. Also, Crystal Waters, "She's just like you and me, but she's homeless, soooo homeless!"

  5. Also, also? E looks so pretty here. (Using her initial to protect her online identity.)

  6. Hey Brian, thanks for stopping by, talk about honest! I'm usually pretty open but you and Megan knocked my socks off at the first meeting we had! Hope to see you again.
    Thanks Suzanne, I think I should look into the UCC's since I know they aren't literalists and there are one or two around here that are lgbt friendly. There may also be some open and affirming Episcopalian churches I can look into. It seems that all of the more liberal Christian churches are more liturgical than I like but it's not something that bothers me, just a preference. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. By UCC, do you mean Universalist Unitarian Church? As I read your post, that's exactly what I thought to suggest to you. Matt has visited the one in Finneytown, and the demographic wasn't ideal; perhaps the one in Clifton would be better. We like that the offer a more formal religious education for our kids without indoctrinating. Great Eli story, btw.

  8. Thanks. I have a friend who goes to a Universal Unitarian church in Wyoming. They do not have a particular religious belief system, my friend who goes there is an atheist. I would like to visit there and then there is also the United Church of Christ which is Christian but a little more liberal than CofCs etc. There are even a few in Cincinnati that are open and affirming (gay-friendly). That probably lines up more closely with my current belief system.
    I'd like to try them both out but UCCs can vary so I'd have to find a pretty liberal one to be happy there. UU would be good but I do want the girls to have Christ as a foundation so I'd definitely be supplementing their religious education. I've thought that it may come down to them going to VCC with Jedd and then going to the UU with me. Lucky for me, they like church!

  9. Just sayin', you should check out the Quakers. I'm uber happy there and I think it'd be a great environment for children to grow up in.

  10. Wow. Reading this post makes me think we are twins.