Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slide, Slide, Slippity Slide

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Boy, this is embarking on a slippery slope.  One of those things I thought I'd never blog about.  Religion.  Well, not really religion.  I guess it's more about our personal struggle with religion.  I'm not going to go on the record to tell you my beliefs and make you believe the same as I do...cause that would be cult-ish....and I am not cult-ish.

As part of my preparation for my appointment with Dr. Laura on Saturday, I have been doing a lot of writing.  Writing about my feelings and why I think I feel the way I do.  Writing about things that I feel need discovering and worked through.  Things like that.

One of them is our church-going habit.  Or lack there of.  Faith is something that is extremely important to me.  Something that I abandoned for some time and am just now coming back to.  It's a working relationship....just like any other relationship.  You have to always be an active participant to make it work.

(I just shoved a handful of Funyuns in my mouth and I'm so thankful that you are not here in front of me having to smell this horrible Funyun breath.  Or maybe you're the thankful one.)

We are all baptized Catholic.  All three of us.  And we all love the Catholic faith.  Well, Kinley is just in it to show off for everyone around her.

That being said, we are really struggling to find a church home up here.  Back in southern IL, we found our perfect fit.  Had we not moved, this wouldn't be an issue.  But we did, and it is.

My side of the story is this:  loving God and worshiping God is within yourself.  It doesn't matter what "building" you go to for worship.  But also, community is just as important.  Having support from your church community is showing God's love to one another.  That is where most Catholic congregations (in my opinion) fall short.  Let's face it, Catholics worship very privately.  In most instances.  (oh, here goes that slippery slope, I feel myself sliding on the brink of really offending someone.)  Aside from the "let us offer each other a sign of peace" there is no real interaction between the parishioners.  Well, okay, some socializing before/after mass.  But when I compare my experiences in the Catholic churches that we've visited up here to what I see happening with other friend's churches, I feel slighted.  Slightly.  Slightly slighted.  You get my point.

My case in point is this:  Church ABC (no, it's not really called that but for privacy, we'll call it that) is a non-denominational church.  All are welcome.  It is a more modern style of service (which could take some time getting used to--mostly the music.)  There is a younger congregation--more young families, like ourselves.  They do small groups during the week for fellowship.  They have a nursery for babies!  There is a sense of community.  A sense of loving God and one another throughout the entire church family.  To me, that is religion.  The religion that I want to be a part of.

I will not deny that the full Catholic mass brings peace to my heart.  I am often brought to tears by the receiving of Communion.  But the feeling of walking in and no one saying hello, no one reaching out to say "welcome to our church family", no one giving a friendly handshake, wave or smile, just leaves me kind of sad.  Children are frowned at when they giggle or fuss or throw their toys.  But yet there is no nursery.  Just a "crying room" where you are put with all of the other young families.  Tell me how easy it would be for you to worship in a glass box full of playing children.  The Catholic churches that we've visited are very stoic.

I love Kinley with all of my heart, and then some.  But when it's time for me to worship and have that hour of devoted time for prayer, etc. it is hard to do just that when you're fighting with a toddler.  A nursery would be a nice option.  Let her play in a safe environment where she can enjoy herself rather than be shhhh'd and passed back and forth between mom and dad. And at the same time, mom and dad could worship together.

So that is my opinion.  If I could find a Catholic church that embraces all of what I feel I'm looking for, then sign me up! 

My husband on the other hand, he's a cradle Catholic (born and bred) and he sees no other way than that of attending a Catholic church.  He prefers the stoic, structure and rigidity of the Catholic mass.  And there is no room for discussion with him on this subject.  So what do I do? 

Attend church on my own?  Bite my tongue and "learn" to worship while in the crying room?  I mean, in a few years when Kinley learns to sit still and quiet in the pew next to us, this won't be a real issue.  She'll eventually be old enough to partake in catechism.

My fear is that if I chose to attend my church, I'll have to do it alone.  What kind of picture would that paint for Kinley?


Summer said...

Wow, nice blog! Great points and good writing. I have some opinions, but none too major. Has Richie tried Church ABC? They take a while to get used to, but once you get involved it (I guess that should be He)is AMAZING and does awesome things in your life and marriage. Things I don't believe I have felt before in the past. Also, I will have to say that I love the traditions of the Catholic faith but that's really all I know of it. I was raised Southern Baptist where things were hymns, pews, etc. Church ABC sounds like our church now and it took me time to get used to and I'm still getting used to it. All I can say is pray about it, all aspects regarding it (and I will too). How does Dr. Laura feel about religion? Is she a Christian-based counselor? I didn't know how all that worked.

Anonymous said...

Joy, wow, well said, and I don't know where to begin.

All I can say is that keep checking the Catholic Churches out in the area. If a Catholic Church has a set "boundary" for it's parishioners, then that's not the one you want. I'm a parishioner at 2 Catholic Churches (you know who this is), and though I don't go weekly as I should, my beliefs in God are still strong. If there are "boundaries" based on where you live that are set for going to one Catholic Church vs. another, then that is not the Church for you, or me either. You should be able to pick the Church that is right for the family. One Church I am a parishioner at is more of the old fashioned Cathedral types. The other is more modern. Growing up, the Church that I attended was a converted gym, before they did extensive remodelling to it. Which do I like and prefer? Well, I kinda like both, and it to me all depends on the types of priests that are at the Church, the other parishioners, and how involved the Church is with their parishioners. It shouldn't be just about going to Church weekly for an hour and praying. It should be about what other things the Church has to offer to it's parishioners. I like Parishes that have younger priests that get along with the "younger" generation, but still know how to mix in the older people. To me, they are more up to date on things. The older priests, do have the knowledge, but they can also get carried away with their homily and tend to dwell or repeat things too much.

Now, not to get off topic, though I am 100% Catholic, do I believe in everything that the Catholic Faith puts forward. I'd have to say no. I shouldn't be told what to wear or not wear to attend a Mass. I shouldn't be told how much to put in the collection basket. I shouldn't be told that I have to stay for the entire Mass when I have to be at someplace at a certain time, and I can't attend another Mass. Personally, I think that the Catholic Priests should be allowed to get married. Deacons can. Alter Servers can now be girls. Things need to change. Perhaps if that change occurs, the Priests out there won't be seeking out young boys or men during their early priesthood, and then get expelled from the Church and sued. After all, other religions are allowed to have priests get married. Ok, enough about that and getting off on my tangent.

As for you and the decision you all make, it has to be a group decision. There are Catholic Churches and Parishes that have what both of you are looking's just finding them that takes the time. After all, I do remember growing up, that although I went to Church on a weekly basis, every week even on vacations, it probably wasn't until I was in 7th or even 8th grade that I stopped dozing off during the Mass itself and finally paid attention.

Now, with all that said, I don't normally respond to blogs or posts, and the reason why is that I go off in all different angles. Hopefully some of what I said makes sense. Then again, there are also 2 things that I don't normally talk too much about either. One is of course Religion. The other, Politics.

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