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That’s me! In the corner!

By Alice Bradley

The book Parenting Beyond Belief was featured this week on MotherTalk, and bloggers were invited to write about religion. The good people of AlphaMom suggested that I tackle the subject, so here I am, attempting to do so.
Religion has fallen out of favor lately. High-profile intellectuals argue that religion is not only an emotional crutch, it is socially dangerous as well. Richard Dawkins is a prominent example of this. Christopher Hitchens has joined the atheism front, expanding his vast pool of contempt to include the God-fearing. He belittles the religious as a “limited and literal” people. This is an extraordinary claim, considering that the religious live every day in a world that marries the mystical and the material. It’s a creative exercise Mr. Hitchens is apparently incapable of. But then, he doesn’t believe that women can be funny, either, so can we expect him to believe in God?
The new consensus, especially in the wake of such terrible religion P.R. as intelligent design (not to mention terrorism), is that faith equals dangerous ignorance. Even here on Wonderland, when a commenter mentions their faith, a knee-jerk reaction ripples through the comments that this person is somehow not worth listening to. As someone who was raised by deeply intellectual people who also value their faith, I find this personally galling. I have the utmost respect for the faithful. I cannot dismiss them out of hand. As for me, I can’t say I’m one of them, but I also can’t say that I’m not.
It’s hard for me to discuss Religion in general, given the myriad ways that God is defined and celebrated and prayed to. To me it’s like discussing Dinner as if everyone enjoys identical plates of gray mush, night after night. So I’m going to change tacks here and discuss my own history with religion.
I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. My family and I went to church every Sunday. I’ve consumed more of the body and blood of Jesus Christ than he probably literally consisted of. (He tastes like manila envelope.) I remember my Holy Communion (wore a lace veil; felt holy) and my Confirmation (wore lip gloss and mascara; felt womanly).
As I grew up, I became increasingly apathetic toward the church. I entertained myself at Mass by scanning the church for my friends. I couldn’t wait to free myself from my religious obligations. I don’t know exactly why. No one from our parish had ever wronged me. I had no bad experiences with nuns; I didn’t go to Catholic school. No one lectured me; we didn’t even say grace before meals. It was just knowing I was expected to live a life of faith that was the problem. If there was something I had to do, I resisted it. (This is probably why I did so spectacularly poorly in high school. )
And yet I was Catholic, and there was no avoiding it. The teachings of the Church were infused in my daily life. I thought about God pretty much all the time. (Are you there, God? I’m sorry about all the beer.) I would spur my dad to expound upon the teleological proof of the existence of God. I wanted to believe. I just didn’t want to work for it.
Then I went to college, where I didn’t go to church, not once. I was aware that I was letting down my parents, and I wore that heavy blanket of disappointment for those four years and beyond, that knowledge that I was failing them.
As I grew out of adolescence, I missed going to church. I missed the ritual, the feeling of a quiet space opening up inside me, the bells, the incense. I considered returning. But every time I steeled up the courage to again declare myself a Catholic, there would be some bit of Church news—new light on the sexual abuse inflicted by priests; the Pope issuing some anti-homosexual decree or proclamation—and I would retreat. I realize the Pope was not trying to hurt me, personally, but it felt like a slap in the face. I had a hard time imagining myself engaging in the church, declaring my faith among the other believers, when I believed that the leaders of the church were entirely wrong.
Still, I thought about going back. And thought, and thought. When I had Henry, I wanted him to be baptised. There didn’t seem to be any other way for him to be. Scott is Jewish but tolerant of my bouts with religion, so the baptism went ahead. Henry beamed at the priest as he drizzled holy water on his tiny forehead, and I had two concurrent thoughts: How can I not give this baby the experience of growing up in the Church? and How could I inflict the church on my innocent baby?
And here we are, several years later, and my internal battle rages on. We’ve attended church a number of times, especially as Henry grows old enough to sit through a mass (with the help of a few coloring books). And every time, my feeling about it is wildly different. There are times that I am practically weeping, it’s all so lovely. Then at other times there’s a priest who’s blathering on about the sins of Sodom and Gomorrha and I’m looking around at the other parishioners and trying not to scream, are you really buying this?
I have a hard time staying quiet. I think this is my fundamental problem, as a Catholic.
Clearly I have some need for religion, but I have problems with the Church, so shouldn’t I look elsewhere? The thing is, I can’t. I’ve tried. For me, being Catholic is like being a New Yorker. It’s hard to take other cities seriously, if you’re a New Yorker, and in the same way, the other religions seem a little…well, not Catholic. They just pale in comparison. I am completely indoctrinated, and thus, doomed.
My parents are liberal Catholics, and they seem to be at peace with all the contradictions inherent in that identity. They don’t consider their Catholicism a choice, after all. They’re Catholic like I’m blue-eyed. I’m not sure that I can do what they do. I think I can learn to love a church, but can I love The Church? Or do I need to, to be a Catholic?
No matter what I do, though, I know that I’m Catholic, whether or not I want to be. I like this feeling. And I worry that I’ll deprive my son of at least this much. Of knowing that he’s part of something larger, whether or not he wants to be.

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

...

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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Vikki
Guest

I grew up in Kansas, home of the evangelical Baptists. My father was an atheist and my mother was a fallen Baptist. We weren’t church goin’ folk. I sparked an interest in God for awhile and was baptized and did communion but religion never stuck with me. As a lesbian and feminist, I struggle with organized religion and the messages it sends. I have become rather phobic about religion in recent years because it is so often used to attack me and the family that I have created. I wish that I could have a completely intellectual reaction but, honestly,… Read more »

KATC
Guest
KATC

My best friend in grad school got confirmed recently because, she says, the Catholic Church needs some feminist women there. This is why I was delighted to be her Confirmation sponsor.
Also, my mom’s best friends in grad school were some feminist nuns who had gone to the convent because they weren’t allowed to become ordained as priests. I think their attitude was, “we are called to the priesthood, and we aren’t going to let you forget it.”
You aren’t the only RC out there with these questions, and I think you are also in really good company.

amy
Guest

wow. you nailed it directly on the head. if i could write as well as you, this is almost word for word how i would describe my feelings on religion. i grew up catholic too, but my rebellion started with backing out of my confirmation and then attending an episcopalian church (“backdoor catholics” as many would say) for the last couple years of high school. i occasionally miss some things about church: the family atmosphere, the singing…but overall i can not see myself being able to ever regularly attend again. yet, i don’t necessarily want my future children to be… Read more »

Chookooloonks
Guest

Alice, your story sounds like mine. Add that I was divorced, which in the Catholic church is definitely one of those not-looked-upon lightly things. So when I remarried an Englishman and our daughter was born, I found myself looking for a church again. And I landed on Episcopalean — sort of “Catholic lite.” For me, it’s got enough of the familiar that it feels true, yet the fact that our priest is married, the church allows gay clergy, and divorce isn’t considered the bullet train to eternal damnation gibes better with my own beliefs. Again, this works for ME. Just… Read more »

Ruby
Guest

Great post, Alice, as always. Thanks for sharing your personal history. I’ve had similar grapplings with religion myself. I was raised a strict fundamentalist – one those scary church-cults you hear rumors about – where women can’t wear pants or cut their hair or talk back to their husbands. I managed to come out of it relatively unscathed, thanks to the fact that my own parents were surpisingly sane and balanced, despite their environment. As an adult I also came to learn that my church had been a haven for pedophiles and rapists. I had a minor brush with one… Read more »

merseydotes
Guest

It is so interesting that you feel like you are ‘Catholic, whether or not [you] want to be.’ I have had friends tell me the same, though my Irish-Italian husband left The Church soon after we got married.
I have a problem with the Catholic Church’s view on communion and I just couldn’t become a member. But my husband left behind decades of heritage and probably made his former Catechism teacher grandmother turn in her grave. I didn’t really understand what a big decision that was at the time, but now I see it was monumental.

Scott M
Guest
Scott M

“And I worry that I’ll deprive my son of at least this much. Of knowing that he’s part of something larger, whether or not he wants to be.” Do you really need Catholicism, or any religion, to know that you are part of ‘something larger?’ Aren’t the human race, the Earth, and the universe larger than oneself? Isn’t it amazing enough that the elements that comprise your body are the dust of ancient stars? How cool is that?! You can probably guess by now that I share Richard Dawkins’ view that science and nature are more than enough to maintain… Read more »

Randomly
Guest

I think what Hitchens and writers like him are missing is the distinction between the faithful and their organizing leadership. Of course, the reason that the distinction becomes fuzzy is that religion demands unquestioning faith not just in God but in his representatives on Earth, especially in the Catholic Church. This point is made in a documentary I watched recently on the priest sex abuse scandal, Deliver Us From Evil, that I cannot recommend enough. It provides subtle analysis of the way that Catholic dogma lends itself to the perpetration of incredible atrosities against even the most innocent. It also… Read more »

Brenda Brown
Guest
Brenda Brown

I am a cradle Catholic as well and married a guy who had tried every Protestant denomination out there before he converted (prior to being married). We baptized the babies, went to Church every Sunday, and put our kids in Catholic school and about three-four years ago, he had a crisis of faith. He just wasn’t sure and declared to me that he was going to research religions on the Internet and when he was done, we would probably not be Catholic anymore (well, I thought, I will never not be a Catholic- it’s who I am– as much as… Read more »

Mauigirl52
Guest

Alice, I share your conflicts about religion. I was brought up in one of the “lite” Protestant religions (even though my father was originally Jewish, he had converted long before my birth). I went to church, got confirmed, did the usual things until I was a teenager, and then started to drift away. I had a brief bout of flirtation with a born-again Christian religion (because of a former boyfriend’s conversion!) but left the day they preached in support of Anita Bryant’s crusade against homosexuals. Since then I’ve admitted I’m a devout agnostic and a born skeptic. I would never… Read more »

kaleigh
Guest

Yeah, I can tell a similar story, except that I was raised Presbyterian and am now very happily involved (read: on the Board, on several committees, there all the time) with a Unitarian Universalist church. I agree – church is something that is so fundamentally different from so much of life. I can’t imagine my kids not being there. The friends they’ve made there, the “safe” adults that make up their non-blood family. It’s absolutely part of who we are. Keep looking – you may find just the right church for you. There are some awesomely liberal priests out there…the… Read more »

Ally
Guest

Ditto, ditto, ditto. Except, my husband’s Catholic too. And, we’re now Methodists. We found a lovely, liberal, questioning, life-long learning congregation about 10 minutes from us and immediately felt at home. All the ceremony of Catholicism, yet the pastors are married and women. It’s not without it’s problems and we belong to an especially liberal church, but we all love it, especially our son.

Amy
Guest

When I was a kid, my parents dragged my brother and I to church because they felt like it was important for people to see us there. It was a social thing. Then I somehow got shipped off to the fundamentalist Christian camp and was completely horrified and traumatzed by what I heard an experienced there. Even at the age of eleven, I knew that I could never believe in the same God these people did. Their God said that men who had long hair and women who worked outside the home were sinners, headed straight for hell. And their… Read more »

Kate
Guest

My story is the same. Liberal Irish Catholic parents, Catholic school or CCD when we didn’t live close enough to Catholic school. My parents divorced (my mom 3 times!), and they just sort of stayed with the church and made it work for them, ignoring the parts that didn’t work for them. Now, with four kids, I have the same dilemma. I’ve had them all baptized, but after my oldest son’s First Communion, we got a letter from the Church asking for money to help pay for all the lawsuits against pedophile priests, we walked away and, while I can’t… Read more »

Alyce
Guest
Alyce

I don’t really have anything to add, except to thank everyone thus far for keeping this a respectful conversation and not a screaming match.

Mark Eagleton
Guest

The contradictions within the doctrine that frustrate you, and your internal struggle with being Catholic whether you want to or not, are a good examples of why so many choose an atheistic view.
I recommend The God Delusion by the afore mentioned Richard Dawkins. Seek the truth and ye shall find. You have to look in lots of different places, though.

ozma
Guest

Is it possible for me to love you even more than I did before? Yes, every time I think I’ve reached the heights and depths of my adoration for you, you just turn around and wow me so more. This post is a little strange to read since large swaths of it are completely true of me, down to the Jewish husband and the beer. One thing I ponder are the heavy technicalities I have to get through if I ever wanted to rectify this situation–the special dispensation to marry? The civil marriage? Etc. Very daunting and there is this… Read more »

Monica
Guest
Monica

Wow, this is exactly how I feel toward religion except Find & Replace “Catholic” with “Mormon”.
Especially the paragraph about New Yorkers and the last paragraph (my daughter just turned one).
So frickin’ true. (See, I told you I was Mormon)

jen
Guest
jen

Im not Catholic, though just about everyone I work with is, so over the years, I have developed a lot of Catholic Guilt! I am Lutheran. Which is like Beer Drinking Catholics. My parents made me go to church every Sunday as I was growing up. And, I went to parochial schools. I never went to church the four years I was in college. I never quit believing, but I always thought I was looking for Something More. Turns out I was wrong. I was just looking for What Was Right In Front Of Me. I go to the same… Read more »

Kristina
Guest
Kristina

I was baptized Catholic as an infant. I went to parochial school from K- 5. Tried public school for street cred and then ran back to parochial school as fast as my skinny Catholic legs could take me. My faith is as much apart of my identity as my name. I have tried as I got older to remove myself from the religion, as well as it’s teachings *(the ones that I don’t agree with). However, the more I tried to distance myself, the stronger I felt the pull of wanting to go right back to the community and family… Read more »

Pamm
Guest

I, too, was raised a Catholic, was sure I would be a nun when I was young. I left the Church at age 15 and never looked back. I cannot imagine participating in any way, except to go to the Cathedrals wherever I go, as I do with all religious sites. But that doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual. For me, spirituality and religion are not the same thing. My spiritual life infuses everything I do and am. I am very thankful for having grown up in Midwest with the only religion that honors Mary as well as Jesus and had… Read more »

DM
Guest

My mother was Catholic but was ex-communicated when she married my father. Not for the reason I would have thought (He was a Jehova’s Witness) but because he was divorced. Mom had me baptized Catholic a week after birth because she was afraid I’d die and go to Purgatory (Limbo?). When I was in 8th grade we went to a neighboring Lutheran church. I loved it there and was confirmed. I was later told by a great-aunt that I was going to hell for not being Catholic. Years later, I found myself attending an Assemblies of God church. I ended… Read more »

Marika
Guest
Marika

Obviously your struggle is a very familiar one for most of your readers. To be brought up in a church, any church, and then not have it be a part of your life as an adult is difficult. For me, it is always a question of how to be a Christian yet also be pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-environmentalism, & pro-gun control. As much as I don’t espouse many of the views of my church, I know that I have a personal relationship with God and that going to church always brings that home to me. When I have children someday,… Read more »

dorothy
Guest

Nobody puts Baby in the corner.
Ahem.
I identify as Lutheran, and I identify with Jesus, because he was all hanging out with thieves and prostitutes and washing people’s feet without all the judging the religious right does today. I identify with love thy neighbor. I don’t identify with hate.
I have a feeling the religious silent majority identifies with me.

Cobwebs
Guest

I think that much of the current backlash (or perceived backlash) against religion isn’t really about religion itself but about those who are trying to force their religious views on others. You are welcome to believe that the universe was sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure, just so long as you don’t try to prevent me from owning a handkerchief because your religion says they’re unholy. Hitchens can be a bit shrill, and I’m almost sorry that he’s weighed in on the subject because his approach tends to turn people off. However, Dawkins’ “God Delusion” is… Read more »

Penny
Guest
Penny

Even here on Wonderland, when a commenter mentions their faith, a knee-jerk reaction ripples through the comments that this person is somehow not worth listening to. As someone who was raised by deeply intellectual people who also value their faith, I find this personally galling. Thank you for that. I have certainly experienced that “rippling” myself, and when I have tried to politely draw attention to that process on liberal political blogs I have gotten my rear end handed to me on a platter. It’s deeply discouraging, so I appreciate your willingness to include people of faith in your intellectual… Read more »

MySideoftheDesk
Guest

I had rejected Catholicism by the time I was 13. In my post Catholicism search for truth I spent a decent number of years as a practicing pagan. I then slid towards atheism by my mid 20’s. My husband was raised atheist. We will raise our kids atheist, but if they wanted to practice a religion, we would question why they felt that way, but wouldn’t prevent them from it. However, it would certainly be an issue if they wanted to embrace all the tenets of a religion like treating women or gays as second class citizens. My husband’s comment-I… Read more »

Melanie
Guest

I think I’m in a minority here, because I’m an atheist 100%. I wasn’t raised with much religion – my mom is Protestant but only rarely took us to church, and my dad grew up Catholic but never took us to church – and when I was a teenager I tried a few different things but nothing felt “right” to me. The idea of there being any sort of higher power just doesn’t sit with my view of the world at all. That said, I am definitely fine with other people believing in whatever they like. My beef with religion… Read more »

amanda
Guest
amanda

this was wonderful. thank you.

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

My first thought when reading the comments was “Thank God” when I came upon the few commenters who have managed to keep some of the “religious” traditions that they enjoy while also finding a true “faith” community that shares their beliefs. I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, a small denomination that is one of the historic Peace churches. The teaching of peace has always stuck with me throughout the years, even when I also stopped going to church in college. After moving to an area where finding a Brethren church wasn’t an option, I started to miss… Read more »

shades of gray
Guest
shades of gray

I find it interesting that many of the commenters present religious choice as one of two things: either a version of Christianity or Atheism/Agnosticism. I realize that is the normative in the United States, but there exists more than that in the world. I, myself, was raised in a strict Southern Baptist household and although I tried very hard to be a “good girl”, from the time I began to wonder about religion I found myself skeptical of the claims that are made about religion by the SB’ers (if you, yourself, are Southern Baptist: consider it my own personal failing).… Read more »

OMSH
Guest

I am Protestant. My faith is based on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I grew up in this belief structure and then, in college, I sorted out all the bits and pieces for myself. That was a healthy time of questioning in my walk, but it didn’t stop … I still read, ponder and ask questions. I’m raising my kids in the church. By that, I mean attending church – reading the Bible. They will come to their time of questioning and I will give them the same broad lead my parents did, knowing their own personal relationship with the… Read more »

belgianwaffle
Guest

As a catholic the things that annoy me most about the catholic church are its attitude to homosexuality and women priests. Yes, I know, I should be exercised about the condoms/aids thing. I don’t think that’s right either but I feel it’s consistent. The homosexuality/women priests thing is discriminating against people and it makes me cross.

Joanne
Guest

I’m reasonably sure that people are just baptized in to the Christian church (in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost). It’s not necessarily a Catholic baptism, or Methodist, or whatever – I think the only thing that differs is the time in the person’s life that they’re baptized. Not that that’s a small thing, but I just think it’s important to recognize that once you’re baptized, you’re baptized, at least as far as the Catholic church is concerned. I was raised Catholic and am still Catholic. I definitely went through periods with the Church where… Read more »

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

I think it’s so incredibly weird for people to blame every bad thing in the world on religion. When something is done in the name of ‘religion’, it seldom has anything to do at all with religion. The problem isn’t the faith, it’s the people using faith as an excuse to be malicious. I’m pretty sure that even if we lived in a world completely without any type of religion, the same horrible things would happen. If someone wants to be racist or sexist or wants to judge people based on their sexual orientation, they will find a way to… Read more »

haus
Guest

we were lucky to find a liberal lutheran church in our new home town – lucky because I insist on being lutheran, I can’t help it, it seems to be genetic
a couple of weeks ago our pastor said during his sermon “honest doubt is not the enemy of faith. absolute certainty is,” making me feel better for my own lapses over the years

John of Ginohn
Guest

I used to be a hard-core Catholic, because I was born into it and my Dad was very persuasive and had lots of good ol’ propaganda around the house. (e.g. C.S. Lewis argues well.) We also went to mass more than the average American Catholic, which can affect one’s belief system in a big way. By the time I was 19, I was drifting away from all that, and I guess by 23 I was calling myself a “retired Catholic”, leaning toward agnostic. Most of my siblings left a bit earlier, I think. Catholic brainwashing is a very effective procedure… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

I share some of the personal histories of others commenting here, given a different childhood religion or different early adulthood “conversion” or seeking. But I’ve wound up coming closer to John’s “I don’t believe in a god, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I discovered I’m wrong.” My less endearing term is agnostic atheism. All religions are based to some extent on magical, non-realistic foundational events. Founding events and persons which violate the laws of physics and all known rational experience are recounted and quoted to generate a belief structure. My experience is that the resultant structure does… Read more »

Poppy
Guest

The problem with religion isn’t God; it’s religious people.
They’re such a pain in the ass that staying with a belief is as hard as staying with a husband.
When I can’t take it any more, I find solace in religious writings. C. S. Lewis, Chesterton, Church fathers, the Bible are all wonderfully vivid and cleansing.
I also make a point of deliberately zoning out during announcements and sermons. My hour in church is the one time all week I can hang out with God, so if the other people aren’t up to snuff, I tune them out.

Bad Hippie
Guest

I once told my very Catholic family that I would never set foot in a church until the Pope called me and personally apologized for all the atrocities foisted upon women, children, and other oppressed classes during the first few centuries of its existence. That statement was probably a direct result of studying religion, by choice – in college, and coming away with a seriously twisted academic view of the whole business. Now, I go to the local United Church of Christ. It is liberal, inclusive, and socially active – everything I crave. Plus, the administration is willing to take… Read more »

Nicole
Guest

I grew up in a Christian family, Baptist to be exact. And as a result I received a beautiful, but flawed, inheritance of a deep religious tradition and spiritual Christian faith from my family and the church that I was a part of for my entire childhood and adolescence. I felt very strongly called to ministry as a teen and college student, but my denomination didn’t allow women to be ordained. So, I embarked on what has now been a ten year search, a spiritual one, for what my calling is and how I’m supposed to live it out. I… Read more »

Meg
Guest
Meg

Indeed! And well written. I’ve struggled with some of this myself. I was raised by a liberal Baptist and liberal Episcopalian, and I ended up identifying with the Baptist side of things (I tell people I’m Baptist like Bill Clinton, not like say, Falwell). Some of the wonderful parts of my tradition are getting to interpret the Bible on my own, challenge clergy, and ask questions.. Of course, my story is a bit more complicated, because my boyfriend is Jewish. We attend and are active members of a Synagogue, where my penchant for being disagreeable and doing my own close… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

Such a good discussion. So much better than when my leftie friend got hissed and booed on a lesbian discussion list for making people “unsafe” by inviting them to a discussion on feminism and Anglican faith, or when my academic colleagues roll their eyes about our black colleague who is involved with the AME church. I was raised without a church. I’m taking my daughter to a historically gay, progressive Episcopal Church so that she can see what collaborative generosity looks like, for the music, for God if she wants him, for the moments of stillness. It’s true that I… Read more »

Dana
Guest

Alice, thank you. Thank you for writing this. As a Catholic, I can relate to some of the parts of your post.
However, even though I was born and raised Catholic, I made the conscious choice to practice my faith.
Yet, I’m so sick of mentioning my religious faith and having people go on the attack. It’s crap.

B.
Guest
B.

I think Dawkins is brilliant. Everything finally fell into place for me after I read The God Delusion. I finally feel normal. It’s too bad atheists are ostracized here, and I can’t tell anyone except my husband and one female friend.

Jenn Bo
Guest
Jenn Bo

I completely understand your internal struggles. On so many levels. I have no idea how I will address this when I do have a child, but I’m sure it will be something like what you are experiencing.

Lauuren
Guest

My mom was raised Catholic but, unlike you, she felt like she did have choice in the matter and rejected her religion as a teenager. She was the only one out of the ten children (yup Irish Catholic)to refrain from going to church. I believe it happened around the time her field hockey team suggested praying for victory and she thought “but what if the other team is praying for the same thing?” She doesn’t consider herself Catholic anymore. My dad is Jewish. They were married by a priest and a rabbi together. My one set of great-grandparents had never… Read more »

Mallory
Guest
Mallory

🙂 You sound a lot like my mother (not meant to be said in the snotty, “Omigawwwd you sound like my MOTHER!” tone in which that phrase is so often balked). My mother always made it a point to me that FAITH and RELIGION are separate entities, and that she felt God is a bit more forgiving of religious shortcomings if you can muster enough faith to fill in the gaps. We went to Church every week, and I appreciate where you’re coming from when you say that the ritual can be both appalling and lovely at the same time.… Read more »

Chris Brown
Guest
Chris Brown

You really are an excellent writer. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Thank you for treating it with respect. Your openness and honesty was refreshing.

twink
Guest

I work in ministry (for the moment; I am soon taking what you might call a sabbatical) in the Catholic church. Your story, your questions are SO MUCH like mine. I have a friend here at work who is also outspoken, who thinks about social justice and who loves the ritual and the truenesses of the church. She’s a wonderful person. She says, quite frequently these days, “If we leave, then they don’t have to deal with us anymore.” So she stays. And I stay. Because I am not willing to give over MY church to closed-off ideas that I… Read more »