Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

More On Faith

So, it seems that Diminutive One has acquired quite a female following.

There is a group of girls, ages 5 to 10, that are siblings of Pubescent One's teammates. There are two little boys his age as well, but they don't attend regularly.

As a result of having to while away many long hours of spectatorship at the ballpark together, he has become quite friendly with these girls.

They flirt with him outrageously but he is completely oblivious to that fact. He is nice to them and very happy to have someone to keep him company. But he doesn't flirt back because he just doesn't get it.

One little girl, who is the Coach's daughter, is his particular friend. They really dig each other in a "My Girl" kind of way. Recently, she had her first communion, and it was a very big deal. As such, it was the topic of much discussion between the two.

One evening, Diminutive One told me that "Abby" kept asking him what religion he was. We've had many similar discussions before, but I don't think I've ever given him a way to explain what it is that we believe, or don't believe as the case may be.

So I said, "The next time someone asks you that, you can say that you are an Agnostic."

"What's that??" he asked.

"Well, that means that we don't really believe in or belong to any one religion the way some people do. We don't do things that religious people do, like praying or going to church."

To which he replied, "Well that can't be good."

Good one, B.A. Let's try again.

"No, it is good honey. Because we like to explore and learn about many different beliefs, and we don't think there is a right or wrong way to worship God. We don't hate or exclude people because they believe differently from us."

That was the end of the discussion, but not the end of his ruminations. Later that evening, he raised the issue again.

"Mom, maybe we should be Catholic like Abby."

"Oh really? Why is that?"

He shrugged noncommitally. "It just seems kind of cool. She got a new bike for her first communion. What's communion?"

I explained, as best I was able, but the concept was a little abstruse for him to wrap his mind around.

I didn't tell him that once, my Father and his parents and his 11 aunts and uncles and all their children, had been staunch Catholics. Or that when my Grandmother decided to leave the Catholic church, she and my Father and his two brothers were all but abandonded by people who were supposed to love them.

I didn't tell him that because my father had a Baptist minister perform my grandmother's funeral service, her own brothers and sisters refused to attend, and the few family members that did keep in touch with him, stopped. I didn't tell him that when my Father's most beloved Aunt passed away, nobody felt compelled to tell him until she had been dead an entire year.

I didn't tell him that Catholicism had made many people in our family bitter and unhappy.

Instead, I told him that whatever he wanted to do, or believe, or learn about, was okay with us.

"Maybe you should ask Abby some more about it. Maybe her Mom and Dad would take you to their church to see how you like it."

He looked thoughtful for a moment and then he said, "Well...maybe I'll just ask for a bike for my birthday. That communion thing seems a little weird."

"Dude..religion isn't about getting presents. It's about believing in something greater than ourselves. You know that, right?"

"Yeah. I know. I just haven't decided if I believe that stuff yet."

"That's okay. I haven't either. But you have lots of time. It's not something you want to make a snap decision about. When something feels right, you'll know."

"How would you know?" he said dubiously.

"Well, I don't know from personal experience. But I've talked to a lot of people about it. And I have to believe that eventually, I'll find something that makes me feel the way I want to feel."

"Oh. Will you let me know when that happens?"

"You'll be the first to know, I promise. Well, besides God, that is."

He rolled his eyes at me, in a manner disconcertingly similar to that recently perfected by his 13 year old brother.

"IF there is a God."

"Yes, IF."

"Mom? Don't all religions believe in some kind of God?"

"Weeeeellllll, I'm no expert, but yes, I think most religions believe in a divine being."

"So..don't you think there might be something to that?"

"There might be, babe. There just might be."

I've written about this before...this feeling that I have that I am failing my kids because I have not provided them with the security that comes from faith. I feel that I am failing them when they ask for answers and I give them only more questions. I feel that I am failing them because I don't know, and kids expect parents to know...everything.

The only faith I can give him is that when he asks questions, I will answer honestly.

I hope that's enough. For now.

22 Comments:

  • At 6:25 PM, Blogger jess said…

    I think your honesty and openness with them is the best gift you can give them.

     
  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Hairline Fracture said…

    I agree with Jess. I like the way you kept the door open for exploration and discussions in the future.

     
  • At 9:09 PM, Blogger KT said…

    Your last 3 paragraphs "I've written about this before...this feeling that I have that I am failing my kids because I have not provided them with the security that comes from faith. I feel that I am failing them when they ask for answers and I give them only more questions. I feel that I am failing them because I don't know, and kids expect parents to know...everything.

    The only faith I can give him is that when he asks questions, I will answer honestly.

    I hope that's enough. For now."

    EXACTLY HOW I FEEL AND I HOPE MY REACTION IS THE RIGHT ONE B/C AT THIS POINT IT'S ALL I KNOW HOW TO DO.

     
  • At 10:27 PM, Blogger Traceytreasure said…

    I almost left this anonymously. I think the best thing you can do for your kids is have them believe in themselves. We can't prove that there is a God and we cannot prove that there's not a God. I have the same questions as your son. I have struggled with it for so long....If there is a God he hasn't heard or answered most of my prayers. Hugs, BA!

     
  • At 7:27 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    I think you're doing great by them BA. Only one bone of contention from another Agnostic. You said "I didn't tell him that Catholicism had made many people in our family bitter and unhappy."

    I used to believe that too. However, I think it has little to do with the religion and much, much more to do with the person. The people in my family professing to be the "best Catholics" are, in fact, the ones trying to hide their ugliness behind a veil of religious piousness.

     
  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    Giving your sons so much more than "just because" views of the world especially with regard to religion is supremely responsible and courageous.

    YaY for you.

     
  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I think you're doing Ok by then, Mama. I was given the "security" of faith as a Catholic, growing up. Once I became of the age where I could question and wonder and *gasp* think for myself rather than being told what to believe... the whole thing seemed a lil silly and akin to a glorified Santa Clause myth. That left me feeling hurt, confused, guilty and very insecure as I struggled with the lose of my faith and trying to choose the next path. It was a very hard thing to go through at just 19 and I think the converse... finding your own way on your own time when you are ready, is a much more pleasant way to go about religion.

    It feels more sincere, I'd think you could appreciate it more and it would mean more to you. At least that's what I'm holding on to as my kids grow up and one day, find their own path.

     
  • At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    You know, my mother is Catholic. Raised my sister and me Catholic. Made us get confirmed Catholic. One thing she said to me that makes no sense, when I argued with her over my confirmation was, "When you are out of my house, then you can decide for yourself. Until then, you'll do as I say. And I say you're confirming Catholic." Erm, wait. Confirming Catholic meant that I was picking to be Catholic for the rest of my life, so she was choosing for me under the guise of "my roof, my rules" but it was so backward. I think that was the beginning of the end of my Catholicism. That and when I asked her if she'd ever questioned her faith, she said no. That didn't seem healthy to me.

    I have yet to figure out what I am. I got married Methodist because that's what my husband is. But we were treated poorly at our wedding and subsequently when we baptised Gabe. I don't have issue with the belief in God, because it's what I grew up believing and I'm comfortable in that belief even if I question it sometiems, which I think is healthy so that I can explore and learn. So now we're church shopping. I don't think it was the religion, so much as the fallability of people in that church. We're still looking at Methodist churches and think we might have found one.

    What's the point of my ramblings? Only to say that I think, because I got the late start in questioning faith and determining my path (that I've really only fallen into by circumstance), you are doing a service to your children not trying to pigeonhole them into your personal set of beliefs. I think you're building a foundation for them where they can find their own way, and I think they'll find your willingness to share your truths with them while letting them make their own choices refreshing and strengthening of their own tolerances of others, even those who may be less tolerant of them.

    You're raising free thinkers, and I bet they'll thank you for it.

     
  • At 3:02 PM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    You haven't failed your kids. You are teaching them to think for themselves, to question ideals, etc. Maybe not now but one day DO will realize it and thank you for it.

     
  • At 6:47 PM, Anonymous gurukarm said…

    May I suggest, if/when the boys do start asking more questions about religion, that you let them know there are other places to look as well as the various Christian denominations. Just a thought. :-)

     
  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger Jozet at Halushki said…

    Well, as someone raised Very Catholic (12 years of Catholic school by nuns with rules) and as someone who left the Church and has now returned again after dabbling in eastern religions and pagan religion, I find that even when I think I've found a resting place, faith is still and always a journey. A conversation. Sometimes an argument.

    I think of my own faith as one long argument with God, lol.

    I'm an imperfect Catholic married to an imperfect atheist. I'm raising our children Catholic, and I encourage the questions. I tell them that I have my own questions, but that for now, I'm framing them within religion to see what God gives me to bump up against and then go from there.

    The one thing I tell my kids is that if anyone tells you that they have all the answers about God, that you should just nod your head and kindly say "Oh yes?" And then continue on with their own questions, their own lifelong conversation.

    And no one got a bike for her First Communion here. All she got was cake and a lasagna party. ;-)

    And yes, people do get nutty about religion. It's a shame. As if we need one more thing to separate ourselves from each other.

     
  • At 8:15 PM, Blogger Jozet at Halushki said…

    That should say "nuns with rulers"...and they used them.

     
  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger womaninawindow said…

    ARE you KIDDING? Failing them? NO, no, no...asking questions is should be the first step for everyone, whether a believer or not. Asking quesions is the basis of ALL. Oh, I think you are a success! I just happen to share the same faith - faith in the power of thought and conversation and family. The rest will come as it may...

     
  • At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    From what I just read, you and I could be related! Seriously....I always felt it was essential that I give my 3 children a foundation of some sort of belief system.... 2 are out of the house now... one is entering highschool, and I'm still not 50. I don't want to throw "organized" religion down their throats... but they have been exposed. All this time, though, I've repeatedly told them that when they would get to a certain age, they could choose for themselves. It was all about them...not me. Self-discovery is a beautiful thing.

     
  • At 8:55 AM, Anonymous katrin said…

    I was brought up with no religion and our family is tight-knit and loving. We operate with high morals and generosity because we are motivated to do so in order to make our world a decent place to live, not because we believe that if we don't, we'll do to hell.

    Now, that's the party line. What I really feel is just like you -- this weird sense of guilt that by not offering a religion to my kids I am closing them to the possibility of having a deep spiritual element in their lives.

    But it's all I can do. Just because 90% of my neighbors go to church, doesn't mean I can or should sit there next to them. We do the best we can, expose our kids to all sorts of good things, and then, CROSS OUR FINGERS!

    katrin
    co-author Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too
    www.momstimeouts.com

     
  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Loved by God said…

    You think you have all the time in the world to
    "decide" to believe in God? When you had your kids,
    did you think it best to wait until they got older and
    you got to know them better before you "decided" to
    love them? As a parent, wouldn't that hurt you if
    they felt that way about you? God loves you now and
    he wants a relationship with you now, not later! Read
    Revelations - it's God's promise of what's to come.
    You're lost and He's waiting for you to come back to
    him. He's doing everything he can to get the message
    to you. All you have to do is listen! Forget
    "religion," but choose God. He's everything you need.
    He will fill the void you feel. He loves you as you
    are, right now! Accept his grace!

     
  • At 11:02 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Loved By God:

    I have to say, that's an interesting perspective.

    But you see, I don't need convincing that my children exist. From that first little flutter inside my womb, I knew they were real. I didn't have to base my belief on someone else's hearsay, or a book that may or may not be a giant work of fiction.

    When they were born, I could feel them, hear them, smell them.

    Their love for me is evident every single day. It is not difficult to love them, nor does it require a leap of faith.

    Loving them does not require me to look down on or judge other people. Loving them has made me a better person. I believe this world is a better place because my children are in it.

    As a deeply convicted person, I think it's difficult for you to really understand the doubt that some people experience. You have unshakeable faith, but many people don't. And just because someone would like to have faith, doesn't mean they can snap their fingers and erase all the confusion and doubt that they feel about God, religion and the whole convoluted ball of wax.

    To love God, I have to first be convinced that he is real and that he is working to make this world a better place.

    I'm just not sure that's ever going to happen.

    But again, thank you for your perspective. I enjoy hearing from people who are deeply convicted about their faith. I admire and envy them.

    BTW, I have read Revelations. I have, in fact, read the Bible cover to cover. I was raised in a Christian home, you see. I attended church every Sunday until I left home to strike out on my own.

    It's a good read to be sure. But it doesn't inspire in me, what apparently, it inspires in you.

     
  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Loved by God said…

    You don't see evidence of God all around you? Have you ever been outdoors and just experienced utter peace and contentment? You've held a baby in your arms... The love you have for your children is from God. Remember when your husband nearly got killed by that car? God was there, protecting him. There is plenty of evidence, you just have to choose to see it for what it is.

    You won't ever see God "working to make this world a better place." That's not his job, it's yours. God works through us, that's how it works.

    God gave us free will so we are free to make our own choices, good or bad. That is why he cannot "interfere" when things go wrong.

    It is when we choose to accept Him that we gain the faith you're looking for. It won't hurt you to pray and ask him for what you seek. Seek and ye shall find. God answers prayer, just maybe not in the way you want.

    When your kids ask you for something you don't always give them what they want right? Not if it's not good for them. But you do what's best for them. You never let them go without. It's the same with God. He will always provide for you, it just may not always be what you want or how you wanted it. But you have to trust that he knows better than you do. He's sovereign and we're merely human.

    I've been where you are. I fought and fought God. I've had bad church experiences. It's exhausting. I'm happier now. Being God's child is not easy. It's not sudden happiness. But it makes it better knowing that we do not have to go through life alone.

    Listen to Christian Radio. See if God doesn't speak to you through the music. Just try it. That's all I ask. :-)

     
  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    Sounds like you're doing a great job. The more questions, the better.

    This is where I am right now in regards to the God question:

    God is that element inside each of us that inspires us to create...to love, to become something more and greater that who we are at the moment. It is an idea of what, and how, we might be.

    God is not outside of ourselves...God IS ourselves.

    As for heaven and hell...likewise.
    We create these places every day of our lives. Every moment.

     
  • At 6:33 PM, Blogger Jackie said…

    BA, I love your blog. I love how you express yourself so honestly and profoundly. And I also appreciate the conflict you feel.

    I am a fundamentalist Christian. My faith does not come from me, but from God's word to me. You say you've read the Bible, but how long has it been and have you understood what you've read? Do you see how God continually paints a picture throughout the Old Testament that points straight to Christ's gift of redemption? I don't know how anyone could deny the thousands of prophesies, the hundreds of parables, the symbolisms, the follies and then the repentance of God's people. It's all there for us. We have the freedom to repent or not.

    Because you are a very smart person, and fully capable, I suggest you do a Biblical word study on the word "glory" -- This word captures the essence of God. His presence right here in the midst of His people. See how He moves throughout the Old Testament times and then how His glory manifests itself in the New Testament. If nothing else, you'll appreciate the sheer poetry of Scripture.

     
  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Jackie:

    Thank you for your well thought out and I know, kindly intended comments. I truly appreciate your taking the time to speak so earnestly of something that you believe in so deeply.

    It's true that it's been quite some time since I read the Bible in it's entirety, but I have studied bits and pieces as an adult. Taken ss a strictly historical account of Christianity, I find it incredibly fascinating. I just don't know that I can buy it as a...spiritual guide. Does that make sense?

    Also, though I am conflicted about not providing my kids with a spiritual foundation, and sometimes mourn the lack of that in myself, I am not compelled right now, to seek out the kind of meaning or "glory" that you describe within it's pages.

    How's that for a complete contradiction?

    It's just...I have to feel open to even the *possibility* that there is a diving being who guides us and loves us and...does all that Christians believe God does....before I can start exploring that. And I just don't yet. Sometimes, I feel like I might be almost there, and sometimes, I feel like I am lightyears away.

    I know, I'm a mess.

    Again, thank you for your comment. I know that it comes from a place of great joy and conviction.

     
  • At 5:38 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    I'm right there with you BA.

     

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