I’ve never considered myself an overly religious person. I’m a self-identifying Roman Catholic. The rest of my family is either United Methodist, CME or Non-Denominational with a splash of Muslims. Being a non-believer was never an option and while I flirted with the idea of agnosticism I always came back to believe there is a God and a Christ who died for my sins. Now I’m not a firm believer in the “church” as we know it. There are a percentage of churches and ministers that lead them that are hustlers. I’m looking at you Creflo Dollar. As I got older my desire to go to church waned. Now with us bringing in a new life into the family I have to revaluate my feelings on religion and specifically church.
The question I always ask myself how do I make peace with the part of my mind that is logical where religion asks me to suspend belief? I’ve come to discover that the Bible is a guide for how to live and like most self help books there are some exaggerations (i.e. Jonah in a whale or large fish) but the principles of faith and treating your fellow man with respect and love transcends the book. I like the religion but loathe some of its representatives. As I mature in my faith I’m starting to be able to separate the two.
I want to bring my child into a loving world. I want them to be supported by relatives and family from a church. We have started to rely on faith while going through this process. I can’t remember the last time I “let God”, if ever. I am a work in progress but I know that as I work through this I will have a little person mimicking how I treat people. Its up to us to help them make their way in this world. We can teach them to be respectful, loving and tolerant of people. Lea and I have made it a priority to attend church more. We are attending more because we want to and not because of some subconscious guilt that was instilled from us at a young age. Going to church because you actually want to makes it more of a pleasurable experience.
I guess to gain some insight you need a quick history lesson of mi familia. My mother is a stronge believer and lives by the golden rule. My mother does not hold grudges (she doesn’t forget though either) she will still help you even if you wronged her, if you need her. She’s that kind of person. (I personally struggle with the whole not holding a grudge thing) I have an Aunt Linda who pretty much has a God’s cell number and twitter handle. She is the dictionary version of a woman of faith; my cousin and brother are both pastors. You would think that’s enough God for any family but we have extended family who are ministers and just strong people of God. I always jokingly refer to myself as the heathen of the family. Religion was always a big part our family. I went to a private catholic school so I would have to attend Mass on Friday and sometimes go to church on Sunday. Once I was of driving age my mother told me, “I don’t care what church you go to but you’re going to a church on Sunday’s”. That’s how I discovered that I would rather be a Catholic than anything else. I couldn’t do a 3-hour service. No matter how much mamma would say if you could sit through a football game you can sit through church. No. It’s not the same. Not nearly as exciting there are not fun commercials breaks in Church.
My goal is to instill a strong sense of faith into our child. Be the best man/father/husband I can be so I can set a positive example for them. I wouldn’t want my children to blindly follow anyone or anything. I want them to have questions; through questions you gain a deeper understanding. But you have to surround yourself with positive people and some of those people are found in church. We need to be more consistent with building our church family. I know it doesn’t begin or end there. It’s really about how we treat people in the real world day to day. It’s easy to be nice in church but how do you carry that out in the world. My parents put that in me at an early age – treat people with respect, don’t hold grudges, and forgive. I fall short on forgiveness; I normally take the ambivalent route. I’m well short on divinity if that’s what it takes for forgiveness. I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?