Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On Faith...

We've been, as a family, on a faith journey for going on six years now.

When you take a Southern Methodist Republican, sprinkle in a moderate Democratic disillusioned Catholic, add in the challenge of getting out the door on a Sunday morning when single and joining friends for football watching is on the horizon, twisting in some kids and the added challenge of getting out the door period, and oh yea, just feeling different about how a church can function in a family who looks for different things out of it, you end up... well... not in church.

Shawn will tell stories about how he joined me at an Episcopal Church on the Hill when we were first dating.  I went there on a regular basis because I literally lived on the same block.  He attended in the middle of Terri Schiavo, and the hymn on Earth Day about splitting the atoms, and he was... well... OUT.

We tried some Old Town churches, but they were so very Old Town, and so very high church.

And we spent a lot of Sunday mornings not going to church.


Like most of them.

We look for different things in church, but we both grew up in it.

I struggle with the very Biblical, very conservative church.  You know, the Southern Protestant kind.

I (and this is Susann speaking), have a hard time "needing" church.

I don't need a service to feel spiritual.

I, in general, feel uncomfortable in a structured church setting.

There are a few moments that I realized Catholic maybe didn't jive well for me. One is when I wrote a letter to the Bishop asking to be an altar girl. Let's be fair. It was South Carolina in the late 1980s... but he said no.

Another is the Church's perspective on artificial reproductive tech and how we had to build our family.

But I was Catholic. I am Catholic. I don't know the Bible inside and out.  I know the stories.  I know the structure, but it's not the foundation for me. I'm not sure it ever will be. I didn't crack a Bible until... well... at Church a few weeks ago.
Some of my most vivid memories as a kid revolve around church. But its not about the big C church... it's about the community. It is about the family friends we built. The matching outfit i wore with my sister (and one of our dolls) in a fashion show. The learning "La Cucharaca" song in an enriched Spanish class. But our family friends, in general, revolved around the church.

It was a biggish city... Jacksonville... but our community, our family friends, were in the church. Was it about faith? Was it about community? Was it about being in the same place in life? I don't know.

We both grew up going to church, and may think it is important for different reasons.  But I think we agree it is important to give our kids the fundamentals of faith.  The universe is good.  People are good.  Treat others well.  Live that way and for the future.  Etc. 

We have a family now.  We can probably, honestly, in DC, count on one hand the friends who go to church regularly.  That's... unusual?  Usual?  I'm not sure.  Maybe it is a function of a transient DC.  Maybe a function of being of the first in my group to have kids.  Maybe it is time, or perspective, but who knows.

We've found a good church.  We were invited by friends. 

We've resolve in 2013 to answer the question of how do we build that community?  How do we jive our different perspectives on faith with our kids?  How do we marry my "be a good person in the universe" with the church's "Jesus says xx and yy"?  And how do we become a part of that community when there just aren't, frankly, that many families in the same place?  And we're the Edwards.  We don't do it halfway.  How do we be the change we want to see?

I'm seriously looking for advice here. 

I guess the question comes down to, how was faith taught to you?  Where did that leave you?  How do you teach it?  How does that leave them?  What worked and what didn't?  How do you teach children to be good people, respect others and themselves, and the world around them?  How to live well and with purpose?  And to know they have a safety net?

How does a Mom with a very healthy sense of "do it myself" let myself be pastored to?  Does everyone need to be pastored to? 

And how do you cross that divide from attending to participating?

We kind of owe it to these guys.

1 comment:

  1. I love the conversations this has initiated on Facebook and via email. There are many searchers out there, and spirituality seems to be more important to our generation than organized religion. It will be interesting to see the church evolve with this...if it will!