Monday, February 21, 2011

Children and Church

I was taught that it was a sin not to sit on Sunday with God, and that the only place to find Our Father was in a church. It didn't much matter where I was, I had to find a church to attend. This had nothing to do with having a church family; it had to do with the rituals of religion. I was also taught that we were not meant to read our own Bibles because we weren't enlightened enough to understand what the words meant. Only the priests had that privilege.

Our parents doled out severe punishment for skipping the sacred services, so Sunday became a day of penance rather than a day of prayer. As I grew older, I began to search for something more in spiritual living. I began to read sacred scriptures from many religious perspectives, but still hadn't been introduced to the idea that I may be able to obtain enlightenment. Because I had children, I began looking for a church home, but I never found a good fit.

Much of my inability to feel at home in church had to do with the one-sidedness of the services. I often found nothing enriching or enlightening in the impersonal explanations of what the Bible supposedly said. All the ritual made me very nervous because it allowed for no variation and no questions. But the straw that broke my camel's back was the insistence on separating me from my children during the service because my children were thought to be either too young to understand the adult service or too distracting to other adults by virtue of their activity. I had one day a week to be with the greatest blessings in my life, and I was supposed to spend that day listening to lifeless lessons with people in whom I had no investment. I thought not. I didn't need any family that didn't want my children to be with me.

My way of worship was to celebrate every moment that I could be with my babies, preferably enjoying the bountiful beauty of nature. Where was that part of Sacred Scripture? Why wasn't I hearing about the absolutely divine grace that comes from watching love in action in families and friendships?

This blog is about finding those voices that experience the divine in everyday life. This is what I want in a faith family, not dogma and disrespect for the families of other faiths. Sacred Scripture, in my opinion, is every word written (or spoken) celebrating the gifts of Creation, including the gift of turning our pain into passion for a more Holy and just people.