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How to find a faith that fits your family?

January 28th, 2005 · 4 Comments

Last week Paul Beard described a conversation he had with another parent about raising kids with religion:

If your memories of churchgoing are not ones you’d like to repeat or visit on your own kids, how to choose a faith that fits?

Rayne talked with her daughter about religion

Until the rules and the reasons behind them — the dogma, they call it — are less important than the teachings of Christ, we won’t be really Catholic any longer.

So what are we? she asks.

I’m still trying to figure that out. We will set time aside every Sunday to talk about that, and what we can believe, and about what other people believe, and where it came from and why. Like the Beatitudes that Christ taught, and the Eight-fold Path that Buddha taught; these things aren’t very far apart and we should talk about them. Home church ourselves, I guess. Until now, we’ve talked a lot about values, what is good and what is evil, what God is, that we expect you to do good and not evil; but we’ve not talked much about the big picture. Religion is a big picture, where all of these things fall into place, into one big story. I guess we are trying to write the big story we can understand instead of trying to understand very old and broken ones that have been given to us by our families. It’s like some of the antique furniture we have around here, also given to us by our families. It might be pretty to look at, might be worth something, but it’s old and decrepit and can’t hold us. This old clock that won’t keep time, for example; it’s pretty and it sounds lovely when it chimes, but we can’t depend on it if we had to be somewhere on time. Sometimes you just have to use something new that works.

How can we write the big story of faith for our families? How can we use something new that works? How to find a faith that fits?

Ted and I are in the midst of this dilemma ourselves as we raise our daughters. I felt I could understand both Paul’s and Rayne’s points and I was grateful for what they shared in their posts. Blogs aren’t the best medium for this kind of conversation; instead I wish we could talk further together face to face over coffee.

In particular I liked Rayne’s description of religion as antique furniture: it’s old and decrepit and can’t hold us. Her words reminded me of this verse:

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22

Tags: faith

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kai Jones // Jan 28, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    As a Jew by choice, I have a lot of experience exploring those issues. Everything I do, ritual and prayer and synagogue attendance, is filtered through my goal of helping increase justice in the world, of healing the world (which is our job as Jews).

  • 2 Paul // Jan 28, 2005 at 12:38 pm

    Well said, Kai Jones. I think for many, churchgoing is a social thing, as I mentioned in my posting. People go where their family and friends go, rather than examine their beliefs and the various creeds to find a match.

    I wonder if there is a “political compass” type exercise for this? I suppose the range of beliefs is so much broader, it might be difficult to do.

    We are raising our global citizens as humanists, trying to install and amplify the compassion and altruism (my mind still boggles over the claim that altruism is immoral) they have inside them. I look at my diverse, multi-hued, multi-ethnic playground and realize how much further they are on their journey than I was at their age.

  • 3 Betsy Devine // Jan 28, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    I remember one early religion-and-reading lesson I wrote for my daughter. “Some people believe in one god. Some people believe in no god at all. Some people believe in many gods.” Mickey got very excited and said, “Me too–that’s what I believe! I believe in three gods!” I was wondering what she’d heard about the trinity, when she continued, “A daddy god. A mommy god. And a little-bitty-bitty baby god!” Her theology came straight from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

  • 4 Chris // Jan 31, 2005 at 5:10 am

    BeliefNet has has political compass type of survey for organized religion.

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