Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's Talk Religion

People say that there are two subjects that you should always avoid
talking about - religion and politics. But, if you've been reading my
blog for any length of time, you probably know I don't much care what
"people" say. Maybe I'll discuss politics next time.

I was raised in a christian home. My family prayed before meals and at
bedtime, we went to church every Sunday morning, I went to christian
camps, and I belonged to the youth group at our church. I even made the
decision to go to a christian college, believing that I would be
surrounded by more supportive, kind, teachers and students than if I
went to a secular college. Unfortunately, that belief proved to be
false, and I transferred to a secular college after my sophmore year.
Did that shake my beliefs a bit? Probably. At the time, I was dating "a
good, christian boy". After dating for 3 1/2 years, and one month from
our meticulously planned wedding, he lied to me, and broke my heart,
when I discovered he had gone away for the weekend with a female
"friend". Needless to say, the wedding was off. Did that shake my
beliefs a bit? Definately. I prayed and prayed for God to send me a man
that would cherish me, that I could trust. Then, I met Doug. When he
was killed on his motorcycle four days before our wedding, did that
shake my beliefs about God a bit? Oh, hell yes. I never really stopped
believing in God. I just didn't want to talk to him for a very long
time. I have since resumed our relationship, but my beliefs are a bit
jumbled, fuzzy, and uncertain.

My parents feel that Jim and I should take Dylan to church. Apparently
he already worships - at the Church of Nursery Rhymes.

Someone asked a friend of mine in college where she went to church. "At
The Church of the Holy Comforter", she replied. "Where is that
located?", asked clueless. "Uh, in my dorm room", my friend giggled. I
currently attend The Church of the Holy Comforter, or The Church of the
Holy Bed Posts. I can see my mom and dad now, shaking their heads, and
wondering, "Where did we go wrong?" (I will be expecting a phone call
after this post). "What will you teach Dylan to believe?", my dad asked
me once. So, I thought that I would write down some of my beliefs for

-I believe in treating others as you would want to be treated.
-I believe that the good that you put out into the world, will come
back to you in some way.
-I believe it is better to surround yourself with positive people, than
with negative ones.
-I believe in giving to others in whatever way you can.
-I believe that one person can make a difference.
-I believe that all children deserve to feel safe, respected,
important, and loved.
-I believe in the strength of the human spirit.
-I believe that people don't usually change, unless they want to, so
you must accept them as they are, if you can.
-I believe in doing everything you can to solve conflicts with words
first, but if that doesn't work, that you shouldn't back away from a
-I believe it is important to keep an open mind, and to realize that
you don't always have to be right.
-I believe the Earth is beautiful, and that it should be taken care of,
and treated with respect.
-I believe you should tell the people that you care about, "I love you,
and I appreciate you", often, and not just with words, but with
-I believe that more than what you say, children learn by watching what
you do.
-I believe that life is a gift, and that each day should be

These are just some of the basics, but if I am able to teach Dylan
these, I think he will be okay. More than okay - I think he will
be...heavenly. Gotta go. I think I hear my phone ringing.


MilitaryMom said...

Well Said! I am Christian, but I do not believe you must go to church to be saved. I have never really had good experiences at the churches I have attended. I have sampled a few religions, and they all left a bad taste in my mouth. I know what I was taught from my mother, and I will teach my children the same. I think God just wants us to love him and follow him, no matter what we call it.

Pam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam said...

First-You have been through a lot! It is amazing you even have good thoughts.

I am a Christian...but I have not had great experiences with Christians. I am the second wife for my husband...his very religious family did not show me very much Christian love. They are judgmental, shunning, and unforgiving. Fortunately for them....the heathen that I am (because I often worship at the Church of the Holy Comforter as well) showed them more forgiveness then they have shown my husband or more acceptance than they have shown me. I do not believe you have to go to church to be saved and believe. Many people who go to church are just going through the motions. Isn't it better that I live a loving, caring, forgiving life that glorifies God then just go to church?

I have always believed in God and my parents took me to church, but I don't feel like I learned much. Then God and I had a bit of a falling out because I was fairly angry with him for allowing certain things to happen. (yeah, I know it isn't really his fault, but hey, it is easy to place blame, right) And now I feel all jumbled and fuzzy myself with the whole thing.

I love the things you want to teach Dylan. I think those are all God loving and Christian things to do...just because it didn't come from a man in a pulpit, doesn't mean it isn't a valid life lesson.

You keep up the good work with your son and keep on the path you are on. You are a loving, caring, kind person who is raising a wonderful son who will be a great man one day.

(Sorry for the long comment...I tend to have a lot to say..ha ha)

Oh, yeah, I deleted the last comment...I found mistakes..sorry!)

Kellan said...

Alexis wakes me every single Sunday morning, "Mama - take me to church." I swear! She is our moral compass right now and so ... we get up and we go to church. I was brought up Baptist and was in the church every time the door was open - it has taken me many years to get back to where I have wanted to be in church. The one thing I regret - truly - is not having been consistent with taking my children to church. I have done it a lot over the years - but not constant - I am now trying to change that. Alexis was sent to me for many reasons - one of them was to take my hand on Sunday mornings and walk me into that church. Have a good Sunday - I loved your list - you are a great mom! Kellan

JCK said...

Jen, this is a great post! You've been through a lot and your spiritual journey is obviously powerful and meaningful. I never thought I would find a church that I could relate to, and then I did - much to my own surprise. It is all about inclusiveness and love. This is what you are teaching your Dylan. We all have to find our paths. Your list was exquisite. Keep the great posts coming, girl!

I posted the award you gave me today. Thank you for your generosity.

Cecily R said...

I was brought up in and am bringing my children up in a religion that really stresses a lot of church activity. We go to church every week and follow (according to the rest of the world) a pretty rigid set of what we'll call religious guidelines. I believe in my religion completely and can honestly say that I love it.

That said, I think what you are teaching your son is what you should be teaching your son. He'll grow up to know what kind of man he should be from your teachings and when and if he decides to be religious he will have a great foundation to work from.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I guess the third time really is the charm!

I think your list of things to teach Dylan is far more important than some of the lessons organized religion sometimes teaches. I have some born-again relatives that make it immediately evident that going to church twice a week in no way makes you a good person. The stories I could tell you . . .

A Mom Two Boys said...

Oh, all I have to say is AMEN, and I'm not religious in any sense of the word. I'm not opposed to religion, but I've always felt that we'd be better served teaching people EXACTLY what you just wrote instead of trying to force/scare them into "being good people" by following some set of written rules.
Came here by way of JCK and I'll definitely be back! Thanks for putting my thoughts into words that make sense!

Joanna said...

I was in church my whole life, went to a Christian college - I did everything 'right' and yet life still drop kicked me through the goal posts.

I've spent time with pastor pillow. Life is a series of seasons and sometimes you're in church and sometimes you're not. There are pluses and minuses to each side. It's wonderful to find a church family - but like every family there are some messed up nuts in the bunch.

I think Jesus came to give us relationships not a religion. If our religion doesn't make us a nice person to be around then we do it in vain. Love your list and keep at it.

Having been in church my whole life I saw church as an extra for my kids rather than go to church to learn about God. We've taught them about God as best we can and tell them this is our experience as well as our experiences in church and with others. Christians can be the nicest sharks you'll ever meet - God help you if there is blood in the water. So far they have a better grip on things than I do!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! You have obviously given great thought to what you want for Dylan. I too stuggle with the issue of religion and my children - I grew-up in the Methodist church, and went back to it when we moved back to Denver. Somewhere along the line it turned into a "give us your money and you will get into heaven" church, so I stopped going. I would love to find another church because it is something I want for my kids - the structure, the family time, etc., and if they choose to embody the religious aspect of it, wonderful. This is one of those hard things about parenting that none of the books mentioned!

Shellie said...

As for beliefs, I believe all that stuff too. It's the good stuff. It's all about Love. God gets less fuzzy with time if you just focus on that. As for parenting, Dylan will be just fine with what you are teaching him. (And that video was too cute!) As for life experiences and religion,I'd add don't let your faith rest on other people, too many people miss out on a relationship with God by blaming Him for stuff his kids did :)
There are a lot of messed up people in churches, but that's just because God doesn't expect you to be perfect to get in, quite the contrary. I wonder if more people with common sense showed up how much more we could do to help the self righteous and confused by out there stuff see the light. I go to my church because the underlying doctrine has helped me develop a better relationship with God, a better understanding of truth, and helps me to be more tolerant of his children; not because of what someone does or doesn't say or do there. It's something very personal between me and Him. I loved the church of the comforter, too!

Jen said...

I have to say to all of you, I was rather impressed with your comments. I'm not one to mind a little controversy, and I half expected chants of "You heathen! Geteth your butteth to a church, or you will rotteth in hell!" I wasn't preached to, and the phrase "I'll pray for you" didn't come, either. So, aside from a little lecturing from my parents, and mother in law, (which I completely expected, and honestly didn't mind, by the way guys), I would say all went very well. You all made some good points. Thanks again for being so supportive.

Irene said...

Hi! I just found your blog!

I definitely consider myself a Christian, I completely 100% believe in its teachings, but am not very good, in any shape or form, in following them. I try, but I fail all the time.

Anyway, what makes me so sad is when people are pushed away from Christianity because of people who claim to be "Good Christians" but do not act like one.

Your boyfriend, who was supposedly a good Christian boy, seems to be anything but. So sorry for your experience. There are many people who claim to be Christians, but so few who really are living a Christian life.

Take care! You seem to be doing a great job in raising your little one!!