Christian Church / Christianity / Faith / Hypocrisy / Parenting / Religion

Saving My Son from Church

“All I see are stepford-like lives
Needles and knives, beautiful lies
Bringing out the green in your eyes
Perfect disguise for envy and pride

Face me
Make me listen to the truth even if it breaks me
You can judge me, love me
If you’re hating me, do it honestly”
~Kelly Clarkson

One way or another honesty is on hold at churches. Whether it’s because it can be ugly, or because people want to hide it for shame or fear; it’s quite absent. On any given Sunday, God is on my mind and I am at home. The church has ceased to be a part of my relationship with God. I don’t feel I need it. I surround myself with people who are messy, and loud, and active for what they believe. In a lot of ways, my job was my church. That company was so full of people who want to serve by helping those kiddos. They dealt with kids who can only be honest. I spent every day with kids who don’t know how to lie to themselves. They were messy and loud and always moving. And around them, I get closer to God. The thirteen year old I worked with pushed me so much closer. I never lied to her and she was sometimes so brutally honest and sometimes so openly curious. She was a window into the divine for me. As she asked about my faith, I hope that I gave her a good picture of the divine for her. Honesty is at the center of it for me. That’s probably why I feel so off balance in church. Uh, I dread going back. But church is great way for kids to grow up. I loved every second of the time I spent there while I was young. The time when everything was simple, like the truth should be. It’s messy and it’s loud, but it’s also quite simple.

Suddenly I realize why theology is so intriguing to me. It’s honesty, and curiosity. There are many right answers making it messy. That’s the church I want to attend. but how do I meld the two for my son? How can I allow him to enjoy all the simple pleasures of church, Sunday school, and VBS and still prepare him for that time when things grow complex, hypocritical, and vague? How do I get him ready for the times that everything he’s learned and loved will over turn? And how I prepare him to hold on to the truth of what he’d found and let go of the things that will try to tear it down?

Isn’t it sad that I need to worry about all these things before I step my butt back into church? Shouldn’t the church be a place of safety and challenge for our spirits? A place that uplifts and refines us? Not a place that we need to guard our hearts against? Isn’t that sad? That I need to ask myself how to protect my child from church, so he can have a relationship with God.

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11 thoughts on “Saving My Son from Church

  1. It’s a serious and important question SS, and as you say, it shouldn’t be this way. There are some churches that aren’t so hurtful, but it is hard to find them.

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    • Yes. I’ve actually considered the idea of attending a universalist church half the time simply because the people there are so much more Christian than Christians, lol. I do want him to be able to hear about Christ though, so for me it’s very important that he also grow up in a church that tells about God. I feel like if we split time I could say: this is who Christ is (at say a Baptist church) and this is how He acts (at the universalist). For me it’s so much more important that he see and experience that Love that is sorely lacking. I want to raise him in the church of service I suppose. That’s how I was raised. My Mom served in every capacity possible. My grandfather as well. I still think I could teach him so much better at home, but I wouldn’t have changed my childhood in the church for anything. It was the teen years and on that were detrimental. We shall see.

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  2. It is always a struggle but your child would appreciate it if you let him/her use his/her brain and decide what is right for them as they get older. If it is to be religious, let it be on his/her terms.

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    • Absolutely. That’s my biggest fear, that he’ll not be able to think for himself or let the church decide for him. It’s a great way to grow up, truly. But I don’t want him to grow into the type who blindly accepts things or the type who is bitter because of All the flaws of churches today. I hope he develops a relationship with Christianity/religion/God from his own mind, and not let anything change it.

      Be careful of phrasing. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but your comment is phrased in such a way that one could assume you think you know better what my child would want/appreciate simply because I am religious/ choosing to raise him in church. Others may not take kindly to that kind of thing. On behalf of those people I say, each of us has a right to raise our children as we see fit and each of us imprints upon them our own values. None of that is child abuse. It is simply the passing along of the values we believe will help them be the best they can be.

      Thanks for your comment. May you find blessings on your journey.

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      • It can be difficult to hear the tone of what a commenter is trying to say via typed words. It is your child and you can raise him/her how you see fit. However, I was speaking from the experience of being raised religious and finding the environment stifling of any kind of freethought.

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        • Definitely! As I was grew up in both Christian school and church, I completely understand the stifling affects of bad religion. It is definitely a concern for me. Hopefully by my being open-minded he will ask them all the hard questions. 🙂

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  3. I don’t think Universalist churches are the only loving ones. I’m sure individual congregations of all sorts of denominations can be loving, even if others of those denominations are not.

    Obviously America is different to Australia, so I can’t say too much about your situation, but I think you may find that (1) Mennonite churches may be generally quite loving, though some may be old fashioned, (2) most “emergent” churches would be loving and accepting, though they may be hard to identify and find, and (3) many house churches or simple churches would be loving because they are much more personal, but may not suit you in other ways.

    I sure hope you find the solution that is right in your situation.

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    • As far as mennonite and house churches are concerned, they tend to be loving in congregation, but quite judgmental in practice. The people in those churches are often so loving simply because they are isolated and only come in contact with people who believe likewise. The true love shown would be to those who are unlike yourself. That’s why I focused on a universalist church. Everyone there has vastly different beliefs and somehow find a way to some together and lovingly accept one another and uplift. Also, I adore the emphasis on meditation which I find to be extremely beneficial to life, spiritual and otherwise.
      As far as emergent goes, I’d have to look into it. I don’t know if I could think of an emergent church… Though it’s nearly moot. My husband wouldn’t like either the universalist church or emergent churches. He likes tradition. But I could maybe talk him into part time. 🙂

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  4. I can only speak with knowledge about one Mennonite church, but it, especially its pastor, has a very outward looking and affirming approach. It wouldn’t be near you (it’s in Houston) but there may be others like it.

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  5. I have been there and done that, a long time ago now, though probably not with as much as sense of necessity as you are feeling. I really hope the search goes well and you find something really good.

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