The Good Book

I have little to no feeling about religion. I’m aware it exists, there are several of them, and while I’m not familiar with the intracacies of each I understand the underlying theme of believing in a power greater than thyself. I’m no stranger to religion however. I grew up with an uber-religious father, who for a time had close ties via his employment to a Catholic church. There are pictures of me at the Confirmation ceremony when I was about 9 years old. I wore a white dress, had oddly frizzy/curly blonde hair and large pink glasses. I remember afterwards the entire family went out to brunch at a local family restaurant. I remember getting presents and cards filled with money. This was awesome, but even then, I remember feeling awkward.

My brother and I attended Sunday school and even attended various church summer day camps in our younger years. Oddly, I don’t recall learning a ton about God and Jesus and their discipiles and shit, I remember more about eating food and playing games. Maybe we hold onto what we¬†choose¬† to remember. As I got a bit older, into the early teenage years, my dad would harp on me about going to church every Sunday. I’ve been to Sunday mass a few times in my life, but likely less than I can count on my fingers and toes. Hell, I’ve even been to midnight mass! But to me, it wasn’t something I could hang onto.

It seemed like a bunch of bullshit to me then, and now, I just really don’t care. In a way, as a teenager, I was probably rebelling a bit. This was a point in my life where my dad was going to church EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Sometimes, multiple times per day. And every time I talked to him, it was more of the same, “When are you going to come to church with me?” My response was always an emphatic NEVER, which my dad took as a joking matter assuming he’d get through to me one day.

In the last 10 years of my adult life, rarely does the thought of religion ever come up. If it does, it’s because someone is talking about it on the news, or someone in my family died and their funeral is…at a church. Of course I go, I’m not a monster. Now, though, people seem to be hanging onto life so my exposure to the inside of the sanctuary has been non-existent and ever moreso my thoughts about religion.

My oldest Sdaughter* is 5 years old (almost 6). She’s a very smart and curious little girl and she is always asking lots of questions about everything and anything. For Christmas, she was gifted a children’s bible while on vacation. When she returned to our stead after New Year’s she told us all about her children’s bible and how excited she was to have her very own. Prior to this, she had been hearing about God and Jesus through the grapevine, from a little girl at school and an adult in her circle. She had asked US questions on the subject and we stood behind a scientific approach to life rather than a creationism stance. I had never really considered this topic as something that would come to the forefront so soon as neither her father or mother are religious. But I suppose similar to Santa Claus, children hear stories and get curious.

Religion is such a touchy subject in this country, one that should be approached carefully. Many people are turned off by the mere mention of it (like me) and some go on a rant about how one perceive’s a certain religion (like me). I’m not opposed to allowing her (or other kids) to learn about religion, but I think it’s a conversation that parents need to have with one another and come to a mutual understanding before allowing religious materials in an otherwise non-religious set of homes. Children are naturally curious and need to fulfill their curiosities through questions, answers, and sometimes application to real life. I think it’s important to understand and be exposed to variety in life and learn about other cultures and religions in order to gain respect to all, even if you inevitably do not agree.

(*Stepdaughter)

Advertisements

Life As We Know It

A dear friend of mine just had a baby last week and I caught myself thinking, “Who will be Alexandra’s godparents?” Wait. Do babies born these days still have godparents? I have a set of them, but I was wondering if that tradition (like so many) died out over the years. Umm. Is establishing godparents only something religious people do? Shit. I forgot my family was Catholic at one time. Just because I’m not practicing, I tend to forget the minute details. I suppose some of them still are, in one way or another.

As traditions normally go, maybe it’s just an automatic thing that people of faith do to pass the time while waiting for their new bundle of joy. I thought about what my recollection of what a godparent’s role is in a child’s life. To take care of them if something ever should happen to both of the parents. I found my trusty friend Google and let my fingers do the walking over to Wikipedia.

A godparent is someone who sponsors a child’s baptism. Traditionally, godparents were informally responsible for ensuring the child’s religious education was carried out, and for caring for the child should it be orphaned.

In the true spirit of ‘these times, they are a changin”, this was also added:

Today, the word godparent might not have explicitly religious overtones. The modern view of a godparent tends to be an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child’s upbringing and personal development.

Okay, I suspect that is largely true. Even though this is a Christian nation, the Internet tends to keep everyone’s best interests in mind. But this begs the question, who are parents choosing to be godparents? I have a set of GP’s and 32 years ago had I been, at some point, orphaned, my dad chose his brother and my mom chose her sister to take care of me. What, together? How were they suppose to do that? They were both married at the time to other people (and still are). Were they going to fight over me? Did people generally choose their relatives? How are these modern parents doing it today?

I thought about my niece and nephews. I was pretty sure that I’d know if they had godparents, wouldn’t I? I asked my sister, “Hey, does Keilee have godparents?” The resulting look was one of a perplexing nature. “Um, no.” I believe was her response. Then again, my sister is not a practicing Catholic or Christian or any other denomination. But I don’t suppose you have to be toting a bible under your arm in these modern times to select GP’s for your kiddos.

I’d really like to see the modern definition of GP’s be put to practice. I need to meet some of these parents who have gone through this selection process and find out what having godparents means to them and what they think a set would be responsible. Do they really have any legal entitlement to your children upon you and your spouse’s untimely demise? Food for thought.

I read this novel, A Soft Place to Land, last month about two sisters with the same mother and different fathers, experience the untimely passing of their mother and the youngest girl’s father. The couple had in their Will that the older sister would go to live with her father (whom she wasn’t terribly close to) and the younger sister would go to live with her Aunt and Uncle across the country (whom she didn’t know all that well). The result would be that the sisters, 12 and 16, would indefinitely be separated. The story never indicated if they had godparents, but their parents did take the time to decide who their children would go to live with after such a tragic event.

To all my new parents and parents who have been around the block a few times… Who will take care of your children, if you can’t? Are your wishes documented and current?

Inspirational

Where do you find inspiration?

Recently, I was driving through the old neighborhood I grew up in and drove past a church whose reader board had one of those interesting messages.

‘Christians are windows through which Jesus can shine.’

Interesting I thought. What does that make me? Who really can know the answer, but it’s clear I’m no window. This made me ponder all of the other reader boards that adorn the lawns of local churches. I assume that the church is reaching out to its parisheners, spreading the good message. And then perhaps I guess the church could be reaching out to those who need to be saved.

‘Perhaps,’ they think, ‘we can touch another soul.’

I find all religion highly interesting. I don’t partake in any of it, for reasons that cannot be discussed here. I was raised Catholic and shook that loose as soon as I was smart enough to know it wasn’t for me. It’s incredibly, well I don’t know, amusing to hear what people believe in. Frankly, I don’t have any of the answers of the world, but who is to say that this country, based on Christianity, is, dare I say, the gospel?

I heard something interesting on TV last night. Someone said, ‘just because it’s the mainstream belief, does it make it true?’ Very great point. Does it make it true? No. Christianity is a widely adopted spiritual path, but then again, so is being a Muslim. As a country we tend to project our ways onto the ways of the world, and look down upon those that are not like us. Pure judgement at its finest.

God Bless the USA.