Axis Mundi X discussion

Goin' to church. Or not goin' to church. Or sometimes goin' to church.

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (last edited Sep 14, 2008 08:47AM) (new)

RandomAnthony Ok, as I think I've said before, my family and I have been part of a Unitarian Universalist church for the last five years. I believe in a lot of the UU philsosophy, etc. and I like the fact my kids are learning all about different faiths and learning that different populations (e.g. gays and lesbians) can be part of faith communities as well. Some of the services can be interesting as well, although there are way too many acoustic guitars and too much liberal preaching to the choir for my tastes. I was raised Catholic, however, and at least the UU church is different and more open that my background.

For the first three years I was active in the church but I became disillusioned over time. For a while I was on the church leadership board but I quit because the meetings and efforts were so mindnumbingly stupid and petty (e.g. a twenty minute argument about whether or not someone should lock the door after services at 1 or 130) and because, despite our church's liberal leanings, we weren't very good at looking at changing our own actions. Today was the first day of fall services. I walked out early because 1) they started with 20 minutes of bullshit announcements that people could have read in the order of service, while all the parents tried to keep their kids from spazzing out because the kids were starting out in the regular service instead of going directly to their classrooms, and 2) once the kids did go to their classrooms the religious education for the kids was totally fucked up...nobody knew who was supposed to go where. Way to start the year, Unitarian Church North! Way to respect the kids in the congregation!

I DO want my bring my kids up in a faith community and I'm thinking it's time for me to revise my ideas about what a faith community can be. Frankly, I think I need to lower my expectations.

So...general you go to religious services? What do you get out of it? If you don't go, why not? What are reasonable expectations for a faith community? What should you put into it rather than expect to take from it? Comments? We may have talked about bits of religious issues before I wanted to broaden the conversation some. Happy Sunday morning!:)

message 2: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
I'm a Presbyterian willing to attend any mainstream Protestant church, but I don't go to church anymore, for two reasons.

1) I actually enjoy attending church, but not by myself. My husband is NOT a churchgoer, so when we lived in Texas, I went to the Methodist services with a friend.

Here in Olympia, I haven't found anyone who goes to church! The west coast population just aren't churchgoers! Well, okay, except my old boss, who goes to the "Unity" church, which is even less organized than the Unitarian church. And, I don't want to go to church with my old boss, in any case.

2) I hate services that have "modernized" music. The Methodist church is just a block away, and I went, by myself, when we first moved here. But the music is dumbed down to Sunday School level, and I just can't stand it!

I tried to attend a service at the Episcopalian church, only I went on the Spring Forward Sunday, and instead of their normal two service schedule, they had decided to just have one service that was just finishing when I arrived. I took it as a sign...

message 3: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I have no use for religion. And the rise of fundamentalism scares the hell out of me.

message 4: by Misty (new)

Misty Last year at this time, my siblings and I decided to take our families and attend homecoming services at the church where we grew up. I told my husband that I really missed being in church, so the next Sunday, we tried out the local community church near our home. Loved it and have been going ever since.

Again today, I forced him to go back with me to the church where I grew up for homecoming services. It's nice to see all the old people who were such an influential part of my life, but I really like the more "updated" version of church that we have been experiencing at our local community church. Relevant message, come as you are, come one/come all...that seems like what church is supposed to be.

message 5: by Cyril (new)

Cyril I am a "fallen" Catholic, now an agnostic, actually probably an atheist but too scared to call myself that. I'll go to church every once in a while to keep in touch with the culture, but otherwise I find church-going a waste of a valuable hour (I work 60+ hours per week). I agree with the basic morality of the Catholic Church and so will probably start going regularly once the kids are older.

Tim (Mole) The Gunslinger (Mole) | 62 comments Im a fallen catholic myself, while i defenitley believe in God I think the church has strayed to far from its original purpose while there not as insane with there views as they once were they still have far to many secrets and shady dealing to be legitametely true to there faith or in touch with divine! my opinion dont kill me Im not putting down God just saying the church isnt leading the way they should!

message 7: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments RA..thanks for sharing. I was left with no other option but to leave my church due to their overt political stances. This was tough - I was baptized there, as was my daughter, my father's memorial service held mom still active in the church.

As this was the church I grew up with, literally around the corner, I still hold deep misgivings. My church opted to pursue their own politics at the expense of my spiritual potential. I left and did not look back. It's hard. i think you need to hold fast to what you have defined as your spiritual needs and do not compromise. In the end,you define your own spiritual identity. I'm comfortable with should be so with yours. If you find opportunity to share that with others in a mutually beneficial environment, all the better.

message 8: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony NB, how did they pursue politics? Our church is always right on the edge, but the "tax exempt status" issue raises enough fear to keep the church from making an endorsement.

message 9: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments They took an active role in the drive for divestment from Israel. That blew me away. New leadership at the local level, and some crazy thinking at the national organization level.

message 10: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
well, it's all those Joos fault, don't you know. Sheesh, get with the program NB.

message 11: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments is it true they kilt jeezus?

message 12: by Allen (last edited Sep 15, 2008 04:10PM) (new)

Allen Allen (audiovore) | 13 comments I've been an atheist since before I hit double digits. My mother was raised Catholic in Maryland, and my father was supposedly a Methodist, but never went to church. When I was a kid we started going to a non-denominational church, and also went to Awana regularly.

Eventually we just lapsed about going, I think the primary cause was that the church moved and was harder for us to get to. I was pretty much disillusioned by that point and just saw it as a waste of time. Only in hindsight did I come to realize how horrifying Awana is.

And to Jackie, Washington is supposedly the 'least religious' state with 25% claiming no religion. An outlier in second is Vermont with 22%, followed by Oregon, Nevada, California & Idaho. This Article, albeit a bit old, I believe describes the Cascadian mentality towards church and religion well enough at a glance.

In the end I find no need for a 'faith based' community, and am pleased at the rise of secularism(atheism/agnosticism).

message 13: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
Kilt Jesus:


message 14: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
Jesus is hawt.

message 15: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
Utilikilt!!! W00t!!!!

Kilt Jesus is definitely hawt. I wonder if he can play that... uhm... bass.

message 16: by Cyril (new)

Cyril That qualifies as "hawt"? He looks like a dork.

message 17: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (last edited Sep 15, 2008 08:28PM) (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
"Hawt" is not "hot", Cyril. It is sarcasm, so, no, Kilt Jesus is not "all that". But he thinks he is, and I'm playing along.

message 18: by Cyril (new)

Cyril Oh crap, someone called me "hawt"

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I love going to church. I just get out of the habit, sometimes. Like the last three years since I broke up with the boyfriend I went to church with. I guess I'm waiting for a new church to land in my lap on Sunday mornings. I like Lutheran or Catholic services. It must be a little melancholy or it doesn't feel like church. No dancing or stadium crowds, please. No offers to get baptized at a church picnic, please.

message 20: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I was raised by atheists but they sent me to a private Catholic high school to get a good education (it was the only one they could afford I guess) and I had to go to mass every Friday. It was interesting at first (I even took communion once, even though I guess I was supposed to, not being baptized in the church,) but after four years it got to be torture. I hated having to wear a tie, having to stand, and having to listen to same liturgy every single Friday.

message 21: by Seizure Romero (new)

Seizure Romero | 116 comments At a street fair, once upon a time, a portly and hirsute kilt-wearing fellow galoomphed out of the Utilikilt® booth, stopped directly in front of me and challenged, "Are you man enough to wear a kilt?" Being slightly startled at this confrontation on such a fine spring morning, all I could think to say in response was, "Are you man enough to admit you're wearing a skirt?" Luck was with me that day, and though he looked pretty pissed-off, this stumped him long enough for me to escape and continue my quest for funnel cakes. I really like funnel cakes. Festivals and funnel cakes pretty much go hand in hand in my world.

I really don't care what you wear, just don't be a confrontational prick about it. I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't.

I wonder if I can get funnel cakes for lunch anywhere around here.

message 22: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
Jesus wore a dress and sandals, so I'm sure he's fine with guys wearing utilikilts, or, worse, sandals with socks.

message 23: by Kristjan (last edited Sep 16, 2008 01:39PM) (new)

Kristjan (booktroll) Do you go to religious services? Yes, weekly if possible.

What do you get out of it? It is difficult to discribe actually. I don't really get that much from the community, holding hands, singing experience. I am more geared toward an individual encounter that includes self examination/reflection, contemplation, etc. To be honest, the only reasons I see to 'go' to church are 1) it is one way to guarantee that I take the time to actually do this and 2) and it is the price of belonging to that particular church community (and I do learn from other view points ... But I can certainly do that in smaller groups). IF you can really do this on your own (and I have seen few people who can keep this up for long), you are well ahead of me on the path ... I'll catch-up later (I hope).

What are reasonable expectations for a faith community? They are still only human; you will never avoid politics. The only thing I really expect from the community is to do the best that they can. Mostly they can provide some support and guidance in what I consider a personal relationship with my creator (no voices yet ... But I haven't stopped listening :). HOWEVER ... Sometimes it just doesn't work out; I have left congregations because they (or more specifically the powers that run them) were not compatible to my beliefs and proved to be more of a hinderance then helpful. I did a lot of moving around the country and it was always difficult to find the right fit (sometimes the church was nearly an hour away). I have never found a home where I agreed with everything that they taught.

What should you put into it rather than expect to take from it? Well ... I am a believer in the old saw that you only get out of it what you put into it. So I volunteer for the parts that I really care about, such as religious education (I teach my daughter's grade 7 class). The earlier grades were always in the early afternoon when I couldn't teach, so I 'home schooled' my kids instead (because CCD was rarely more then day care). I study independently as well so that I can intelligently talk about other beliefs WITH respect and provide enough information so that when my children are grown they will be able to make an educated choice about their own faith and how to raise their family.

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