Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Considering...

Having been in two separate churches in two separate states in the last four days has left me feeling a bit... Well, I would say jaded, but I'm always a bit jaded in religious arenas of discussion, so we'll just say worried...
The first was for my beloved nephews "christening." Having grown up in protestant and independent churches, this "christening" thing has always been a bit vague in my own personal experience, but for those who have no idea whatsoever what this "ceremony" entails, it's basically taking your clueless child and baptizing him with three drops of water (for the father, son, and Holy Casper respectively) and making him promise (well, making his parents promise...), among other things, to believe in Jesus as god, to gain an understanding of both OT and NT law, and other such religious doctrines and by-laws... Poor dude's still an atheist, but his parent's have already promised to indoctrinate him...

Actually, all my nieces and neph's are receiving some form of religious training in one form or another (but all basically of the Christian variety), and I can't help but wonder what the future holds for them all... Will the most religious of the siblings' progeny "rebel" much as I am viewed as having done? Will they all embrace their parents theology? Will some transition from one form of Christianity to another without much thought into the big picture, instead focusing on "doctrinal" differences with which to continue living their only begotten life?
My second church-attending was for a much less religious reason: I went to vote. I'm not quite sure what the protocol is for voting in rural areas in which the secular township building which has much more space is less than a mile away, but apparently that separation of church and state need not apply when one is actually casting a vote. As I stood in line for an hour and fifteen minutes waiting for my "key card" so that I could cast an electronic vote, I am assaulted by murals of Noah's ark, the cross (both occupied and vacant varieties), verses, books, pamphlets, and bulletin boards all proclaiming the love of Jesus, his all-encompassing power, and the cute little signs proclaiming "Eve's Room" and "Adam's Room" (the restrooms...) Is this legal? I wonder as I shuffle a step and a half closer to the room in which three machines which will ensure that my voice (albeit digitally) is heard. I hear a voice about ten persons in front of me shout "Well, praise Jesus, brother!"

Okay, I know that's probably not legal, but I keep avoiding eye contact with people to avoid pointless conversation and continue to shuffle a foot and a half every five minutes or so.

Then the voice booms again: "Well, that's just beautiful, brother, praise God!"

I consider leaving. After all, it's not a presidential election, but I feel pretty strongly about who I want on the township supervisory board, and decide to grin and bear it. After all, the dude's probably just in line to vote as well, which means we'll never actually meet, right? As I shuffle, so he shuffles, and the Dance of the Rural Voters continues in harmony...
I realize that even though we are supposedly a secular nation, and even though the next generation of my family is following in the footsteps of our ancestors (although not yet by their own choice), there isn't any way yet to avoid religion in this society, let alone ignore it's stranglehold on the country's politics.

As I continue to watch how my sibling's raise their children, I can only hope they allow them the leeway to question, to explore, to ask why and how... I hope they afford them the tools and resources necessary to gain in knowledge, to learn the facts, to uncover the truth...

I just hope they learn to ask why, and then never stop doing so...

10 comments:

Bob said...

I agree I believe children should question things! You are right! I went to a school where we did Bible drills where you repeat Bible Facts over and over. I went to a church where when we went to Youth Group events the Pastor would Pressure us into " Making a Commitment to God" in front of everyone . And if you did not stand up then you looked like the idiot sitting there by yourself. I could go on and on. Instead of Being drilled children need to question their belief so they can understand it for themselves.

mom said...

hello jason! you know i really don't have time to do this since i have some baking to do but i will forget the baking to tell you that you are not being held with a gun to your head to give your life over to God. if i am reading my Bible right i don't think God told anyone to do that. jason you are not the first person that grew up in the church to rebel and you won't be the last and it all comes down that you had a choice and so does everyone else that hears the way to Christ. you and bob seem to be doing it your way so what is the problem? some young people do and did have some great times at church and i never felt that i didn't have a choice. i believe we are in this part of the world to have choices. did it hurt you that much to vote inside a church? i am sure there was reasons why you voted in a church and maybe you should find out the reason. i don't know you bob but if you grew up in a church the way jason grew up i really don't think it was that bad. i can think of worse things for you kids to grow up in. i would agree our churches have problems and alot of people that are in our churches forget they are sinners saved by grace and we our really no different than anyone else. i will continue to pray for you all. love and prayers from mind controlling mom

Bob said...

I grew up in church . I am not saying it was a bad experience but I learned more on my own than I did in church. I go to church now and Fully enjoy the messages ect... When I was a teenager however I did not . I grew up where it was drilled . I went to school where I heard it every day. Almost numb to it. It was not until I went through very bad times That I realized how REAL God was to me. I am not in any way saying it was a bad way to grow up at all. But the way I learned about God was almost because I said so kind of way. I merely think kids need to question things in order to be sure of God for themsleves . That is all.

Kel said...

"Holy Casper": that's the kind of quality writing I have come to enjoy on your blog, Ja.

Take it from me that NOT Christianing your kid is not well received from the hell-fearing. I think a lot of people take the Descartes line of thought and think that it's better to believe in God than not to believe, just in case. It's the ol' covering your bases, you know?

I personally can't believe anyone could agree to original sin when you look at a precious baby. I would not subscribe to that.

JP said...

oh, I love those christenings. Its usually a bunch of cultural catholics baptizing their childen because.....well...just because.

As for this statement " I can only hope they allow them the leeway to question, to explore, to ask why and how"

So important. When I was a born again, I promised to raise my kids christian, instill in them christian beliefs and virtue. Silly me. Thankfully my children are below the age of 5 and I vow to myself to give them all the tools necessary to think on their own, search, reason, and explore. I will support them no matter where they may go but I want that to be their choice....not mine.

mom said...

hello jason, i know after we talked last night about my no smile faces was maybe the first is that maybe i am tired of reading the same thing about church is so evil and everyone that goes to church doesn't ever ask any questions. i will admit i was not as happy as i should of been when commenting but i am tired of hearing how everything i feel is good about God is getting trashed. sometimes my heart hurts. i don't think anyone has to worry about kids not asking the questions since we have enough of people out there telling them to do so. i know you have every right to blog but i can only take so much before i cry inside. i had some great times in church even with all the problems. i never heard only hell fire sermons and now with the pastor i listen to now is helping me grow even more and its only helps me be a better person to be able to serve God. so much of God is about how much He loves us and is always ready to meet us where we are at. even if all this is not real i can't think what i would gain to think any thing different. i don't agree with the whole christening thing but at least they are trying to do a nice thing with the baby and taking the parent thing serious. i see to maybe parents that think making money is more important than what the kids are doing. nothing is wrong in making a promise to God that with His help you will do what you can to raise them in love. i feel we ask enough questions the problem is we are not listening to anything and we are following way to much the wrong people. i still don't have any smiles in this one. i might be a bit depressed. i know what it is. its that so called country music awards show. not to much country in country music these days. thats why no smiles. i listened to a little bit of it and i got heart sick. it should be called pop music award show. i have to grieve before my smiles come back. love and prayers

JP said...

"Mom",

Hope it' all right I call you that. I just wanted to say how great it is that you particpate in your sons blog and take an interest in what he has to say. Wish my folks showed the same compassion and interest.

mom said...

hello jason! saw i had a comment given to me so jason i will comment to one of my other kids! :) see i am feeling better. a good talk with God and some good country music screaming out of my OLD speakers and a 2 step with your OLD dad makes one OLD lady feel better. :) i am also doing some serious cooking for your brother who is coming up with his new love for supper. i am excited. well, back to my fan, jp, yes, you can call me mom. thats what i feel God called me to be and it never ends once your a mom. sometimes i look back and think and even wish i could of been something different but than the Holy Spirit reminds me all the things i have learned by having these wonderful rugrats and running a home. i would not have changed it since i did learn from the kids even yet. they did learn a few things from me and still can. :) they won't admit to it if you ask them but thats ok. every now and again i hear something that makes me smile and say yeah! :) count them, a lot of smiles now and even some capital letters and a comma or 2. i am branching out. :) love and prayers ps don't let me know how bad i placed my commas. now i have to go for sure since the steel guitar is calling. :)

Jason Hughes said...

Holy conversation!!

Reading through, there's not really much I can add except thanks for all your thoughts and comments...

If you call that an "add" to the conversation... :D

mom said...

hello jason, i know after we talked last night about my no smile faces was maybe the first is that maybe i am tired of reading the same thing about church is so evil and everyone that goes to church doesn't ever ask any questions. i will admit i was not as happy as i should of been when commenting but i am tired of hearing how everything i feel is good about God is getting trashed. sometimes my heart hurts. i don't think anyone has to worry about kids not asking the questions since we have enough of people out there telling them to do so. i know you have every right to blog but i can only take so much before i cry inside. i had some great times in church even with all the problems. i never heard only hell fire sermons and now with the pastor i listen to now is helping me grow even more and its only helps me be a better person to be able to serve God. so much of God is about how much He loves us and is always ready to meet us where we are at. even if all this is not real i can't think what i would gain to think any thing different. i don't agree with the whole christening thing but at least they are trying to do a nice thing with the baby and taking the parent thing serious. i see to maybe parents that think making money is more important than what the kids are doing. nothing is wrong in making a promise to God that with His help you will do what you can to raise them in love. i feel we ask enough questions the problem is we are not listening to anything and we are following way to much the wrong people. i still don't have any smiles in this one. i might be a bit depressed. i know what it is. its that so called country music awards show. not to much country in country music these days. thats why no smiles. i listened to a little bit of it and i got heart sick. it should be called pop music award show. i have to grieve before my smiles come back. love and prayers