Friday, January 13, 2006

Religion....or lack thereof.

So there I was, sitting with my 18 month old, Dylan, wondering when would the “right time” be to introduce him to “religion”. I’m sure that many of you who are faithful attendees are saying “the right time?” Well, my story is this: I did not grow up attending church per se (to be exlplained later) though I do want him to be exposed to Christianity. I ‘ve struggled and said “Well, he’s too young now to understand” and I heard the words of my mother in my head…….

“I so wish I had given you the foundation, that I had as a child…going to church and being raised in the church….. sometimes, I think that during the times that you have had challenges it would have made it a little easier for you to get through if you had had that deeply rooted faith….. I feel like I failed you sometimes”. And though I don’t mfeel like my mother failed me in ANY way, I do wonder if I would be into the church like some of my friends are if I had grown up with it. What does scripture say “train up child …..and he shall never depart from it”? Hmmmm… I wonder. I am spiritual however and believe wholeheartedly in God. Period. I pray and I talk to God, I ask him for guidance and have faith.

My mother raised me by herself and for whatever reason, we never went to church on Sunday. I now can see just how tired you can be when you are raising a child AND working full time AND being the mommy and the daddy. I do not fault her for NOT taking me and for my NOT being raised in the church. I however, want my child to be as well equipped with a good sense of God earlier than I did. It was not until I was older (in my 20’s) that I even went to church (though still sporadically) more than I did growing up. Me & Mom went to church only on the “special holidays” and then ONLY on some of those.

As a child, I used to be around my grandmother (my mother’s mother) who was a Jehovah’s Witness. I should have gleaned some knowledge of the Bible from her right? Nope. You see, because I didn’t understand what the Bible was, I tuned out all the stuff that passed across my ears, after all I wasn’t being tested on it. My grandmother wasn’t really trying to teach it to me either, because I just happened to be around most of it because she and my granddad were my Mom’s only babysitter’s. I believe that she also knew my mother didn’t really agree with her new choice of religion, so she didn’t force it on me. Anyway, I attended the Kingdom Hall Sunday service numerous times and even went to the 3-day National Congregational Gathering that was held ad the Pontiac Silverdome every summer with my grandma. I went “in service” (going door to door to solicit the publications) with her. I went to peoples homes with her when she would go for bible study and through allllllllllllll of this, I didn’t retain one drop of knowledge. You see, since I was young, I have a knack for OBLITERATING anything I am not interested in, out of my mind. I can tune ANYONE out at ANYTIME and literally wipe it from my memory. And because the language of the bible made no sense to me, when there was reading being done from the bible, I immediately went into “tune out” mode. Heck, I just wanted to be up under my grandma anyway…..I wasn’t paying attention.

With that said, all of the “who so art thou’s” and the “he soeth ever shall’s” and the various other verbiage of the Bible always served to confuse me because I had NO IDEA what it was saying! So, I did what?….. I tuned it out……. I am not proud of it, but it was what it was.

Now, I say all that to say that later in my growth, I went to church with friends or for christenings, etc. and came to understand a little bit more. I will never forget one day I was talking to my best friend Jennifer, who was raised in the church and is a singer by profession. She knows all of the meanings of things and the ins & the outs of church service and protocol. I felt so stupid asking questions that a 5 year old would ask, but I felt that it was time to garner some knowledge. I also knew that Jen would not look at me like I had grown 7 horns and 5 tails just because I was asking these questions. I mean, I asked everything from “what is a consecration?” to “so what happened in the Bible when….” And to be honest with ya’ll there are STILLLLLLL plenty of stories that flat out don’t know or that I am not 100% or even 50% sure of all the details. Some of them are common ones that most people might be appalled to know that I don’t fully know.

Though I have always been less than knowledgeable about the Bible, I have ALWAYS #1 had a belief in GOD and have ALWAYS known the difference between heaven and hell, and have always believed that the devil is real. I pray and I am spiritual. I love God and I want to grow closer to him.

I fear death. I really do. I think that if I had more of an “abiding” faith that I would not fear it so. I know that God does not deal with things people consider tangible. By that I mean, his world is made of faith. I believe in everlasting life, but as a human being and due to my nature, because I cannot SEE IT and can’t TOUCH IT, I have a problem visualizing it. Did you understand what I said. I BELIEVE that it is so, but I have a problem VISUALIZING IT. I guess my faith needs some work.

But then again, I also consider myself faithful. There are some times when I KNOW it was nothing BUT God that saw me through to the next day and out of some funky-assed situations that I have been in. I know that He is the reason I awake every day. But I feel that I still do not have that deeply innate “abiding” faith that I should have.

I just had an interesting talk with Zed about this and I was telling him that though I CHOOSE to introduce Christianity to my child, I do not denigrate any one elses religion. As a matter of fact, I WANT my child to be worldly and well versed and knowledgeable about other religions. After all, I cannot dictate his actions, but for so long. That is why I do want him to learn about Christ and learn the Bible FIRST.

I do not have a church home, nor do I really WANT to go to church MYSELF every week. I want the message, but do not like all of the other extra stuff that takes your weekly church service up to a 2-4 hour visit. I do want Dylan to go though and learn ( yes, I am also contradictory in my desires). Also t here has not been a church that has kept me and “filled me up” that I have found yet. Or rather, there has not been a pastor or reverend, sans ONE (who died several years ago), with whom I felt a connection and whom I felt fed my “spiritual belly”.

I guess I’ll just take it one day at a time and keep the faith *smile*


"N" Search of Ecstasy said...

I think what you are doing is a very good idea and it is YOUR decision whether others think its right or wrong!

Children should be exposed to many different things and that way they are not so 'closed minded' as adults.

I think that if a child is old enough to talk, they are old enough to be introduced to “religion”. Of course he want understand everything, but its never too early.

Anonymous said...

Wow that's pretty much my deal too. I went through 13 years of Catholic school and can't tell you most of the "common knowledge" in the Bible. I'm Baptist but not a practicing one (meaning attending service, reading the Bible, etc.) because the false nature of people tends to get to me before the Word of God really sinks in. As long as you know God and provide your son with the comfort and understanding of who God is, you've given him an invaluable tool. The world is crazy; you need that nowadays.

Knockout Zed said...

Run Dylan, run!!!


chele said...

I love your honesty on this subject. There are so many "religious" people who are so full of it and don't know Genesis from Revelation but are so ready to preach to somebody.

I agree that it is never too early to introduce your son to Christ -- not religion. A relationship with Christ is the most important thing whether you sit in a sanctuary on Sunday morning or not. God did say not to forsake the fellowship, but it's hard to develop a relationship (with God) if you're falling asleep in church.

TRUTHZ said...

i agree w/ ur mama children need a foundation or a belt...something...did ur granny stay a Jehovah's Witness

Xquizzyt1 said...

Girl... this post is so timely for me, because right now I'm on a spiritual journey. I'm going through some serious things that have caused me to turn to Christ in a way that I never had before. Don't get me wrong, my grandmother is the daughter and sister of evangelists, my great grandfather founded The Baptist House of Prayer in Harlem, we walk in there like royalty on Founder's Day. My mother is saved, sanctified, fire baptized and holy-ghost filled... all that. But while I ALWAYS knew that for some reason I was highly favored... I never felt like I had THAT type of relationship with God. I went to church, but no matter HOW blessed I would feel afterwards, I had NEVER gotten up WANTING to go to church. I always kinda did it begrudgingly, or FOR my mother, or because I SHOULD.

Girl, times have changed. I'm going to church on Sundays, bible study on Tuesdays, I would be going to service tonite if I didn't have people coming in from out of town.

I'm like on fire for Christ right now, and I'm praying in a way I never have and experiencing and living by faith in a way I never though possible for me.

Girl if you want a renewed relationship with God then confess your sins, ask for forgiveness and come to God with a clean heart... pray on it, believe that it's already done and it will be.

I think it is important to sort of "indoctrinate" your child at an early age to go to church and read the bible and get involved, at an EARLY age, so that it becomes a way of life and doesn't feel almost like some sort of punishment that you wake up early and grit your teeth through. Consistency works. It's the same principle like with working out, if you grow up with it as a part of your life, it simply becomes a reality of your life and you do it without even knowing that you're being disciplined and structured and it feels less like a punishment.

Denigrating other religions is deplorable... that is not my thing either.

It is soooo crazy because lately I've been talking with people and so many women seem to be trying to strengthen their relationship with God and are on a spiritual journey. *sigh* God bless you mama. I pray that you find the answers you seek and the home church you are looking for to support and guide you on your walk. =)