Working Spirituality into Our Family Culture

Borrowed from hpccr.wordpress.com

I am a “religious dabbler.”  This fact about my personality may make me appear to be somewhat wishy-washy in my ideas about faith, spirituality, and the divine, but I think my varied religious path has allowed me to clearly understand my experience of divinity.  I will admit, however, that the jury is still out on certain ideas such as what happens to the soul when we pass.  I digress…

Today, I really feel the need to explore spirituality and my family culture.  I have two posts up on my blog that deal with family spirituality: one about Family Ritual and another about making spirituality a priority in family life.  These two posts can give greater depth to my experience of faith, if you are interested.  Right now, my family is currently searching for a church home to further build our family culture.  To give some background into how we have come to the place we are, I will give a rough out-line of my spiritual life:

  • Prior to my existence, my parents broke with “organized” religion due to experiencing corruption and “meddling” in personal lives by their chosen church communities.

  • I attended the local Lutheran church’s preschool along with almost all of my childhood friends.

  • Throughout my childhood, I attended church, Sunday School, and VBS inconsistently with my grandmother at the local Southern Baptist church.

  • In about the 8th grade, I began attending my grandmother’s church regularly, experienced the process of being “saved,” and became a formal member of the church.

  • Sometime during my Junior year of high school, I began attending a youth group that was a combined effort by the Foursquare and Church of God churches.

  • During my Senior year of high school I started becoming more aware of the inconsistencies among religious teachings, behaviors of other “followers”, and my own evolving beliefs and discovered Wicca.

  • I spent time studying and practicing solitary Wicca for years following, but I never could get into a real rhythm of spiritual life, and it’s pretty lonely being solitary.  I attempted joining a few pagan social groups, but I never really fit in.

  • During college, I found a student Unitarian Universalist group and attended a few times.  I found this to be pretty intriguing and a lot less cumbersome that the practice of Wicca.

  • My husband I and were married in 2008 by a local UU minister and had a beautiful wedding that incorporated both Christian and nature-based practices.

  • Following this, I would occasionally practice Wicca (i.e. prayer, ritual), but it was so involved with tools, ritual design, etcetera, I eventaully just stopped because it was too much and almost felt like it made it harder to experience the divine.

  • This is about the time that I “softened” my definition of my belief system to the general “pagan.”  I chose to experience the divine through communing with nature, serving others, and just stopping to recognize the divine presence that is everywhere.  This worked pretty well for me.

  • I then became pregnant with our first son and began to attend the local UU church, though infrequently.

  • As our son got older, my husband and I began discussing how a spiritual life is important for children and families so we began to attend the UU church together.

  • We attended about once a month for about a year, but we discovered a number of problems: it was half an hour drive, one-way; I felt a major lack of spirituality during service; we are far more conservative than the majority of the congregants; and we were not part of a community, likely due to how infrequently we were able to attend.

  • Recently, my husband and I finally spoke about how we had not attended in months and needed to correct that.  We decided to check out his family’s long-time church home.

So here we are, come full-circle, back to a Christian church.  For those of you who know my husband and I personally, this probably comes as somewhat of a shocker, though it really shouldn’t.  Although I have some fundamental differences of belief with Christianity, I do feel that I interact with the world in much the same way that Christ called his followers to do so.  No, I do not do it in the name of Christ or even God, but I do it in the name of humanity and the divinity that I know to be present in all people.  I also am not so arrogant as to believe that wisdom cannot be found in a faith structure that I sometimes disagree with.  The Unitarian in me knows that wisdom is found in all faiths.  My husband is not even remotely close to what I would call a spiritual person, but he also acknowledges that the values taught by (some) communities of faith are important and do make us all better.  For us, participation in a community of faith helps to support us in guiding our young family on the path that we believe to be ideal: one of love, kindness, gratitude, humility, forgiveness, compassion, service, and hard work.

Right now, there is an experience of what can only be described as awkwardness as we try to find how to fit faith into our family culture, but it is an experience that is necessary and beneficial to all of us.  Even if we will not always agree with the faith that we have chosen to interact with, being part of a community of fellowship is never a bad thing.

Is faith an important part of your family culture?  How did you come to find what works?

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10 thoughts on “Working Spirituality into Our Family Culture

  1. Wow…awesome post. I have so much to say but don’t even know where to start. I will just say that we have much in common and seem to be on a similar spiritual journey. Would love to talk more about this with you!

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  2. Such a great post! I’ve been feeling the pull to do something in recent months too. Perhaps it’s the having children thing? I don’t really speak of God in a biblical sense but rathet call it the universe which I suspect really refers to the same thing I find organised religion rather hypocritical and that really frustrates me. I hate the my faith is right, your faith is wrong approach when essentially we are supposed to love thy neighbour, not judge and follow the same basic fundamental truths (pretty much). Despite all that the sense of community and the positive teachings cannot be denied. I’m not sure I’ve found the path that suits me best just yet. I hope you guys find what you are looking for at hubby’s local church. 🙂

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    • I agree with all that you have to say. One thing I have been working on over many years is to look for those within the faith that are living the faith and to ignore those that do not. Sometimes that is difficult if they are in your family, but those are the people that it is worth sitting down with and really hashing things out with. Now that I am attending a Christian church, I find myself trying to find ways to understand the message in my own personal context rather than taking them as delivered. It helps, and being around people that truly want you to be present makes specifics on theology rather less important.

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    • We have never felt so welcomed and wanted, anywhere. Everyone is always so happy to see us and concerned for our well-being. It’s been great. I’m still working on fitting how I view spirituality/divinity fitting with the messages and teachings. It’s kind of a weird place to be. I really need to sit down and talk with my husband about it to see what he’s doing with the messages. I think a post is in order to help me process.

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  3. A says:

    Wow. I too took a circular path. Raised Catholic discovered Wicca practiced solitarily discovered Paganism then started visited a few other religions place of worship before starting my different denomination church a week journey…now I’ve returned to Catholicism having met a wonderful order of priests and brothers (who call me brother as a joke ). Am i in 100% agreement with all the doctrine? Nope. Aren’t i upset at the sexual abuse being discovered? Heartbroken. But religion is man made…my relationship with the divine is something …well…else. Incidentally my Wiccan journey has allowed me to more easily accept God as neither male or female, ie i can pray to Him, I can pray to Her, or even to Love.anyway i am so encouraged by your post and your writing…i think i will finally publish that first blog post that’s been languishing in drafts!! Thank you. Would you mind if i reblogged your post as my inspiration? All credit will be given of course. Peace, A.

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    • Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry I missed this! I got a new phone and so don’t have the WordPress App on there and didn’t get a notification. Ooops!

      I’m glad you found me and thank you for the kind words 🙂 It has been a long time since I wrote that post. We are now firmly established at a local Christian church, the one my husband grew up in actually, and things are going quite well in the area of the divine these days. I caught this comment because I am getting ready to do a new post.

      I am glad to hear that you have found your way back to Christ! Hurray! I am so glad to be back, and also glad that my writing has been an encouragement to you. I hope you get that first post off into the blogosphere soon and you are more than welcome to share any of my work that speaks to you.

      Blessings to you!

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