Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Macaronis and Cheeses Christ

I was making dinner tonight and said something to YaYa about having macaronis and cheeses. He said, "Cheeses Christ!"

Trust me when I say he does not get that from me. I hope he doesn't get it from B, either. I very strongly suspect my dad had a hand in it. (Thanks, Dad!) I scolded him and told him that he never said Jesus's name unless he was talking about Jesus. This probably confused him, because he has never been to church and other than reading a children's Bible to him every once in a while, we don't talk about religion much.

Religion is something I think about every day. I was brought up Lutheran and we did go to church on a more-or-less regular basis until I was 13. When I was 13, we moved and never found a new church. My parents were working 16 hour days, so I think in a way it was low on the priority list. (Yes, I realize your soul should probably be pretty close to the top, but somebody had to get things done.) I didn't think about it much after that. When I was 18 or 19, I was an atheist for a day or two. Other atheists would probably laugh at me, because I have a feeling I was not even a tiny bit a "real" atheist, I was an agnostic. That's what I became next, and now I'm more or less an agnostic theist--I'm not sure if there's a god, but I'm leaning toward yes. I read the Bible, I read discussions about the Bible and other religious texts, and I think about what my beliefs are and how they relate to my actions. But despite all that, I am at a complete loss as to where to start with the kids and, honestly, if I want to start. How can I teach them about religion when I don't even know what I believe? Do I just jump in and go? And how do I answer questions if I don't know the answers?

I have to say, I am jealous of almost all of the Mormons, Muslims and Jews I know. They have faith. They follow their religion because...because they do, that's why. They are happy about it. They just seem so confident about it all. Obviously I know that's not a blanket statement for all people of those religions, just the ones I know. (I use the word "know" loosely. I am including internet people in that sample.)

B and I can't agree on what to do, religion-wise. B was much more religious than I was when we got married but somehow we've inverted that. He says he's pretty disillusioned with Christianity and the actions of some Christians. I'm fairly certain that the people he's referring to aren't acting Christ-like even a little bit and therefore aren't a good representative sample, but he won't hear it. He was also very close to his pastor and I think that makes him reluctant to move on. (I am not driving three hours for church every Sunday. Sorry.) But I don't know how to get around it. I don't know if I want to or even need to. Religion, after all, is a deeply individual thing, and apparently I'm all over the map. I can't decide what I believe, but I won't let my kids take the Lord's name or Christ's name in vain. I'm also uncomfortable with the thought of going to church or discussing religion in a context other than scholarly, but I pray and I pray for other people when asked. In short, faith makes me nervous. I feel like I should, instinctively, be able to know one way or the other. But I don't. And I think because of all that I feel...bereft.

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