Thursday, December 3, 2009

Matters of Faith

So I mentioned that my hubby has no religion. Well that's not exactly true. He kinda has his own. And no I don't mean he started a cult or anything. My hubby was baptized Catholic because his mom's family are very staunch Catholics. His mother is Catholic but she struggles more than most with it. Anyway...hubby's parents got involved with a Baptist church and sort of converted. So hubby was raised baptist. But then towards the end of high school, hubby sort of let his faith go. Right now if you ask him, he believes that God exists. So he's not agnostic because they believe that it could go either way. But he's not a deist either because deists believe that God is the creator. Hubby's not to sure about that part either. He just knows that God is around. What God does or who God is he's fuzzy on. And that's perfectly fine with me. I can explain why later.

But I also know that you can't get married in the Catholic church unless you have a religion preferably a Christian one. So when the priest was filling out the paper work he said "religion" and hubby explained that he was baptized Catholic and raised Baptist. The priest never asked him was his religion was now. Apparently the priest listed him as being both a Catholic and Baptist because that's what it says in the Church's registries (there are benefits to working at a Church). The priest really couldn't care less what hubby's religion was. He knew me because I worked there and he was only interested in me. Because soon after all that, he made me sign the paper. You know the one that says that you will be open to children and raise them Catholic. Hubby already agreed that we would try and have at least one child (successful so far) and that they could be Catholic. So every body's happy.

As for myself, religion has had it's own pitfalls. I'm a cradle Catholic. A majority of the very strict Catholics, I've noticed aren't cradle Catholics. They're mostly converts. They find their faith and like newly weds can be very honeymoony about it. A priest has mentioned the same sort of thing when talking about new priests. I'm speaking in very generic terms; I'm not saying all converts are this way. I know quite a few who struggle themselves. But many cradle Catholics don't have that honeymooner period. I guess that makes it hard for us to understand why converts act so "righteous." We grow up in the environment and become jaded after a while.

My own personal story is that I grew up Catholic in the heart of the Bible belt. At the time, the area I lived in was sparsely populated. We did have a local Catholic church. Some of the members came from other parts of the country. Other's had been born there to parents who were Catholic and some were converts who married into the faith. It was a small collection of people. Outside of the church, in the wide world of school hardly anyone was Catholic. There was a lot of misconception of the church and so I ended up having to learn real fast. I won't get into specifics because I already tacle those issues throughout the blog. During college, I had my own falling out of faith experience. It wasn't until I moved and went to grad school in another part of the country that I came back to the faith.

Some of my reasons for falling out of faith were that the church at college was extremely frigid. They did not like outsiders. It was painfully uncomfortable going to Mass. The other reason was that I was dating a very egotistical guy. He was Missionary Baptist (very different from my Southern Baptist friends). And unlike my friends who ran the gamut of faiths, he was not accepting of my faith. He went to Mass with me a few times, but for things like Lent which is very important to me, he thought it was ridiculous to fast and abstain. In hindsight, I find it funny that he was critical of my own faith because even though he was Missionary Baptist he never went to church while we were dating. He ended up becoming very involved with the Methodist campus group after we broke up. His sister was also married to a Catholic. But none of it made a dent, if something went against the grain with him, he made it clear that he did not agree.

After we broke up, I had not only experienced prejudice from the outside. I had experienced it in someone who I thought that I loved. I was very angry and depressed. And decided to give up on faith. It wasn't working for me. I only had one friend who was Catholic, my suitemate. The rest didn't understand my faith either although some were extremely supportive. It became a series of spirals. Sometimes I was frustrated and other times, I felt like God was calling me back.

When I moved, I decided it was time. Time to start over and try to make peace with my past. I cannot blame people for their prejudice. And I cannot blame God for trying to teach me that faith is not sunshine and roses all the time. It gets tested a lot. I ended up moving to an area that has a huge Catholic populace. There is a Catholic church everywhere I turn. I don't have to drive 30 minutes to get to one. And they all celebrate Mass differently. I learned a lot more about my faith. And that it doesn't have to followed one way (well other than God's way). There are all kinds of Catholics and it takes all kinds.

If I were to move back home, I feel more confident that I won't struggle so much. I'm a lot older now and I understand a lot more now. My Catholic education had been sporadic and I hadn't really received as much support even in my own family. My parents haven't been to Mass in over 10 years. This is something that I want to change with my own son. I think that it's important that like the Reese's commercial there is not wrong way to be a Catholic. We can disagree about things. We can take up the mantle of different things. And I want to explain why we do what we do. I remember talking about saints in grade school, but we were never taught why we pray with/not to (like worship them) saints and who saints are. We talked about being named after a saint and figuring out what saintly things they did, but that's it. I think it's important for young Catholics to know how to evangelize. I'm not saying to go out and knock on people's doors or stand on street corners handing out pamphlets. I'm saying that my son should be able to discuss his faith with someone who is not Catholic. This was something that took me a long time to do.

So I understand that faith is a constant struggle. I think people who don't struggle with it to the point of doubt are following faith too blindly. It's like marriage. You have peeks and valleys. If you don't have valleys, you don't really have true peeks either. So if my hubby is not so sure of things, that's great. He's not lying to himself about how he feels. He has to find his own way through faith. That's between him and God. So I'm not about to convert him. His faith was not the reason I married him. He has really great morals (unlike the Missionary Baptist guy) but that's another blog.

6 comments:

  1. *clapping*

    I'll apologize ahead of time... to add to my normal wordiness (LOL) I've been ordered to rest until my midwife calls so I can't do much & distracting myself online.

    I can completely understand the situation with your husband and the marriage form thing. I don't see that as lying... esp if they didn't ask if he still practiced either. Besides I think being Baptized at all fills out the requirements to be married in the Church whether they still believe or not (don't quote me there, but I think...).

    I've seen the whole diff between cradle & convert too... there are def exceptions.. but as a general rule it is true. And I couldn't agree more with your last paragraph.

    Btw I wish I could send you an invite to my secondary blog... I have it invite only so I can be more open about certain things including posts like this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks :-)

    And understood about the email thing. I have a junk one I give out more freely too. Even the one I have by gmail isn't linked to numbers or anything. It scares me how easily someone can get ahold of us that way. Hmmm.. I prob should double check my stuff though just to make sure lol.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oops forgot to add, the invite comes through blogger I think so hopefully it doesn't go to spam or anything.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think it's easier for people to track me through my name, which is what my e-mail addresses is. It's for people who know me and anything "official." My last name is really unusual. If I used my maiden name, it would be a little harder figuring out which name is really me. The junk name is just my first name and instrument. There are so many people with my first name that I don't have to worry too much about that.

    My husband thought I was this crazy women's libber when he googled me after we met. I'm very "devil's advocate." The student newspaper is way too liberal anyway so it's not very accurate to read my letters to editor. The newspaper was treating women like we were idiots or something so I wrote a few things in response. After he got to know me, he realized that I'm just as much for men's rights as women's.

    I've discovered that I have a knack for pissing people off when I'm writing. I'm really very harmless in person. I guess you could say writing is cathardic. I write out how I feel but don't behave that way in public.

    Ah well...it's my opinion. Opinions are like butt holes. Everyone has one and they all stink. :P

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gotcha, my married name isn't too common either but the family is so big it doesn't really matter lol. I don't have my whole name in there anymore anyway.

    That's funny about his reaction. I met my husband at Church... cut out anything like that from happening (would have been funny though because women's libs drive him crazy).

    I'm kinda the same way with writing... Am shy in person until someone knows me well... (have worked on it for years, and better than I was... but still)So unless ya do its easy to miss just how opinionated I am. Unfortunately unless you know me well (which is rare online) its also easy to miss that I can agree to disagree and really enjoy being around people with different views most of the time. Makes life interesting.

    Love the last quote btw... Gotta get back to housework now.. up and down all day as usual lol.

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!