Monday, February 2, 2009

parents and church

so, while seeing the-rapist today...i hit on something. she was all laid back in her chair, listening, and then when i finally got on a track, on this track specifically, she sat up and started writing.

see, i've been struggling with church. and my friend jen posted this quote about how church is meant to be participated in, not consumed. (it was much more eloquent, but that's the gist of what spoke to me.) i don't really like the church i've been going to. but i don't feel called to the other church either. i've always been kind of a "go to the nearest catholic church" kind of gal. well, since i became catholic, which was eleven years for eleven years, i've been know what i'm saying.... but the pastors at this church...i just don't get what they're saying a lot of the time. i mean, i understand saying something and meaning something by it, but something totally different can be interpreted...i get that. and i try to give them the benefit of the doubt, whenever i can find the room. but some of the things these guys say...i feel like they teach a worship and devotion that is mindless...that doesn't make sense on any level, but that you're just supposed to power through. they don't ever talk about a natural draw to that mystery...ever discuss the natural appeal of jesus...just how he established his authority and how we should run if we ever happen to witness someone doing the things jesus did. they never teach us how to discern, or question, or think about the mystery...just to be grateful for it, obey it, and tell others about it. and they seem so lost themselves sometimes...hopeless, really bogged down by negativity.

now i realize this may just be their personalities. and i try really hard not to be ask more of myself than i ask of them when i'm trying to listen to their homilies and understand what they're trying to teach. because i'm an adult, you know?

but the way they explain our relationship to God, it's so one sided...God is great, we are worms. and that bothers me. because i've been a parent for over fourteen years...longer than i've been catholic...and never have i felt my children are so far below me. i realize God is God. but why would God create humans to be so far below, so unworthy? i mean, i know these are human terms used to try to define something very not human...and that these terms reflect the views of the humans as much as their actual experience with God. but it's just been difficult to be journeying my own path of parenting, and my path of spirituality in my culture that compares my relationship to the Ultimate Creator with a parent/child relationship and then places the child so far below the parent.

i think this is why buddhism appeals to me so much. but i don't think christianity has to come off like this. what i told my the-rapist was that sometimes christians just paint God as such a punitive parent...and as i don't use punishment often, if at all, in my relationship with my kids, this christian punitive aspect is not jiving with me. and i feel a little adrift... which means i also feel like my kids are kind of adrift... and that's just not a comfortable spot for me.

so she prayed with me as i left. we don't do that together often. but today, i guess she felt it was a good idea. and it was. because i know the answers to this dilemma for me will come...with time and patience and probably some interviewing of some sort...but the answers will come. it was really was nice to have someone journey into the mystery with me, even if it was just for sixty seconds or so.


JO said...

Oh, holy crap. Are we not made in His image?!? Does that mean He's a worm too?1? Shit. What are these guys thinking sometimes?

We had a supply pastor come preach Sunday. He'll be there again this week (and hopefully for many more weeks after that). He was wonderful. Down to earth, funny, scripturally sound and well-versed, but also able to help us see how that scripture fits with who we are today. I know I shouldn't make snap judgments, but I liked him very, very much. G did too. Wanna come Sunday? I know we're not Catholic...but we're just a Reformation away... ;)

*Jess* said...

I think you should continue to try out different catholic churches (maybe even some greek orthodox as well?) to find a better fit. Because you don't want church to be something you *have* to do, it should be something that brings you joy and peace and spiritual well-being.

And I'm with you... I just can't wrap my head around the God of the old Testament, where he's depicted as raining hell fire and damnation upon all people that dare not keep the commandments. Call me idealistic, but the God I believe in is the God of love. And as you know, love does not have to equal punishment, it can equal teaching.