Please read the following blog before continuing.
I am going to focus a little more on religion today than I normally do in my blogs. Today my Rev submitted a blog to read by a blogger on here. This blog struck home to me. I was raised by Baby Boomers and I am a millennial. In sixth grade after moving to San Antonio my parents told me that religion was my choice and I needed to find it on my own. They did not care what denomination or faith I followed. As a sixth grader, was I responsible for such a decision? I could not even drive so how was I supposed to go to service somewhere? When we lived in Arlington I was baptized Methodist. My mother was the church administrator. Then my little sister found a friend at our Episcopalian school. Her father was a Presbyterian minister. I was confirmed or accepted into the Church. To be honest the only thing I remember about that Church was the old time soda machine that gave sodas in glass bottles and the Eucharist being an actual loaf of white bread we passed around the pews. During Confirmation or acceptance I was ask to name the first 10 books of the Bible and the say the Lords prayer in front of a couple of members of the Church.
In my Episcopalian school I was fascinated with the incenses and the altar boy who thought he would be cool and whip it like a medieval flair. He was in my fifth grade class and named Sam. I was also an acolyte and was responsible for carrying the cross. When there was a formal traditional service and not just chapel we were forced to be on the right side of the chancel with no cushions. Kneeling from a sitting position and not just dropping to floor in a long acolyte robe takes skill. This is why I can admire the boys that do it my Church. At this school, part of religious teaching was memorizing the seasons of the Church. I had an entire rhyme I memorized which I can still recite to this day. Is it useful? Not really but it is funny how I find it to be an important accomplishment.
Getting back to the blog, “When Church Is a Choice”, I am one of those children grown up and given that decision. I now have children as part of my family. I hadn’t been in Church or anything that would remotely resemble a Church in years. I had attended multiple denominations of Church and even attended a Temple for a while in college. Something about the concept of Noacide laws spoke to me. They were universal and could be found in all the major works of all the major religions of the world. I study religion, faith, and ritual. It is part of me like breathing. It was not until my children started going crazy I could hear my mother in my ear going “Your Lucky God has not smite you yet.” At that point I began asking my fiancé were we needed to take the children to church. He grew up in the Baptist church but was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal/Anglican church. When he said that, all I could think of was Sam using the incenses holder as a flair. I decided to do some digging before committing to this decision.
I emailed the rector at St. Andrews in Grand Prairie which had gone Anglican about a recommendation for a Church like what I remembered. High in ritual and tradition. Something my children could have like I had in my life. He did not get back to me for four days. When he did, he recommended the Church I attend now with our children. They split time with their Mom who is part of Generation X and what we affectionately call a Christmas/Easter Catholic. Her mom and step-dad are atheist. So the children do not spend as much time with the Church as I would like but at least I am trying. Which I do not know exactly if that is any better than making Church a choice? It is scary bringing children into Church. I still have fear of it and we have been attending church now for three months. Holy week was terrifying and on Good Friday I became my mother. At the 9th station of the cross, my four year old daughter decided she was bored and decided to fling a book down the pew. I was mortified. On our way home I turned at her in the car looked her straight in the eye and became my mother. My fiancé was horrified and upset. I was shocked and angry I became my mother. But looking back at it now I know it was right to bring them to Church. My son has developed a love for ritual. He finds its calming repetitive predictability soothing to what is a chaotic life. My daughter loves going to Church on Sunday. She has met a great deal of friends.
“Ritual, reverence and spiritual practice. Religions need to hold to their religious practices that frame their identity.” I could not agree more. The outside non-ritual parts that allow for flexibility of change need to be used to draw people back into the pews while the beautiful ritual and spiritual practices remain pure. I cannot speak for every one of my generation. I often speak on here about being prepared for the Church to fail and loose a generation. However, I will not let my children, my fiancé, or myself be one of those lost souls looking for moral structure. Like traditional past generations, I am now using the Church to help frame my families moral guide. I am past my 20s and religious dilemmas. It is too soon to verify if I am part of the majority or the minority. However, I pray for the life blood of the Church and its continued existence for my children. Next week we will speak of ritual and how it does define the identity of the church like social rituals define the societies that perform them. May you have a blessed week and until next time.
Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.