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Long rant on my religious outlook

Posted by Mal on August 8, 2005, at 2:01:13

I was raised in a very small, independent baptist church, where a bumper crop of churchgoers numbered 100, and everyone knew everyone, and most were related. Until I left home at 18, I was dragged to church at least 3 times a week (more often that that if they were having revival) to hear a preacher yelling bloody hell fire and brimstone sermons. I remember being very small, maybe 6 years old, and growing a very guilty conscience in response to those sermons. Then there were the sermons on Revelation that REALLY upset me. We got a LOT of "Jesus is coming back" sermons, too, and I spent the first half of my life thinking things like, "Jesus will be back before I get my license" or "Time probably won't last long enough for me to go to college." And my Mom wasn't one to smooth it over for me- she still lives and dies by everything that is preached from that pulpit.

My older brother and I were talking about how we were raised, and we both agreed that our childhood freedom was eaten up by all that. I don't remember ever being really carefree as a kid. There was always that dark cloud on the horizon. But he is raising his kids in that very same church. Maybe the pastor is different now, but I don't really think so.

I never was baptized, because everyone made such a fuss over "If you make a promise to God, you better keep it"- I figured it was better not to make a promise than to make one and inevitably break it- because of the sinful human condition. And the same story goes for why I have NEVER taken communion. "If you take it and there is sin in your life, there's gonna be trouble!" in one breath, and in another breath, "None of us are perfect- we all have sin." I took it all as serious business, and haven't made any publicly symbolic promises to God that I can't keep.

Now now, flash forward 20 years, and I have a babygirl of my own. I feel some obligation to raise her similar to the way I was raised (read that as "in church"). I have visited a few churches near here but haven't really gotten "involved" and haven't made much of a habit of going. My husband isn't into it at all. I think he thinks it is a waste of time. When I say I am going he teases me- "You haven't done anything wrong this week, have you?"

I don't have any intentions of going to church 3 times a week. (Is that a terrible attitude to have?) I will be doing great to get in the habit of going on Sunday morning! I have liked one church very well, but the sermons could be better. I mean, they are nice and quiet, mostly logical, but somewhat simplistic. I usually used my time in church to think, commune with or ruminate about loved ones who have passed. (OK, not really commune with the dead, but think of them- think of what I would talk to them about if I could and such.)

Since I have been on my own, my thoughts on sin have REALLY changed. I mean, when I was little, I thought THINKING bad thoughts was a sin. I admit, keeping my mind from thinking some things is a nice skill I probably cutivated then, but come on! I also used to think having certain feelings was a sin. Like feelings that I didn't like someone, or nearly hated someone. Now I think it is my right to be choosy about friends and have an opinion about people. I am not nearly as compassionate as my Mom. If I think someone isn't doing their best, they get no help from me. Momma help and helps till she gets USED, even enables some, I think. Is enabling a sin?

When I was little, sins were the little things, and that sort of makes people feel bad about themselves, doesn't it? Now sin (to me) is violating the 10 commandments. Heaven help me I cuss and it isn't nice, but I don't think it is a SIN. I appreciate the male form, but it isn't LUST, so it isn't sin.

Well, this has run the gamut - maybe I should have named this thread "Everything I think about Religion".

Ya'll have a great night!




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