Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 852253

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 30. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Feeling out of place again in church

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 8:49:48

Not too long ago I discovered a Sunday School class where I felt for the first time in a long time like I was accepted by real life people for who I was.

But now I'm thinking again that my family would just be better off without me at church. I'm a liability.

There are things I just don't believe. I've prayed, and I've read, and there are areas where I just can't believe traditional doctrine. Theoretically (according to the leaders I've consulted) that isn't a problem in my church. They encourage people to think and don't require orthodoxy. But in practical terms it is a bit of a problem.

I think part of it may be the fact that I was not raised a Protestant. My formative years were spent thinking of various concepts in different ways. The relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the Fall of Man are two concepts where I don't think I can ever have orthodox beliefs according to my current faith.

Yet I ran into the same problem with my old faith, one where it was more necessary for me to believe in totality. I miss that church, but not only can I not believe in all doctrine there, but my husband would not agree to join either.

My personal theology is closest to Judaism. I've talked to a rabbi twice about converting. But he told me that God cared more about my worshiping in unity with my husband and son than he did about where I worshiped. I told my son that recently. Without prompting or hints of how he should react, he answered that that Rabbi was very wise and he thought that was a good answer. One of the things I'm proudest of is that he is a very ecumenical thinker. He has enormous respect for the Jewish faith, not only because of what I've taught him, but also because his school educates and shows respect for all faiths instead of banning faith entirely from classrooms.

I am fully aware that my issue may fall away in time, as we move on to different topics in Sunday School. It's a great class, and I really feel close to the people there. Although I doubt that shows. I am so afraid of socializing, and so aware of my unattractiveness on so many levels in a social setting, that I'm sure I appear stand-offish.

I don't know why I'm posting this, except that I'm sad that my lack of ability to believe has tainted another church experience.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah

Posted by rayww on September 16, 2008, at 13:58:50

In reply to Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 8:49:48

Your closing comment, "lack of ability to believe" means doubt.

(May I suggest?) Once you are properly tethered you should feel more secure. Doubt is such a cancerous entity once it gets a firm hold. If your foundation is built upon the rock of Jesus Christ you cannot fall. So what I read through your words, and the scriptures is there are two choices: Jesus and doubt. Which is the most secure as a tether?

You believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You believe man has to recover from his fallen state in order to regain the Father's presence. I assume you believe that Jesus voluntarily came to earth to accomplish just that.

I think you believe more than you doubt. As you said, it will pass with a new topic. Hold on to what you believe till it does.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 14:12:33

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah, posted by rayww on September 16, 2008, at 13:58:50

> You believe man has to recover from his fallen state in order to regain the Father's presence.

No... I fear I don't believe that. I don't think I will ever believe in The Fall. I interpret the story of Adam and Eve much differently. I respect the beliefs of those who do believe in The Fall, but I don't.

I believe in God. I love God with all my heart, although I may fall short in living as if I do sometimes. I believe that Jesus was his beloved son. I believe that Jesus extended an invitation to those of all nations to enter into a relationship with God, and I consider him my savior because I accepted that invitation. I believe that through God's grace we can experience the gift of the spirit of God, the gift of a personal relationship with God through the spirit.

I recognize that for some people finding God through Jesus ends all doubt. For me it never has. The big stuff I believe without any doubt at all. It's the other theological layers that I can and do doubt. In my experience, the other theological layers can and do make a difference.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church

Posted by Sigismund on September 16, 2008, at 14:56:57

In reply to Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 8:49:48

>The relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the Fall of Man are two concepts where I don't think I can ever have orthodox beliefs according to my current faith.

>My personal theology is closest to Judaism.

This is very interesting, but I know nothing about Judaism, and not much about the Holy Spirit. I wondered if this sounded like Unitarianism, about which I also know nothing except that TS Eliot's family had a background in it. Is Unitarianism protestant?

Dinah, would you like to talk more about this?

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah

Posted by rayww on September 16, 2008, at 15:09:50

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 14:12:33

Won't the theological layers sort as long as the foundation is sure? What you identified as your foundation -- your belief in God, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Fall, seems strong.

I understand we have different theological beliefs (layers), but as long as you can cling to your (guns) and your god, does the rest even matter? Either your theology is leading you toward God, or taking you farther away, and that is how you sort it out. Even your minister encourages that.

Scriptures come to mind.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Sigismund

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 16:32:28

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Sigismund on September 16, 2008, at 14:56:57

No, it's not protestant.

It may be the only place where my unique blend of beliefs would be as orthodox as any others. :)

But I'm constrained. If I put a premium on worshiping as a family, I have to choose a faith tradition my husband is comfortable with. He has moved to this denomination from the Catholic church in which he was raised. I don't think he'd consider anything less traditional than that. Theoretically, since the church allows for individual biblical interpretation, it's ok for me to be a member. But in practice it really doesn't work out that way.

What I need to do is keep my big mouth shut. Keeping my big mouth shut is not something I'm good at.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 16:34:05

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah, posted by rayww on September 16, 2008, at 15:09:50

Well....

I certainly have beliefs about all those things.

I'm going to just try to keep them to myself in the future. After all, there's no particular reason to share them.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church

Posted by Sigismund on September 16, 2008, at 18:26:45

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Sigismund, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 16:32:28

Is The Fall the same as Original Sin?

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Sigismund

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 19:32:05

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Sigismund on September 16, 2008, at 18:26:45

Yes, original sin results from The Fall.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah

Posted by rayww on September 16, 2008, at 20:16:33

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 16:34:05

> Well....
>
> I certainly have beliefs about all those things.
>
> I'm going to just try to keep them to myself in the future. After all, there's no particular reason to share them.

What if sharing what you believe were to help someone? What if you were the only person who could reach them? Would you feel commissioned by God? And would you have the courage to follow His lead?

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 21:53:31

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah, posted by rayww on September 16, 2008, at 20:16:33

I have no real problem sharing my testimony.

I just am going to keep my mouth shut about my less orthodox beliefs. I doubt anyone would find them particularly helpful.

It's not all that long ago that heretics were put to death. :) Tolerance has come an awful long way, and I should be happy that my beliefs will bring me no more than disapprobation from my classmates and prayers for my immortal soul. I usually am happy about it I guess. But I can't manage to keep my mouth shut even when I know that my speaking won't benefit me or anyone else, and even though I know that it could bring disapproval to me and embarrassment to my family.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church

Posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 21:58:14

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 21:53:31

I think the problem might be that I just like theology too much. I mistake Sunday School as the proper place to discuss theology. :)

They really are a nice group of people. I don't think I've met a group I like so much since school. They don't want to make me feel uncomfortable. I need to try harder not to make them feel uncomfortable.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah

Posted by rayww on September 17, 2008, at 13:11:57

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 21:58:14

> I think the problem might be that I just like theology too much. I mistake Sunday School as the proper place to discuss theology. :)
>
> They really are a nice group of people. I don't think I've met a group I like so much since school. They don't want to make me feel uncomfortable. I need to try harder not to make them feel uncomfortable.

May I suggest that I might know why you are so intrigued with theology? Given your background, mingled with your experience, it isn't difficult to understand. Each church has a narrow band of theology, that belongs to them, that they don't want to challenge. You, coming from many theological backgrounds, one of which I believe is Mormon, have access to a lot of theological views. There is truth and there is almost truth, and it makes some uncomfortable.

I used to like Sunday School class for that reason too. We had a teacher who I thought was a little self righteous, and out of touch with reality, and I'd sit there waiting for the right moment to chirp in. We were in tune with each other, and more often than not what I had been studying (thinking about) the week previous, would surface in the lesson.

That's what I call in sync, and it gives me a special kind of thrill :)

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww

Posted by Dinah on September 17, 2008, at 22:06:33

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah, posted by rayww on September 17, 2008, at 13:11:57

I'm sure you're right. When you're raised in two different religions, and each claims to be divinely inspired and true, it's kind of natural to recognize that both of them can't be and to go off on a search for truth.

I've had that experience with my former pastor's sermons. I figured that God wouldn't make sure he preached a sermon that fit the issues I'd been experiencing, so it must be that He was priming the pump for me during the week so that I'd be open to that Sunday's sermons.

That pastor retired a few years ago. I haven't had a similar experience with anyone since then.

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah

Posted by rayww on September 18, 2008, at 8:17:34

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww, posted by Dinah on September 17, 2008, at 22:06:33

> I'm sure you're right. When you're raised in two different religions, and each claims to be divinely inspired and true, it's kind of natural to recognize that both of them can't be and to go off on a search for truth.
>
> I've had that experience with my former pastor's sermons. I figured that God wouldn't make sure he preached a sermon that fit the issues I'd been experiencing, so it must be that He was priming the pump for me during the week so that I'd be open to that Sunday's sermons.
>
> That pastor retired a few years ago. I haven't had a similar experience with anyone since then.

Maybe your new pastor is preaching a canned sermon, rather than his own. There is something about preaching from the heart, that connects with those listening.

In SS class, there is so much information on the Internet, and it is very interesting, (http://beardall2000.com/gospdoct.shtml) but when a teacher gets up and pretty much reads it word for word, something is lost. SS isn't so much about being informative, as it is about being real. I don't attend Sunday School right now, because I teach primary, but I know that as a teacher, unless I can personalize the lessons, those dozen 10 year olds cramped up in that tiny room will be bouncing off the walls, literally. From a listener and a teacher perspective, it is exactly the same. You can't preach a canned sermon (one that was prepared by someone else) and expect to be in sync with your environment. But if you ever do hit it, I think you should capitalize on the moment quickly before it passes. ( Don't squelch the spirit.) If you can open up a good discussion with a comment that relates to the lesson, go for it Dinah.

Please don't think I'm being critical of Mr. Beardal. I love studying what he puts on the Internet. I think he has a lot of understanding and background. I'm a bit critical of a teacher who prints off his lesson, then gives it as her own. I don't know if this relates to what you have experienced.

 

Dinah I don't think soooooo

Posted by 64bowtie on September 19, 2008, at 4:39:21

In reply to Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 8:49:48

>>> I am so afraid of socializing, and so aware of my unattractiveness on so many levels in a social setting...

(((Dinah))),

I accept and acknowledge your feelings whatever they might be, and w/out reservation...

That said, I puzzle at how to encourage you to acknowledge and appreciate your self-acceptance and self-worth... These are the building blocks of self-respect... W/out self-respect, self-esteem gets no traction, no grip, no impact on life...

I also puzzle at how I enjoy you being on the planet, now in my time, when, as a matter of course, I avoid folks who assess themselves as you have in the above paragraph as being toooo much trouble... So, either I missed the truth about you because I am blind/deaf/dumb/ugly, or you are mistaken... Good news for you, I'm none of those, so you've been listening to the wrong crowd...

Steve Martin once pointed out that its unattractive to eat your lunch through the tablecloth... But even that isn't who you are... That is something you did (or do), not a statement of who you are... "Concept of Self" is about who you are, not about how you act and what you do...

Parents mistakenly cross that line all the time and the kids all toooo often waste a good part of their lives believing the parental injunctions as fact... Parents were injuncted as children to coerce them into action, so they see no problem with such behavior continuing on to their own children... We all suffer when we are mistakenly measured for our worth by our actions, at the hands of someone holding on to the childhood myth, "We are what we do (did)"...

So, you remain attractive to me because of who you are, not what you do or how you feel about mistakes you may have made... You are never lieing to me to leave such things out of our conversations... I seek out who you are, not to be measured by what you do...

I do enjoy you...

Rod

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww

Posted by Dinah on September 20, 2008, at 10:43:01

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah, posted by rayww on September 18, 2008, at 8:17:34

I think in this case, I'll settle for getting through it without alienating my new friends. This book hasn't been much of a success so far, and a class that doesn't move anyone would probably be ok this week.

If they express some of what I think, I will add my personal thoughts. And they well might. They're a pretty progressive group of people. Maybe last week's problem came from the fact that there were visitors. I suppose it's wise not to be too lively when you don't know how new people feel.

After talking to my therapist I feel better about my beliefs being a bit heretical.

 

Re:

Posted by Dinah on September 20, 2008, at 10:53:42

In reply to Dinah I don't think soooooo, posted by 64bowtie on September 19, 2008, at 4:39:21

> I also puzzle at how I enjoy you being on the planet, now in my time, when, as a matter of course, I avoid folks who assess themselves as you have in the above paragraph as being toooo much trouble...

Perhaps it's because my self esteem is topic dependent. In many ways I am quite confident and self assured. I consider myself to have great intrinsic worth (just as we all do, in one way or another). But my previous experiences for nearly all my life has given me what I think to be realistic negative self appraisal in the area of social interaction. I have been tormented in school, regularly rejected as an adult, and in every way had my view that I am socially unacceptable validated over and over.

Some of that might be a self fulfilling prophecy. People who would like to like me or be accepting, but who I turn off by appearing stand-offish when I'm really just trying to make sure I don't foist myself on them.

> Parents mistakenly cross that line all the time and the kids all toooo often waste a good part of their lives believing the parental injunctions as fact... Parents were injuncted as children to coerce them into action, so they see no problem with such behavior continuing on to their own children...

I can't blame my parents. They never coerced me into anything, and they clearly loved me and valued me. Whatever their flaws, that was always true. They weren't really all that good socially themselves. My father could pass for social in some situations, but he certainly wasn't socially skilled. My mother blundered through life alienating everyone around her, and never being aware of that. People would go to me, once I was a teenager, and ask me to call her off or tell her how she was offending them. I would always answer that she was my mother, and I couldn't do that, and that they should speak to her directly.

Maybe I'm afraid of being like my mother. And based on the reactions I usually elicit in person, maybe I am.

I appreciate your confidence and positive regard for me, Rod.

Dinah

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah

Posted by rayww on September 20, 2008, at 11:24:51

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church rayww, posted by Dinah on September 20, 2008, at 10:43:01

> I think in this case, I'll settle for getting through it without alienating my new friends. This book hasn't been much of a success so far, and a class that doesn't move anyone would probably be ok this week.
>
> If they express some of what I think, I will add my personal thoughts. And they well might. They're a pretty progressive group of people. Maybe last week's problem came from the fact that there were visitors. I suppose it's wise not to be too lively when you don't know how new people feel.
>
> After talking to my therapist I feel better about my beliefs being a bit heretical.

Heretics are no longer burned or stoned, but as you said, it hasn't been that long since they were. Is that the meaning of "freedom of religion?"
God bless America.

 

It went well!

Posted by Dinah on September 21, 2008, at 14:42:21

In reply to Re: Feeling out of place again in church Dinah, posted by rayww on September 20, 2008, at 11:24:51

I worked hard all week at understanding and finding a way to reconcile the lesson with my own beliefs. I'm not really as good at prayer as I'd like so I can't say I prayed. But maybe God knows me well enough to recognize my own forms of prayer. With guidance from the Spirit I was able to choose which parts of the lesson to emphasize and was able to put it in historical context.

I actually found a lot to value in the lesson, and found my understanding increased both by the written lesson and my investigations into what the lesson meant.

And I found that my classmates had the same doubts and struggles I did on this topic! I am truly blessed to have found a group of people I am so compatible with to join me on my journey of spiritual growth.

 

((( Dinah ))) Re:

Posted by 64Bowtie on September 22, 2008, at 3:32:54

In reply to Re:, posted by Dinah on September 20, 2008, at 10:53:42

>>> I appreciate your confidence and positive regard for me, Rod.

<<< And I appreciate your hanging in there through my 6 years of blundering, around here and in these parts (other boards)...

Could it be that I see rejection as a clue on how to make it different so that it will work, and rejection is a signal to you that you are a "reject"??? Is it my (distant past) engineering background at play here, looking for ways to make things work better, or at least the way they were designed to do??? If that made any sense, how can it help you to look (and feel) past the immediousy of the rejection toward a bigger picture??? I want to know...

Picture yourself somewhere other than a Katrina survivor, living a life not like the 1 you have, but a different 1... What can you learn from the Dinah in that picture??? Or, how about 10 other Dinahs??? What could you learn from them???

It only takes 100 milliseconds (10th of second) to change your mind, permanently... Lab experiments over the last 10 years proves it... So, stop letting your life as you know it victimise you, please... Can you spare a 10th of a second???

Sorry if I am waxing "Social" or "Psych" instead of sticking to the purpose of the "Faith" board...

Rod

PS: I probably need to avoid this "Faith" board, since in the past its been a "mine field" for me to share at...

 

Re: Feeling out of place again in church

Posted by Bird Watcher on September 23, 2008, at 12:55:17

In reply to Feeling out of place again in church, posted by Dinah on September 16, 2008, at 8:49:48

Dinah,
I hope you find your place in a church where you feel loved and like you belong whatever the faith.

I think it's sad that any one of us has to be afraid of socializing at church/temple/mosque. I know I always was, and never revealed too much there, lest it be held against me. But lately, I'm just so over my fear of that. I get rejected plenty in the big 'ole world out there anyway, so I have decided that maybe I should just start taking the bull by the horns and be ashamed of nothing about myself when I'm at church.

I found a seemingly great one as of lately. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to socialize because we have had to split afterwards for one reason or another. If the pastor here truly attempts to personally practice his sermons than I have hit the church jackpot.

I hope you will receive peace about your situation.

 

Re: It went well!

Posted by Bird Watcher on September 23, 2008, at 12:56:22

In reply to It went well!, posted by Dinah on September 21, 2008, at 14:42:21

Just read this post - so glad all is well here for you!

 

Re:

Posted by Bird Watcher on September 23, 2008, at 13:01:49

In reply to Re:, posted by Dinah on September 20, 2008, at 10:53:42

Dinah,
You are describing me and my family socially to a T. I feel as you do.

 

Re: Bird Watcher

Posted by Dinah on September 23, 2008, at 13:24:05

In reply to Re:, posted by Bird Watcher on September 23, 2008, at 13:01:49

> Dinah,
> You are describing me and my family socially to a T. I feel as you do.

I'm very sorry to hear that. It was a difficult situation to grow up in, and it was very hard to learn social skills.


Go forward in thread:


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Faith | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, dr-bob@uchicago.edu

Script revised: October 4, 2007
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-08 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.