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Prayer before Meals and Manners - Page 3

post #41 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by blizzard_babe View Post
I guess I'd just be weirded out and wondering why my opinion on the matter wasn't taken into consideration in my own home. DH probably would be, too. On issues of social grace, he more often than not looks to me.
yeah most of the time thought the couples have some sorta agreement before hand. So it isn't a matter of your opinion not mattering because regardless of who is asked they are in agreement of how the situation is going to be handled. So it shouldn't matter if we ask the hubby alone or the wife alone. The only time it would matter, I guess, is if they are not in agreement of how the situation would be handled. If that's the case then they have more issues then just saying a prayer before meal. KWIM.
post #42 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by pants View Post
yeah most of the time thought the couples have some sorta agreement before hand. So it isn't a matter of your opinion not mattering because regardless of who is asked they are in agreement of how the situation is going to be handled. So it shouldn't matter if we ask the hubby alone or the wife alone. The only time it would matter, I guess, is if they are not in agreement of how the situation would be handled. If that's the case then they have more issues then just saying a prayer before meal. KWIM.
OH! I see where the confusion lies. DH and I are in agreement as to what *we* do when it comes to prayer (we're not really the praying types), but just differ on whether we feel comfortable praying when others do. Me, I'm fine with it. He's not.

Not that we don't agree on whether we should be praying in general.
post #43 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by blizzard_babe View Post
OH! I see where the confusion lies. DH an47d I are in agreement as to what *we* do when it comes to prayer (we're not really the praying types), but just differ on whether we feel comfortable praying when others do. Me, I'm fine with it. He's not.

Not that we don't agree on whether we should be praying in general.
maybe a good convo about what should happen if the situation would occur with your family. Hey one more thing to learn about each other right I would just hate to be stuck in the moment and feel uh i'm not sure what to do or want to offend anyone.
post #44 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by pants View Post
maybe a good convo about what should happen if the situation would occur with your family. Hey one more thing to learn about each other right I would just hate to be stuck in the moment and feel uh i'm not sure what to do or want to offend anyone.
True true.

Not that we need another thing to argue about. We're both very... um... passionate, opinionated people. Thankfully, we agree most of the time.
post #45 of 62
If I'm at my home and someone would like to pray (or randomly begins praying), I continue eating my meal and allow them to go about their business. I am an atheist but I don't care if someone prays in my home. I will not participate however in any way, shape, or form.

If I am at someone else's house and someone begins praying or announces that they will be praying, I generally will leave the room. I will not participate. When they are finished, I return to the room and consume my meal.
post #46 of 62
I'm old fashioned and I believe that when you have an invited guest in your home, the host is obliged to make the guest feel 'at home'.
If one is not prepared to facilitate a guest's customs or beliefs they should not be invited.
Yes, it can be awkward and uncomfortable at times but hospitality requires us to struggle through.
post #47 of 62
We say grace before every meal, but I would not grab hands and ask to say grace in someone house if I did not believe that they had the same beliefs that I do. When we are in someone's house that I do not know well, or someone who does not share our beliefs, we say grace quietly as a family while everyone else is serving themselves.

Is it possible the people thought you would be OK with it? If it was me, I would just let the person know that it made you uncomfortable the next time you talk to them. If the situation was reversed, that is what I would want.
post #48 of 62
My parents pray before meals, it makes me feel a bit funny (i do lower my head in respect) because mostly I don't agree with their theology even though I would fall under the christian label. however they would not participate in grace at my house. . We do Grease (grace) at our house. we all hold hands and go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for that day. My daughter (5) loves this ritual and will demand it wherever we are, even at others homes. I usually tell people what it is that we're doing. I feel uncomfortable explaining it to others because I feel like Im imposing however its something thats VERY special to the kids.
post #49 of 62
We say blessings before meals here. It hasn't come up at anyone else's house yet as it's fairly new for us. But our blessing is also very neutral-to the Earth and we don't hold hands (though it'd be nice). I wouldn't be offended if someone prayed at my house unless they insisted we do, too.
post #50 of 62
When we are in our own home we say a prayer, regardless of who is eating with us. If it is someone we to be uncomfortable with prayer we try to do it when they are in the bathroom, or quietly when they are in the kitchen or something. I would never lead a prayer in someone else's home, unless I was asked. I would however pray silently to myself. I can understand that it might make you uncomfortable to look up mid-sentence to see your friend in a quick prayer, but I think it would make you both more uncomfortable if she explained that she was about to do it, and then proceeded.
post #51 of 62
Quote:
If I'm at my home and someone would like to pray (or randomly begins praying), I continue eating my meal and allow them to go about their business. I am an atheist but I don't care if someone prays in my home. I will not participate however in any way, shape, or form.

If I am at someone else's house and someone begins praying or announces that they will be praying, I generally will leave the room. I will not participate. When they are finished, I return to the room and consume my meal.
That seems kinda backwards to me. Wouldn't you be more annoyed about people bringing their religion into your home, rather than practicing it in their own? Kind of a "my house my rules, your house your rules" sort of thing?

I don't think I'd stop anyone from praying/giving blessings/whatever in my house or theirs, out of politeness, but I'd definitely feel odder about them giving a pagan blessing or singing a prayer to Mary or whatever in my home. In their home, I'd be more likely to view it as their day-to-day practice, or less threatening, or... something. I dunno. It hasn't been a huge issue in my life thus far, I admit.
post #52 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
I'm old fashioned and I believe that when you have an invited guest in your home, the host is obliged to make the guest feel 'at home'.
If one is not prepared to facilitate a guest's customs or beliefs they should not be invited.
Yes, it can be awkward and uncomfortable at times but hospitality requires us to struggle through.
I don't understand this. I mean, I understand doing what I can to help a guest feel comfortable. But facilitating religious customs of a religion that I'm not part of makes no sense. And if I were eating at someone else's house, and I knew that they did not share my beliefs and yet they attempted to lead a ritual from my religion... well that would seem kind of inappropriate to me.

Furthermore, I think it would be more confusing for children involved to witness their parent doing something contrary to their beliefs simply for the sake of pleasing someone else than it would for a child to witness a ritual from a different religion practiced by someone else in their own house. I mean the parent can always explain, "our guest is xyz religion. This is part of their practice and what they believe. Here is how it is similar to and different from what we believe." But if a child asks, "mommy why did you do that? We haven't ever done that before." And mom replies with "well, I don't believe in that, but they do, and I want to make them feel comfortable." I think that would be an inappropriate lesson for the child.
post #53 of 62
OT: Where did the hand-holding thing popularity come from? Growing up I *never* saw it (Catholic) and now it's *everywhere*!! Even at Mass when originally the only sanctioned touching was the sign of peace, now stangers expect to hold my hand during the Lord's Prayer. It's off-putting and I don't like it /rant
post #54 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post
I don't understand this. I mean, I understand doing what I can to help a guest feel comfortable. But facilitating religious customs of a religion that I'm not part of makes no sense. And if I were eating at someone else's house, and I knew that they did not share my beliefs and yet they attempted to lead a ritual from my religion... well that would seem kind of inappropriate to me.
I agree. I see this as beyond the scope of etiquette. These days interfaith activity is common, but there are still many religious groups who may not participate in other religious rituals or pray in common with those of other faiths. Some would consider it blasphemous or a betrayal of their faith. Hospitality does not extend that far.
post #55 of 62
Quote:
So what is appropriate? What do you do if you do pray before meals? Do you consider others who may not say before meal blessings?
I pray silently before meals and do not expect anyone to join me. I understand someone might be caught off guard if I went off into my moment of silence while they were in midsentence. It has never happened to me (afaik) but I suppose if we were really in the midst of a lively conversation I would excuse myself before taking my moment. Not that I could not, if needed, multitask and remember that only by grace do I have food while others starve, and never to take my fortune for granted, while also listening to someone else. SO far it hasn't come up.

I was once part of a community in which we held hands and had a moment of silence (maybe 1-2 minutes) before meals. If a newcomer came we would explain before hand and leave it up that person to join or not, before beginning.

I was also once part of a community in which we recited a prayer before the meal, and again a newcomer would be free to participate or not. If I felt strongly about prayer before a meal and was visiting someone else, I would probably ask before hand if it was okay and I would make sure it was brief.

And I certainly would not "forget" as did the OPs visitors, interrupting the meal-in-progress with the handgrabbing.
post #56 of 62
My kids are 2. We don't go too far into theology with them yet but we do say "Thank you Great Mother for our food" before we eat. My DS usually leaves out "Great" so he usually just says "Thank you Mother for food" basically.

We recently had some friends over lately who are not Pagan, with whom we're not really on discussing-spirituality level of friendship yet. I knew they were Christian and I'm pretty sure they knew and didn't care about our faith, I also didn't want to cause any awkward feelings or anything. So I said our blessing silently, figuring the kids would forget without me prompting them. Not so. DS says, clear as day, with bowed head and all, "Thank you Mother for great food." (I guess he was extra careful to put "great" in!) It was so funny but I was horrified that my friends would think I was teaching them to formally thank ME for "great" food before we ate.

ETA: I wouldn't mind anyone praying in our home - actually, ironically, I'd be "more" OK with many Christians praying in our home than someone coming over and doing a Pagan rite impromptu. I don't know why that is. I think it's because I believe in spiritual repercussions behind such acts as prayer - what/who you're praying to is really important. I would be OK with someone praying to "God" (i.e. the Abrahamic God) in our home because generally it's a positive energy - love, justice, that sort of thing. (I know that's a fluffy-bunny way of putting it, that God isn't all sugar cookies, but I believe God is good, period. With Paganism, depending on what deities are prayed to, the energies involved might not be all positive. I don't know if that is making much sense.

I was at a Pagan gathering last year, and when thunder rolled a few people (jokingly/seriously, I don't know) shouted out "Hail Thor!" each time. By the end almost everyone in the workshop did it, but I didn't feel comfortable joining in, because I wouldn't feel right "hailing" Thor. Nothing personal, it just wasn't my path, and I wouldn't feel right honoring/worshipping/whatever a deity with a "face" (if that makes sense). Likewise, I know my aunt often didn't join in with the rest of the extended family's Catholic prayers, and vice versa. Sometimes even withing the same major religious family (i.e. Catholics and Christians are really similar in many ways, and different branches of Paganism are sort of similar as well) there might be people who are uncomfortable praying together. For that reason I think that if you want to pray together - ask! No harm in asking. If you don't want to ask, do it privately or discreetly I guess - don't just assume everyone is going to want to join in.
post #57 of 62

I think it needs to be up to the folks who are hosting and who's home it is!!  I think it's totally rude to launch into prayer and presume the hosts will enjoy this!  My own mother does this all the time lately...just launches in while we are digging in...it's totally awkward, super annoying, and I really don't appreciate her bringing her beliefs / preaching into my home.  Which is why I ended up finding this thread...I'm just trying to figure out how to deal with it.  I'm sorry, but the words of the prayer just reflect a bunch of beliefs I find offensive and don't want my daughter exposed to.  

 

IIt's the WORST when we go to restaurants and she does it!  So embarrassing!  I guess I do really need to talk to her about it, but I know she wouldn't take too kindly to it and and I just have to choose which is worse, not saying anything, or dealing with her reaction...ugh.  I just really have wanted to avoid getting into an all-out discussion on what my spiritual beliefs are with her...which undoubtedly she'd start asking questions about.  I guess I just need to have some planned responses.  Which is hard b/c the truth is I don't have much in the way of any concrete beliefs anymore...at least writing this out is helpful and maybe I have to just get some things figured out.  

 

I guess the best way to deal with it, which I've been considering, is to do my own prayer that reflects my own values more and doesn't really address "God" per se.  It's still awkward and I wish I didn't have to do it, but that's life I suppose.  

post #58 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoxMama View Post

I'm not sure if I'm out of line with the way I'm thinking or not so I'd like to get some opinions.

We recently had some friends (a couple and their 2 year old) stay at our house for the weekend. At dinnertime one night after we had eaten a few bites of food, one friend said "oh, we forgot to say our blessings" to the 2 year old. They proceed to reach for our hands and said a short prayer.

At the end of the weekend after our friends had left, DH approached me asking how I felt about our friends leading a prayer in our home. He thought it was very presumptuous and inappropriate of them. I'll admit it made me uncomfortable at the time and now the more I think about it, it bothers me. I also realized that this happens when we have some extended family over for gatherings.

I have another friend who silently closes her eyes and says a prayer before she eats. She never gives any warning signs and often times I'm in mid-sentence when I notice that she has tuned out in prayer. Again, I'm left sitting there uncomfortable waiting for her to finish and sometimes feeling even more uncomfortable if I've already taken a bite of my food.

So what is appropriate? What do you do if you do pray before meals? Do you consider others who may not say before meal blessings? I have no issues going through the motions if I'm at someone elses house out of respect for them and their household but I'm finding myself more and more annoyed at the fact that people come into my home and assume that it is appropriate to lead a prayer without asking first.


Haven't read the whole thread.

 

I think that if you pray before meals, you should be able to do it wherever you happen to be eating. I don't think it's inappropriate at all. As for taking the hands of the others at the table it's a catch 22. If you don't include them it's exclusionary on the other hand you shouldn't force people to pray either. So I guess saying something like we are going to pray now if anyone else wants to join in? I don't think you need to ask permission of the host to pray though.

post #59 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post

 
Here is an option. can you say "grace" that contains sentiments that you do believe in? A friend of mine does this when visiting her in laws (they are Catholic, my friend is UU). She offers to say grace and then says a short "we thank the sun, the earth, the farmers and the animals" type of grace. It heads off conflict at the pass.

I do think that saying grace at someone else's table without asking is presumptuous. I would expect guests to ask, and if I were asked, I would allow it but may not join in (depends on what is being said).


If you really want to head off conflict you allow people you care about ( that is why you are sharing a meal with them isn't it ) to say their own prayer when their beliefs are so different. Your UU friend wouldn't be "heading off conflict" with me by praying to the sun. She can say her prayer, and I'll say mine since they are very different. But then I wouldn't bother to share meals with someone that thought they had the right give or refuse permission for me to thank God.

post #60 of 62
To me, this is something where a little up-front communication, and some reasonable courtesy, are called for-- from both people, the prayer-er, and the non-prayer.

In my own home, we say a prayer before dinner. We are not Christian in the same way that so many of our friends are, and our prayer is specific to our beliefs. If there are guests in my home, I briefly explain that that is what we'll be doing. Every time this has come up, ever, the guests have sat quietly and respectfully while the prayer was being said, and it's never been an issue. If somebody were to get up and leave the room briefly, that would not offend me one bit. But for them to ask me not to pray, in my own home, would offend me.

In somebody else's home, I expect to follow their customs. If I am uncomfortable with the prayer they say, or with any other religious custom, I will sit quietly and respectfully, and insist that my kids do the same. But I would never ask them not to follow their custom because it made me uncomfortable, nor would I leave the room. (Unless it was something that ethically and morally I just couldn't abide-- but none of my friends are into anything bizarre enough to offend me!)

But I think that to offer a prayer aloud, in somebody else's home, is not something I would ever do without some brief discussion beforehand. If I felt that I had to pray, and felt that I must do it out loud (for the benefit of the child, for example), then I think some basic courtesy is called for: I would say, "excuse me, Friend. Normally my family says a blessing before the meal. We'd like to do that; will you join us? No? Okay, that's fine, excuse us for a moment while we do." At that point, I would know what to expect, I would know that they understood that I wouldn't automatically be participating, and I would feel like the beliefs of my own family had been treated respectfully. I wouldn't expect them to ask permission per se-- it's not my business to decide whether they can or can't offer thanks anywhere they please. But I would expect that something be said ahead of time, out of respect for my household's different practice.

In the same way, if I was out to lunch with a friend, and wanted to pray silently, I would say a quiet, "excuse me just a minute," before doing so.
Edited by Llyra - 12/17/10 at 5:40am
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