Frustrated With My Beliefs - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-26-2010, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
sugarandspice697's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hello everyone!

My partner and I are struggling with our faith.

We were both raised Christians (I was raised mostly non-denominational but we did attend a Baptist Church for awhile while DP was raised strictly baptist) and I'm honestly getting sick of "organized religions". I just feel like we're bound by rules, regulations and traditions that nobody questions and when someone does, they go unanswered. We just recently found out about the true orgins of popular Christmas traditions in 2009 and NONE of them were rooted in anicient Christianity. However, when I brought it up to my Pastor, he dismissed the facts and called it a "fun" holiday that the whole family should enjoy.

I guess basically what I'm trying to say is that although we DEFINITELY believe in the Bible, Christ and his message, we're starting to drift away from our church because of our differences in what we believe. Has anyone else felt this way before? If so, what did you do to find meaning in your spiritual walk that goes beyond traditions?
sugarandspice697 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-26-2010, 06:47 AM
 
Smokering's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,315
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Do you feel Christians should not "do" Christmas traditions because they were adapted/stolen from other religious festivals? If so, there are plenty of fairly "organised" Christians who believe likewise. (Personally I side with your pastor - I don't think it matters where the customs originated if they are done in good faith with the intent of honouring Christ - but there are several non-Christmas-celebrating mamas on MDC.) In fact, I'd say for any tradition or point of theology, there will be several very different opinions - you just might not find them all in the same denomination. Perhaps you just need to find one in which you fit? In general I'd say the more "organised"/hierarchical denominations, particularly those which emphasise tradition or Tradition, are less open to questioning the status quo; but maintaining traditions unthinkingly is an attribute of humans in general, Christian or otherwise, so it will crop up to some extent in any church and probably in any religion.

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

Smokering is online now  
Old 01-26-2010, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
sugarandspice697's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Do you feel Christians should not "do" Christmas traditions because they were adapted/stolen from other religious festivals?...
No not at all. That was just one of my examples of how its "taboo" in the Churches we attend to express or discover different beliefs and still be considered Christians. I just feel like that the Churches we attend are filled with people who are "religious" but not "spiritual" (does that make sense?). It appears that the pastor says "jump" and everyone in the congregation says "how high?" without ever researching the truth.

Get what I'm saying?
sugarandspice697 is offline  
Old 01-26-2010, 07:58 AM
 
genifer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: In a land, far far away...
Posts: 1,185
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sugarandspice, I dont have a lot of time right now, but wanted to say that it was good and refreshing to hear that while you are questioning your religious stances you arent willing to leave Jesus! That happens so much, that people throw out the baby with the bath water as far as that goes.

subbing anyway... we're all on a journey here...

hugs!!
genifer is offline  
Old 01-26-2010, 08:39 AM
 
Smokering's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,315
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Yes, that makes sense. That doesn't sound like a healthy dynamic in a church. The best sermons I've heard have involved the pastor mentioning several differing interpretations of a passage, acknowledging ambiguities or controversies, and encouraging people to read books on the subject and learn more for themselves. It's a good sign if the pastor says things like "I'm happy to be proven wrong" or "Don't take my word for it, look it up". Unfortunately, pastors and churches like that are few and far between.

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

Smokering is online now  
Old 01-26-2010, 01:41 PM
 
umsami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Capital City
Posts: 9,943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It sounds like you just need to find a church that is a better fit for you and your DP.

I don't know if it would help, but you could try the Belief-o-Matic and see if a particular denomination comes up. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainme...iefOMatic.aspx

These days, you can often see/listen to a sample sermon online--which can make things a bit easier. Or at least peruse the website of some churches near you and see what they believe... what the pastor's message is like...etc.

There are also various movements within Christianity which may appeal to you... such as "red letter Christians" (try to follow Jesus's own words in The Bible--written in red in some editions.)

Good luck

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

umsami is offline  
Old 01-26-2010, 06:06 PM
 
cappuccinosmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SW Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,447
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you're not encouraged to think, or not allowed to differ on minor issues (Santa vs. no Santa would be minor, IMO, while salvation matters would be major), then you simply need to find a different church.

Christianity has a long history of producing great thinkers, both in theological and secular arenas. A church that does not permit it's members to work through their own beliefs and study the Scripture is a church that is very unhealthy.

I do think it's rather funny that many people are in your exact same situation for exactly opposite reasons. While we eschew many cultural trappings of the holidays, we find nothing pagan about celebrating the birth of our Savior and his resurrection on commonly accepted dates, though we know we don't have the exact dates, and even exchanging a few gifts. For that reason we would be heartily rejected by certain churches.

Our beliefs do set us apart from most American Christians. However, instead of going on a long quest to find the perfect like-minded church, we settle where we feel God leading us and fellowship with other Christians even if we don't have an all-points theological match. While it's tough not fitting in, it's also kind of neat to have good friendships and enjoy fellowship with folks all across the denominational landscape.
cappuccinosmom is offline  
Old 01-27-2010, 12:32 AM
 
MamaVolpe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,310
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know your frustration. In the churchs I attended growing up the WORD was taught but nothing was given to explain the whys and hows of it or why that WORD was the real word vs other possibilities. It wasn't until I started studying the history of the Christian church and the history of the Bible that I started to understand the whys and hows of everything. One good place to start is the book Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman. It tells of how the bible came to be what it currently is today and the history of how it got made. I tended to take the WORD a lot less literaly after reading that book. You may also want to try a Unitarian Universalist Church, they are open to all religons not just non denominational Christian and incorporates many different views. It may help you find what you are looking for or maybe what direction to go looking. Good Luck!

Livin' surf.gif Laughin' lol.gif Lovin' joy.gif - Just Me and Sammers, my homebirthin' little girl. 

MamaVolpe is offline  
Old 01-27-2010, 01:09 AM
 
philomom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 9,263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaVolpe View Post
I know your frustration. In the churchs I attended growing up the WORD was taught but nothing was given to explain the whys and hows of it or why that WORD was the real word vs other possibilities. It wasn't until I started studying the history of the Christian churchand the history of the Bible that I started to understand the whys and hows of everything. One good place to start is the book Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman. It tells of how the bible came to be what it currently is today and the history of how it got made. I tended to take the WORD a lot less literaly after reading that book. You may also want to try a Unitarian Universalist Church, they are open to all religons not just non denominational Christian and incorporates many different views. It may help you find what you are looking for or maybe what direction to go looking. Good Luck!
I just read this book. It was shocking to say the least! Should be required reading for anyone who is part of the flock.
philomom is offline  
Old 01-27-2010, 08:16 PM
 
Adele_Mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,598
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Some Christian denominations encourage questioning more than others. You want a church that describes itself as liberal (this does not necessarily mean politically liberal) or progressive. United Church of Christ (or formerly Congregational churches) and Episcopal churches are two I've heard good things about. If you are currently attending a Southern Baptist church and you agree with most of the Baptist theology and just want a church that is more liberal and more open to individuals questioning I would suggest you try an American Baptist church.

Unitarian Universalists, which a PP mentioned, and which I am myself, are definitely open to questioning and supporting each individual's own spiritual path. However, while there are some UU Christians, most UU churches are not overtly Christian and honestly I don't think you'd be happy there.

Good luck in your search!

Adele geek.gif, Mommy to Adelia hearts.gif7/31/2000, wife to Rod fuzmalesling.gif, and co-owner of Max dog2.gif
 
 
Adele_Mommy is offline  
Old 01-28-2010, 01:02 PM
JMJ
 
JMJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,278
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A PP mentioned that you may be less happy in a more organized/heirarchical church because of less room for searching out your own beliefs, and from my own experience being Catholic, I would say that's only partly true. There are defined beliefs in many areas, but in a lot of areas, there is actually a range of accepted belief, such as how and when God created the world and how to celebrate Christmas (besides going to mass).

I have also found that honest questioning is quite welcome, and that the answers are based on scripture, history, and our God-given reason. They are not just one pastor's interpretation of scripture. When I have asked questions, I have never been encouraged to blindly accept the status quo. I have been encouraged to seek greater understanding, and I have found it and increased my faith. There's even an entire organization out there called "Catholic Answers" designed so that people can bring their questions.

I know it seems really counter-intuitive since everyone "knows" that the Catholic Church is so strict and just pontificates beliefs and expects blind acceptance. Scott Hann, whose research into history and faith brought him from a Protestant church to the Catholic church, talks about how when he started looking into some of his questions, he didn't know what the answers were, but he just "knew" that the Catholic Church had it all wrong. This was based on a lot of the misconceptions he had about the Catholic Church. I would just say that if you've got questions that need answering, don't rule out that the Catholic Church might have the answers that you are looking for based on prejudices that may or may not be true.
JMJ is offline  
Old 01-30-2010, 03:41 PM
 
sellendie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 182
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We attend a Unity church (not Unitarian), and it has been a great solution for us after we went through a long period of belief evaluation. It is a Christian church, but focuses more on the example of Christ's life as what we should strive to be, rather than there being a huge focus on church tradition. It doesn't really have that organized religion feel, which is what brought DH and I there after being raised Presbyterian and Baptist, respectively.
sellendie is offline  
Old 01-30-2010, 03:56 PM
 
javilu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
Posts: 1,763
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Sellende, can you talk a bit more about the Unity church? I have been thinking about trying it out. Do they have worship music (I hope so)?

SAH dissertating mama femalesling.GIF to my sweet little boy (2/2009)
and his rainbow1284.gif baby brother (7/2011)
javilu is offline  
Old 02-02-2010, 12:23 PM
 
sellendie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 182
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Puffnstuff - They definitely do worship music, often very upbeat and celebratory. A lot of churches will mix in some inspirational secular music. We have an especially outstanding music ensemble at our church, and last week they performed "Spirit in the Sky", which was a lot of fun. Unity churches can vary, depending on the church. Some are definitely more high energy than others. We visited 3 different unity churches before we found a good fit for us. The basic unity principles will be pretty much the same in any church though:

1. "God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere."

2. "We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good."

3. "We create our life experiences through our way of thinking."

4. "There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God."

5. "Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them."
sellendie is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off