Is it okay for a Non-Christian to participate in a Christian sponsored Mothers Group? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-06-2004, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I joined a Christian based mothers group called MOPS a couple of months ago but I'm not a Christian.

I joined the group because 1) I was invited, 2) it is an English speaking group and I live in Germany, and 3) I really liked the format and goals of the group as well as many of the women there.

I was never asked my religion or explicitly told that this was a Christian group but it obviously is. Religion hasn’t really come (for me) in the past 4 meetings I’ve been to but, because this meeting was before Easter, there was a heavy focus on Christianity.

We were all asked to discuss some very direct questions about our spirituality and the assumption was that we were all Christian. Anyway, I didn’t feel comfortable pretending I was Christian. I answered the questions and I got a slightly strange vibe. It wasn’t a negative experience but I am now “outed” for not being a Christian and I wonder how that will be perceived.

I’m writing because after the meeting a mother commented on how “brave” I was to speak the way I had about my opinion on spirituality and religion. She told me that she knew of a Morman woman who was told that she couldn't participate in another MOPS group. This got me worried.

Does anyone here have any experience with MOPS or a similar type situation/group? I would love to know more about what my expectations are as a non-Christian are to this group, if I am *truly* welcome and how to best show my respect for their religion without pretending I'm somethign that I'm not.


Thanks, Hannah

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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Old 04-06-2004, 12:34 PM
 
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I have experienced similar situations, given that i live in the buckle of the bible belt. Nearly every moms group here has a decidedly Christian flavor. Some are more welcoming than others.
Mostly I keep my own spirituality private and my friends (Christian or not) respect that. I am picky though, in that I don't associate with anyone who starts "witnessing" at me, as that makes me very uncomfortable.

My suggestion is to ask these same questions of the lady who spoke to you afterwards, and feel her out for the answers. Don't pretend to be something you are not. If they can't accept you for who you are, you don't need them.
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:38 PM
 
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I would hope so, especially as I have been this school year. But mine isn't a MOPS group. It's moms from the church that runs DD's preschool. I've been open about not being Christian, though not with specifics beyond our membership in UU. They've been welcoming and listened to my perspective. I've found that we mostly have the same values, just different why's for those values, different mythologies to support our worldviews...

It helped that the first book we discussed in the Fall was very non-sectarian in application. That's what drew me in; plus, I already had the book, but hadn't read it yet. Discussing The Purpose Driven Life has been more of a challenge. I agree with the first sentence of most chapters, but after that, his reasoning is tripe.

"What will you do once you know?"
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Old 04-06-2004, 08:07 PM
 
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Hi everyone. I am in a similar situation in that I'm taking my 10 month DS to a Moms and Tots group and a bible study group. I am not Christian (not baptised in any faith) per se but I am interested in learning about different faiths right now. I haven't even been asked about my spirituality and I think it's assumed I am Christian! I'm taking this group one week at a time and just weighing how good it is for my son (very very good - he has a lot of social interaction with other children ) and how uncomfortable I feel. I have enjoyed the sessions so far but I'm starting to feel a little weary as (Meiri, you may grimace! ) the group will soon start a 6 week study of "The Purpose Driven Life". At first, I was excited because I thought it would be a chance for objective, intellectual discussion but once I did a bit of research, I started to realize this group study would likely NOT be discussion at all.

For now, I'm just going to the group and when I start to think, "you know what, I'm getting NOTHING from this ..." I will leave.

Hannah - I'm not obviously in the dilemma you are but I am also finding it hard to find ANY groups at all in my area for moms and babies/children. My DH said I should start my own! Maybe you could, if this doesn't work out, try to find like-minded English speaking moms? I can guess that wouldn't be too easy though?
Good luck whatever you decide!
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Old 04-06-2004, 08:57 PM
 
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He has good points Tuesday. It's just that he writes as if Christians are the ONLY ones who have such positive, generous, caring, loving, ethical, moral standards. To read him you'd think they invented lofty generosity and caring for each other.:

Even one of the moms who goes to that church doesn't like the book.:LOL

derail over, back to your seats

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Old 04-06-2004, 10:54 PM
 
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Oh! Well, that's good to hear (that author makes good points). Well, that's good to know. It should make for an interesting study group! Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2004, 09:49 AM
 
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The Christian aspect is why I chose MOMS over MOPS. I'm not interested in a parenting group that espouses one religious viewpoint. Our MOMS group has Jewish and Muslim moms, not just Christians, and I'm willing to bet I am not the only MOMS member who doesn't subscribe to a major religion, we just don't chatter about it.
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Old 04-07-2004, 08:01 PM
 
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Id crisis MAMA
Hi-I had a similar experience as you in a MOPS group. Was "outed" and then got a strange vibe. I try to be open minded and didn't want to just quit the group--I liked a lot of their philosophy and the idea of doing crafts and hearing motivational speakers with other moms sounded good. But then it somehow turned into a book study of the PDL book that is all the rage and I wasn't getting much out of the discussion and my dd was struggling with being left in childcare so it was no longer worth it for us. I didn't make a connection with anyone there so what was keeping me? BUT...I have other groups and other friends. I guess in your situation that may not be true. I always think...if I make 1 good connection it's worth it to stick with a group and that may still ahppen for you, even if you don't click with the group as a whole. Maybe the mom who commented that you were "brave"?? I know that has happened for me before. Good luck--you will find your "pepole" eventually.
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Old 04-21-2004, 03:55 AM
 
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I am a Christian, and suggest that you continue to go, just be honest with the others letting them know that you're not Christian, but are still interested in attending. They should welcome you with open arms; Jesus would!! If for some reason they don't welcome you, don't hold it against Us (Christians in general)- LOL No one's perfect, maybe they haven't mastered the art of living like Christ....I know I haven't!! Here's to hoping you are accepted for who you are, with love. God bless!

JAMIE


Loving wife. Mama to five crazy kids. Follower of Jesus. Doula & Childbirth Educator.

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Old 04-21-2004, 12:37 PM
 
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So how's it gone since then?
or has there not been a meeting yet?

"What will you do once you know?"
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Old 04-21-2004, 12:40 PM
 
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I am a Catholic and was also very uncomfortable with MOPS, which, at least here, is a decidedly protestant organization. Try Moms Club

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:01 AM
 
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The MOPS in my area are very Christian and at least one person has been asked to leave a local group due to a "difference of focus. " I think however, that the groups may all run a bit differently.

I would keep going. Perhaps, there was a weird vibe because the members assumed you were a Christian and wanted to be sure you still felt included in the group so they subconsciously worked harder to include you?

I am a Christian and feel uncomfortable with the MOPS mom's in my area so if you feel odd it may not be just because you don't have the same spiritual views.
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:57 AM
 
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I'm stupid cause I didn't know that MOPS was a "christian" thing...

I'd keep going. Our church has a play group (that I started) and has no specific agenda when it comes to discussion. Anyone is invited and there is no pressure to do anything, which I kinda like. It is free and we try to only do things that cost 0 dollars.

(of course you have to look past all the Ezzo followers which can be VERY hard to do!...did I mention I want to leave that place!!)

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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Old 04-22-2004, 03:21 AM
 
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MOPS is a Christian organization. i don't know why you wouldn't be welcomed though. They really do try to be an outreach to all moms. The only reason I can think of someone being asked not to come back is if they weren't resepctful of Chriistian beliefs and such For example if they did happen to focus on something spiritual and someone went on about Christianity being a bunch of crap, or someone came in swearing and such. I have only been to one mops meeting but continued getting thier magazine (which I really liked). At the church i was going to to it was really upity and over planned. I also thought there was a really heavy emphasize on how great it was to get away from your kids. Like it was the focus of the whole meeting. And it was expensive. they met once a month for about 8 months and the fee was $70 Insane. I had a scholarship but it still felt weird ya know. It just made it all the more evident that I wasn't part of that society.

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Old 04-22-2004, 03:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lilyka
I also thought there was a really heavy emphasize on how great it was to get away from your kids. Like it was the focus of the whole meeting.
The one in our area is the same.

Our church wants to start a Moms Day Out program..where you drop off your kids for about 3 hours and run errands No Thanks!

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by its_our_family
Our church wants to start a Moms Day Out program..where you drop off your kids for about 3 hours and run errands No Thanks!
Those things scare me. You never know what kind of people are going to volunteer to keep the kids.
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:14 PM
 
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Wow, I'm sorry you experienced such an "un-Christian" response to your honest answer to your beliefs. This isolationist/holier-than-thou kind of Christianity really irritates me as it goes againest everything that Christ taught, but seems to have become the popular way for believers to treat those with beliefs that differ from their own.

Our church has a MOPs group which I have not participated in, but I did look into it and found that the National org. states it purpose as an outreach to mothers in the community regardless of their religious beliefs. If there are MOPs groups out there that are rejecting mothers, or making them feel unwelcomed, because of their religious (or non-religious) beliefs, then they are not following the guidelines laid out by the parent org.
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Old 04-23-2004, 12:33 AM
 
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I don't know any christian that would deny a non-christian.We are suppose to be non-judgemental and very inviting people to all people regardless of what they believe!! IMO. By denying you is not doing what god asks of us.IMO

Steff
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Old 04-23-2004, 02:10 AM
 
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aahhh, I could really go for a moms day out program. I have even hosted them with out youth group in my home before. And our youth group did one wen I was a child. it was great fun for the little klids and for us. But I go to a small church and still wouldn't leave my child with someone I didn't know. but danf, at this point in my life 3 hours would be heavenly.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 04-24-2004, 12:51 AM
 
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Hi...I am in a MOPS group and serve on the steering committee..even though it is a Christian based group, no one is denied nor should be because of their religion or what have you...We have never rejected or condemned anyone because they were not a Christian and I don't think they are supposed to be doing that...There is a MOPS website, I don't know the web address right off hand but if you are interested I could get it for you and maybe you could let someone in authority know and maybe someone could speak to your MOPS leader..
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Old 06-22-2004, 04:16 PM
 
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I also joined a mothers group which is christian, but not formally. I was very involved and dedicated many hours to the cause. I ,too, was ousted for not being christian. Well, actually, they didn't kick me out. But was told by this one person in particular that she did not ever want to hear from me again. She won't even look at me when I see her at the grocery store. Personally, being a native woman I could never willingly be christian knowing what christianity did to my people. It's been a long hard road for me to accept that true christians are good people. In the end, I was happy to be rid of that one person(she was not a true christians by her own definition) but sad over the loss of the group. Good luck.
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