Dual religious citizenship/membership - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-16-2008, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this possible?

I am a lapsed member of our local UU congregation. I am a pantheist, honouring the search for God in my own life any anyone else's.

However. I have found a wonderful, liberal, social-justice-oriented United Church of Canada congregation. They are Affirming, which means they've gone through a whole process of welcoming people of all sexual identities and will ordain/marry/consciousness-raise around this. The minister is a Goddess woman to me.

But it is a Christian church and I don't think I will ever be strictly Christian. Yet I love this church. I love everything about it (well, except maybe the Sunday school). I want to be part of it and in fact, I am planning to become a member.

And yet. I miss the UU church. It's a much farther bus ride away and dh already isn't interested in church, so more time away from each other on Sundays. And really, I like the United church better overall. As long as I can introduce dd to other religions as she grows up, I think I can make a Christian church work.

But today dd asked me what Judaism is and what a menorah is. Apparently a boy at her preschool is Jewish. I immediately thought that if we were attending the UU church, she would already know the answers to those questions; because the kids light the menorah even as they celebrate Christmas. Passion for religious diversity and the magnificence of all types of faith is what I want to impress on dd as she grows up.

So would it work to be part of both? Two Sundays at one and two at the other every month? Or some sort of affiliation with both? I am so torn.
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#2 of 4 Old 12-16-2008, 11:23 AM
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that sounds really hard. i don't think there's anything wrong with attending / belonging to two churches, but hopefully there is a simpler solution that will let you be in one church community "full time".

the uu church is a farther bus ride, but you want dd to go there. your dh doesn't want to go, and i'm sure you & dd want to spend time with him on the weekend, but how does he feel about the time he gets to himself while you take dd to church? if it's a productive time for him around the house or a chance to work on a hobby or something, maybe he actually likes it and doesn't mind when you guys are gone longer with the farther bus ride. is there anything else lacking about it, for you? if you haven't been there for a while, is it possible that things have improved?

otoh, it sounds like you really feel at home at the united church and found a true spiritual leader in the minister. it would be hard to walk away from that. other than the sunday school not teaching about other faiths, is there anything else that bothers you? you've already found that dd will be exposed to other faiths in real life, and you can help her learn more (even if she asks about things you don't know, you can find the answer together). i would probably choose this, if there are no other problems with this church/congregation. it sounds like they would be accepting of where you're at without trying to "save" you.

good luck!
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#3 of 4 Old 12-16-2008, 07:13 PM
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If both churches are OK with it, then it's OK. Sounds like a PITA though.
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#4 of 4 Old 12-17-2008, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. It's a weird question in a way. Maybe I'm just not ready to commit either way, but I don't think that's it. Every time I go to the United Church, I immediately have that "give me more, this is what I want, I am home" feeling.

I LOVE how the church itself is with the children. I DO NOT like the Sunday school program. I know I can help change it by volunteering to teach, which I will; but overall, I feel like it's too far away from what I want for dd. For example, on World Food Day, the minister preached an incredible call-to-action sermon. I thought, "Perfect. Dd will learn about WFD and how Jesus told us to stand in solidarity with people who were in need, or something like that. Instead, they went to a "computer lab" and played video games about Moses and did colouring. I gently asked if the Sunday school followed the church's program and the teacher said no, they have a set curriculum to teach the kids about the Bible. The thing is, I guess that's what most Christian parents want for their kids--it is Sunday school, after all. But a) I do not want dd playing computer games at age 4, anywhere; they apparently do this at least 1 week out of 5 and a "show" another week, b) it's much more important to me that dd learn about being in community and participating in the very valuable stuff the church does than learn about Bible stories I don't believe literally, anyway. It just feels like the Sunday school is locked in time back to when I was a kid; in the Church basement, away from everyone else. It does get better as the kids get older, it seems; more involvement, more outings, more sophistication in their approach.

So my solution to that is to a) teach SS myself and b) take dd to participate in the all-ages services once a month and go from there. Try to find out when the computer/TV lessons will be and keep her away on those days as much as possible. And take her to all the church dinners, pageants, etc the church does. She doesn't need to go to church every week at this age, IMO.

I do love this church and I think I am ready to commit. Dd will learn as she grows up that believing in God is action-based, because they do practice a very living faith. It's really dd's religious education in SS that concerns me and disappoints me about this church.

Today when I took her to preschool, there was a beautiful lit menorah and the teachers were explaining about Hannukah. Dd asked me if we could have Hannukah. Sigh. I want to celebrate everything.
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