Sunday, April 12, 2009

Losing my Religion

Sure they are song lyrics, but they are applicable. Throughout my life I have been to different churches and have experienced different avenues of faith, even worship. I am a Christian, that much is for sure. What perplexes me, though, is where I fit into the spectrum of religion.
I was baptized Catholic at a very young age. I believe I was months old. Growing up, we were Catholics. We attended Mass with my grandmother mostly, with most of the family together. My mom, her brother and sisters, etc. When my first daughter was born, she was baptized under that religion as well. I made my first communion in second grade, as the story goes. I did not, however, go through confirmation with my peers as a high schooler. Instead, as an adult, I went through the process after returning back to college with two kids. Finally, after college and at my first teaching job, which was at a Catholic school, I became a Eucharistic Minister. (basically means I served communion to church members during mass) All of my daughters were baptized Catholic.
I got divorced while working at this school and was given the Book. I was told I could not take communion any longer, was fired from my job (for being a "bad influence" on the students because I was divorced), and could no longer be a Eucharistic minister. I was, what it felt like, ex-communicated from the Catholic religion.
I moved on to becoming a Methodist. I felt welcomed, worthy, and respected. Sometimes I would have feelings of wanting to attend mass, but would then revert back to the condemnation and anger I felt. This past Christmas, for the first time in many, many years, I attended a Catholic Midnight Mass. Being in God's house felt good, but there was just something missing. I took communion, though I had been advised against it. I have never returned.
Today, for the first time since that Christmas mass, I attended church. I thought I would try something different. There is a very active church here where I live. I debated on going to a mass, even though I didn't really feel I would get much out of it. I decided against it and attended this church where many people go and speak of. One issue, I felt a bit uncomfortable because it is a Baptist church. I have attended a Baptist church before with friends while growing up. I have never attended as a church seeker, though - an adult trying to find her church home, trying to find just where she fits.
I was impressed once I let go of the jitters, the judgment, the control. Sure, the service itself was different than what I am used to, but that's not entirely a bad thing. The message was good, the atmosphere was inviting, the church was gorgeous, and the people were nice. It felt good to be where people seemed to get something out of the service, something to take away and use to live well.
This leaves me, as so many times in my life have, questioning some things. Why do we label our religious ties? Do we need to? Are they interchangable at different times in our lives? Should it matter which denomination we affiliate with as long as we are believers? Why do I feel I should remain Catholic when I have been treated so harshly and when I don't get the same feeling from a mass that I do with other services?
Sometimes, in situations like these, I feel like a lost teenager searching for her identity all over again. I don't like that feeling. It scares me.
I am thankful, on this Easter, that I went to church today and that I was able to feel the spirit of the church I attended. Am I Baptist? Catholic? Methodist? or nothing? I don't know. I'm just a believer I guess. There could be worse things. . .

1 comment:

Hit 40 said...

Church is a toughie for me too. I got very sick a couple years ago. Something had to give... it was not going to be my kids or my great health insurance. The sick can not quit or retire. So, I cut back on Sunday church. It is a chore taking 2 boys on a Sunday morning. I have tried finding a place to go during the evenings. But, folks just seem to like to get up early Sunday to worship.

I kind of wanted to go today. But, we had a drive to get to my mother in laws.

Does it say in the bible that I am suppose to go every Sunday???

I definitely believe. And, I talk to my boys about God. He is there with me every day.

My mother in law paid the catholic church a large sum of $$$ because of a divorce. She wanted to be able to take and to give communion. I just don't understand paying $$$ to be forgiven?

So for this and other reasons - I have had a hard time with organized religion. I just try to be my best everyday as best I can.

My friend does not like this when I say it.... but the God I believe in is ok with wherever you go to church. Just believe!