23 January 2008

The R and P Words

RELIGION, there, I've said it. It rivals right up there with the P word, Politics.

I'm not sure who put the shut down on discussing these 2 subjects in public--perhaps Emily Post or Miss Manners. I don't talk politics outside of my husband and offspring because it smacks of History, Civics, Social Studies and similar subjects that I didn't pay attention to in school because they were boring and I do not feel I have the intelligence to discuss such a deep subject outside of the family circle. I am a vigilant follower of CNN, MSNBC and the like and I do exercise my right and privilege to vote. So I am in the know, so to speak-I just don't verbalize. I will say that I am a "for the man" voter and not a "party voter". If I believe in what a candidate says, his ideals, his goals, etc. and feel him a worthy candidate to lead our country and he is not in the party I support, then I will break through those party lines and give him my vote. I used to feel that my vote counted...and I guess technically it does, but I would prefer the popular vote determined my future President and not the electoral college.

And the R word...I'm lucky I have any. My parents acknowledged a God, but weren't church goers, so their idea of being good parents was to send me with the neighbors to church. And when summers rolled around, I went to Vacation Bible School with my friends except the Catholic ones...I don't think Catholics participated in Vacation Bible School in the 60's and that made me sad because I ADORED the Catholic religion. My Catholic friends got the day off after Halloween, they got to pick another name(Confirmation name) so if they didn't like what their parents had named them, they could pick a third name to add to their moniker. They wore the coolest uniforms to school every day--no struggling in the mornings with the what-to-wear dilemma. One time I got to go to Mass with my friend who lived next door. I didn't have a head covering/scarf, so her mom bobbypinned a Kleenex to the top of my head. This was all, of course, in the good ole Catholic days before the Second Vatican Council took away the Latin, took away having women cover their heads and added rock music to the Mass...not to mention building their new churches WITHOUT KNEELERS! Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that hit me like a knife to the heart.

But I digress from my religious history...

After my mom died and my dad remarried his first wife(another story) she was a Baptist so we started going as a family to the Baptist Church. It.was.OK. I felt like they worried more about foreign missions than my soul. The marriage didn't last and they divorced. My senior year of high school I met a girl named Donna and she had a boyfriend named David Pat. Both attended the Methodist Church. And of course, they invited me to go. They had a youth group called MYF(Methodist Youth Fellowship) that I got involved with and for the first time in my life,, as in I understood what it was like to have God in your life and I was baptized and joined the church. Met my first husband there and was married in the same church a few years later. All 3 of my kids were infant baptized(don't DARE call it christening in the Methodist Church because it so wasn't, and John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist Church, would roll over in his grave at the mere mention of christening in the Methodist Church.) So we continued to go to the Methodist Church. When it was time for Kelli to enter school, I didn't care for the school system in our small town and decided to put her at the Catholic school. Both sides of the family as well as the good Methodists went totally DARE I put my daughter in a Catholic school...I would confuse her with their religious beliefs..and on and on and on. Kelli ended up taking piano lessons and was good enough to play the organ for the Childrens Masses at school. We were still going to the Methodist Church but I was growing more and more disillusioned as it seemed like committees had taken over the church and God was being edged out. They had a committee for EVERYTHING. It was becoming like the Hatfields and the McCoys. If you said hello to one person who was on a certain committee, you were blackballed and shunned by other people not on that particular committee.

The final straw was when they started a Childrens Church during regular worship for the kids 8 and under to attend. I let Kiereney and Michael go to it. The 2nd week of Childrens Church, Michael was brought to me during our worship service and said he could not return to Childrens Church until he knew how to read. HE WASN'T EVEN IN SCHOOL YET. Never mind that he knew all the songs, participated with gusto and was not a discipline problem. Apparently in order to worship God, you had to be a Harvard grad. The God I worshipped did not have reading requirements and said in the Bible, "Let the children come to Me."

About this same time, Kelli was graduating 8th grade from St. Mary's and I went to their Honors Mass before graduation. Kelli played for the Mass and I thoroughly enjoyed the music. When the Mass was over, she came up to me and said, "Mom, I don't feel God in the Methodist Church anymore...I want to become a Catholic!"

And I gave her my blessing.

And we nearly had to bury the entire family on both sides.

And we left the Methodist Church.

And we all convered to Catholicism.

It was Heaven on Earth for me.

God and I finally were together on Holy Ground even if the Catholic Church didn't want me to cover my head with a veil in Mass anymore.

They say, "A little child shall lead them." Had Kelli not been forthright and honest in her desire to convert, I might still be a miserable Methodist, at least in that particular church, with their committees and backstabbing and all. Didn't matter that the Methodist church had more potlucks and food gatherings than all the churches in town combined.

The Catholic Church had a lot of Italians and boy, can they cook spaghetti and meatballs on Fat Tuesday before Lent!

So today I am still a practicing Catholic. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve means the world to me. I still don't care for the new Catholic churches that have stadium seating and have done away with my kneelers like we had in Richmond, VA but the churches here are older and still use kneelers.

It's the little things that count.


Pioneering in PA said...

Glad that you finally found your calling, and were able to explore along the way.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Love this entry....

Thanks for the great comment today.

We are all hanging in there - not sure how but we are.

I am trying to listen to happy music and live in denial until this is over.

And I just ate too much provolone cheese and now I feel sick. That's all I could think to grab out of the fridge this moring.

I so suspect that I am slowly going crazy...


Catty Ax Lady said...

As a fellow adult convert, I applaud you for changing when you felt the need for change (or should I say, I applaud your daughter for being open about it!).

I'm the same way about politics too, except that I won't even discuss with family, as BBM's entire family is full of political know-it-alls (and that's said in the nicest way possible).

Debra w said...


Great story. Kind of makes me glad I was born Jewish, and just stayed that way! OY, what you went through! My best friend who I grew up with is Italian and Catholic, so I have been enjoying the magic of Italian Christmases ever since I was 12.


brneyedgal967 said...

Today is the first day I hopped on over to your blog. You are a very interesting and articulate lady!

Thanks for sharing about your religion experiences. I was shunned by the Church of Christ for divorcing my abusive husband. He and our daughter still attends. I haven't given up on God, but I have given up on organized religion. God's in my heart, he's in my life - right now I don't feel like I need a room full of people comparing Sunday attire to "get" Him.

Hope you get to feeling better soon. I've been battling a sinus/stomach virus all week and this morning I feel like it's getting the better of me. Time to hit the medicine cabinet.