?

Log in

No account? Create an account
On Religion, Generation X and being in the minority - Princess
maigrey
maigrey
On Religion, Generation X and being in the minority
[This is something I've been wanting to write for a while, but haven't had the time to really sit and put thoughts into words.]

I think in this day and age of recognizing every minority there could be on this green earth, we're missing one: those of my generation who are single and go to church. This goes against the social norm of being anti-christian. Being spiritual is accepted; wiccans, pagans, athiests, agnostics, and even judism is much more accepted than someone 25-32 who is single and actually decides to attend church of their own free will. And lets not even talk about should we decide to do more than just go to church on Sundays.

Before I go further, let me explain that while I'm religious, I have no urge to push my religion on to anyone. I adore my friends who are wiccan, pagans, athiests, agnostics, and jewish, and I have no urge to convert them to Christianity. That's just not who I am. Unless you're Roman Catholic, and then, as an Episcopalian, I have a duty to poke fun at that whole transubstantiation thing; but that's just in jest. But, still, my faith (and to a point, my religion) is an important part of my life, and part of who I am.

But, because I'm in this minority, I have gotten to the point where I'm uncomfortable talking about the things I'm doing in relationship to my faith with my friends. I get odd looks, the "You go to church?" questions, or even a bit of scoffing. More often than not, I'd rather make up a white lie about what I'm doing, instead of telling the truth. I rarely do, because I'm always reminded of Peter and the cock crowing, but it's not an easy thing for me to do.

This all got brought to a head for me when I decided to take a class/group offered by my church called "Education for Ministry" (EFM). This is not an education for ministry int the preast/deacon sense, but more so in the sense of being a better person, realizing where you are meant to make a difference, etc. Unfortunately, the class meets on Thursdays, which is our usual board gaming night. This meant I had to explain to many of my friends that I could no longer attend game night; I told them that I had a class, and didn't elaborate more than that. Of course, people later were curious about what class I was taking, and it's at that point where I said it was a bible study type class at church (which it is, I hadn't gone to the first class which gave me a bit more explanation on it).

But I felt sheepish, and afraid of how people would react. And I started thinking about this week, and realize that are a lot of experiences and details about my faith and thoughts in that direction that I'm hesitant to write in my journal, much less bring up as a subject of conversation with my friends. But, I found that I didn't want to have to put in cut tags to warn people away about rants about my feelings on my faith either, because that didn't feel right either. On the other hand, I really don't want to come off as preachy, or witness-y, or conversionalist, because that's not who I am, either.

And then, finally, I came to a decision: this is me. My faith, my EFM studies, my weekend works, those are all things that make things me, and you can take me or leave me, but you have to take or leave the whole me. Is it really that much different to my listening to my friends babble about computer games, programming geeky things, etc; things that are important to them, but not on my radar screen? So, I'm going to be posting those things I've held back on previously, and as usual, it's your choice to read them or not, or to keep me as a friend, or not, but I need to do this for me. I need to be more comfortable in my own faith, because it doesn't quite fit at this point. I've got the little black faith dress, but it's the wrong size; I still need to grow into it a bit more.

Current Mood: nervous nervous

24 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
(Deleted comment)
tully_monster From: tully_monster Date: September 25th, 2002 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, what do the hippies call Communion?

Swallow the leader!

(just couldn't resist)

I'm not sure I agree about the significance of divorce in Protestant origins, though. The Anabaptists, the Lutherans, and the early Unitarians all had bones to pick with the Catholics that had nothing to do with the formation of the Church of England and resulted in entirely separate schisms.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
And when I try to explain no, this is just who I am, I worry that they will think I'm being "preachy."

That is exactly what I was trying to convey. I've read journals where they do talk about their faith a lot, and I'm sometimes put off by that. I don't want to be that person. I'm fine with them being that person, but there's a very fine fine line between being you, and being someone you don't want to be.

And, hey, I'm not saying that Henry the 8th didn't have issues =). But we've gotten rid of that whole Divine Right thing in most goverments, yanno? ;)
(Deleted comment)
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
lurve you vill :) Parallel like, and all.
drmellow From: drmellow Date: September 25th, 2002 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)
*applause of encouragement*

Faith, no matter what form it takes, is a very important part of all of our lives. I hope that as you become more open with your faith, it causes more opportunity for joy than for grief. I look forward to hearing about your class as you get more involved in it.

I find it amusing in my own life to read your post at this time, because my Sunday School class is about to embark on a study of Nehemiah that is going to touch on the fact that your "spiritual" life and your "secular" life are intertwined and cannot really be separated.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. Much of my agonizing on this decision is not me being afraid of who I am, or wanting to talk about it, but I can't convey how much I don't want to come off as sounding "preachy". This comes from having read some journals where they do talk about their faith a lot, and I'm sometimes put off by that. I don't want to be that person. I'm fine with them being that person, but there's a very fine fine line between being you, and being someone you don't want to be.

[and no, I'm not referring to you on that :)]
tully_monster From: tully_monster Date: September 25th, 2002 08:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh...I can go one better...how many people of our generation can both be active at church and call themselves atheists? (Only if you're a Unitarian!)

The people who drive me craziest are the ones who don't appear to practice any sort of faith, but then act all shocked and pious when I tell them I don't believe in God. "But you can't possibly mean that! Of course there's a God!" They'd be less horrified if I told them I was a man in a woman's body and was going in for a sex-change operation next Tuesday. Trust me, in this culture it's still not easy being an atheist.

I do believe that people who claim to be committed to a particular faith need to be active in that faith. I don't believe in God, but I believe in church, if that makes any sense, because I'm a humanist, and my faith is in other people. I don't know what I'd do without my church family.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
They'd be less horrified if I told them I was a man in a woman's body and was going in for a sex-change operation next Tuesday. Trust me, in this culture it's still not easy being an atheist.

Holy cow. I used this exact same imagery when I was talking to my friend about this, except that it's more accepted to have a sex-change than to be christian. Wow.
tully_monster From: tully_monster Date: September 25th, 2002 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps it's simply that being serious about anything threatens some people. How sad and shallow.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps. My friedns, at least, aren't threatened or horrified, really. It's just out of their concept of understanding, I think. Which is not shallow, but still a bit sad.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

addendum, in order to remove my foot from my mouth

Let me fix my inaccuracies in my words here:
I do not think all my friends are sad because they do or don't have religion. I was referring to those friends who are shocked/amazed/stunned/give me grief/scoff somewhat when I mention going to church/etc. That I do those things are beyond those folks' comprehension, and that I do find a bit sad.

My apologies to any of my friends that read that and thought I meant them. Really.
From: grapesoda Date: September 25th, 2002 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you're going to say what you need to say darlin'
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, G -- It really helps hearing that.

(p.s. -- I got a letter from C (the ex HW) the other week or three. When you visited, did you manage to snag pictures of the wee one? )
iltamies From: iltamies Date: September 25th, 2002 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, this is your journal. You should post anything you want or desire here, because it is yours. If somebody doesn't like what you say, who cares? They don't have to like it, they don't have to read it, and they certainly have no right to tell you what to do or believe. You don't tell them as much. I applaud and support your decision. You go girlfriend.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I quite clarified things in this entry, or maybe they're just more clear now :) I seem to be repeating myself, but there's an important distinction between being me, and being someone I don't want to be. One of the things that makes me who I am is that I don't consider myself "preachy" about my faith. It's one of those things that just turns my stomach when I'm thinking about it, if that makes sense.

So while it is my journal, it's also very important to me that I'm not smacking people in the face with my faith. That's where a good portion of the struggle came about, too: I've read journals where people do talk a good deal about their faith, and sometimes it ... puts me off.

On the other hand, it's much easier to ignore things online than it is in person, which makes the "minority case" so much harder when it's work, or friends or such.

Yanno?
yesthatjill From: yesthatjill Date: September 25th, 2002 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
This is your journal, and being a Christian is what you are. Good on you for taking a stand, and I hope that you make new friends in your studies as well as expanding your spirituality.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 12:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the things I don't think I did a good job of conveying is that I don't want to come off as preachy, and that's desperately important to me. I've read journals where they do talk about their faith a lot, and I'm sometimes put off by that (obviously these are not people on my friends list). I don't want to be that person. I'm fine with them being that person, but there's a very fine fine line between being you, and being someone you don't want to be.

And that's where my decision to talk about things online was hard, too. I need to realize that I am me, and I won't come off as preachy because there are so many other things I write about that make me who I am as well. My faith isn't everything.
dslartoo From: dslartoo Date: September 25th, 2002 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Things must be a lot more relaxed in Illinois than they are here in Georgia. As I'm buried in the Bible Belt, I catch hell routinely about being an atheist. Not that I care; my attitude toward religion has always been "do what you want with you and yours, just leave me and mine alone." Religious people of one stripe or another are definitely more common than atheists, pagans, or anybody that doesn't typically worship in a church.

That said, I have to second (third? fourth?) everybody else who says, "it's your journal, do what you want here." Your soapbox, your words. If somebody doesn't feel like reading it, it's their right to go elsewhere.

Finally, I'm glad you've got something spiritual to believe in. Sometimes I wish I did.

cheers,
Phil
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Things must be a lot more relaxed in Illinois than they are here in Georgia

Well, there is the bible belt thing. I've also lived it either the suburbs of chicago, which are the more liberal demoracts, or around the university of illinois in champaign, which is more liberal because of it's educational tendancies than the rest of the republican state of illinois. :)

As to the it's my journal portion, I direct you to some of my previous replies about that (above). It's not exactly that I care what people think.

I'm glad you've got something spiritual to believe in.

I am, too. This comment brings up the memory of the time when an acquaintance of mine told me he could never date a Christian. In response to my inquiry as to why, he said that he could never date someone who goes to church that does not believe they've been in the presence of God, and if they did believe that, he couldn't date her because he'd never had that feeling himself.

I'm not comparing him to you, mind you, it's just a memory that came up. In any case, it's an interesting argument.
swoobysnacks From: swoobysnacks Date: September 25th, 2002 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I understand this (almost) completely -- the one difference being that I'm not single. I have had a few serious questions from people asking about Christian faith, and my experience with it, and I give them my straight dope. I tell people that I'm a born-again Christian. They generally don't know what's going to happen next -- I think they expect me to transmogrify into a big-tent preacher, but that doesn't happen. :)

Being Christian is _not_ popular in my workplace. When I told one of my co-workers that I was a Christian, he told me that I seemed otherwise intelligent. But I just try to live my witness. I think the most important facet of that is for me to be the same person always: not have a "church" me and a "work" me. I think that's a challenge for _most_ us.

We have Christian and non-Christian friends. We love them all. The ones who love us back realize that our faith and our relationships with Jesus are defining properties. We have a number of non-Christian friends who accept this about us. We also have known some people who were very anti-Christian and couldn't accept us as is.

I think that we've probably fallen off the a-list of a few circles of people because of our faith, but we have to be who we are. :)

This turned out kinda rambly and with a punchline. Sorry.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

You cannot compare to my rambles! I am the queen of rambles!

But seriously, I agree with you totally; that's the problem I'm really having is that I do seem to have a "work" me and a "church" me. But on the other hand, I'm not so sure I want those two totally integrated. It's hard to explain what I mean by that though.

But thank you for your perspective; it's very similar to mine.
From: monkeyskirt Date: September 25th, 2002 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
congrats. i want to applaude for writing about things about thing you really care about. More people should do that. There nothing wrong with having be Christian and be proud of it. Don't let people's judgements stop you being who are. & you don't come as preachy to me.


As far i'm concerned i don't know what i feel religion. I belive i have faith but organised religion scares me. Maybe it's grow up in house where religion was a tabou word. Where religion equals being brainwashed and it was qualified as dumb. It mainly because my parents grew up with the communism system in their blood. and that's how the communists said things were and there was no discussion. and even my parents hated it. Religion was something we didnt talk about. That recently changed with my brother taking religion classes instead of Civic Ed. in second grade ( mainly because of his best friend). Religion, faith, & Spirituality are difficult things to talk to me. but you don¸t come as preachy. & i like what you wrote.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for writing this. I don't know what this innate fear/need/worry to not come off as "preachy" comes from, but it's definitely there that I get woozy in my stomach when I think about it.

But I'm always willing to talk about what I believe and what I feel if asked about it. It's lead to some very surprising and revealing points.

And I think we all do have faith; it's just a matter of what we have faith in -- some people have faith that there isn't a higher power, some have faith in a nebulous concept, and some faith in a more concrete concept. It's all a matter of discovering where you lie on that timeline o' higher power belief :)

In any case, you're welcome to IM me if you have more questions or such =)
glamourtrash From: glamourtrash Date: September 25th, 2002 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love you! Be who you are girl!
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 25th, 2002 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Woo! I have a fan boy already! :)
24 comments or Leave a comment