|Rev Kathryn, Rev Steve, & Rev Lex|
The doubt began many many years ago when I was in church and heard the message that if you are one of God’s special children that He will heal you. Being a young kid with a significant hearing loss, I believed that He would heal me. When I didn’t win the Jesus Miracle lottery, I grew to despise and distrust the message coming from the pulpit. Fortunately over the last thirty years, I haven’t stewed in negativity. Life was still going to happen and so I simply went and did. Along the way, wisdom and rationale, good family and friends have helped me to gain a positive perspective and I’ve been able to accept the why me’s and wherewithals of being hearing challenged. Yes, I do believe God had a major part in the goodness. And yet, the sting of not feeling “good enough to be healed” still lingered.
Anyways, it was all sort of “back burner” thoughts and my involvement in the church was minimal to say the least. I never really felt that pure trust in the Christian message again and most of my personal experiences with folks of the faith have left me with a sour aftertaste. Bill and I were invited by Reid and Melissa (future godparents) to attend a service at St. Thomas Episcopal church and with silent trepidation I went. The church itself was a simple brownstone with stained glass windows located next to a park. Inside, most people were well dressed and a few in jeans. I liked this because I believe higher respect should be paid to a higher power, and clothing is one way to express this sentiment. Not that God cares, but it’s a simple way to pay homage. After the service, I began to learn more about the Episcopal interpretation of Christianity and found myself right where my sentiments lay. No alter calls “Come and be healed”, inclusion policies, and the sermons were uplifting and balanced by discussing both sides of a topic. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to church, but I don’t remember any sermon being so honest.
|Bill and I w/ Melissa & Reid (godparents)|
I began thinking about whether or not I wanted to be involved again – whether or not I would want any of our kids to be a part of a franchise that left me so disenchanted. Life happened, as it always does and Bill and I married, went on an amazing honeymoon and soon I was pregnant. We went to a few more services and always I left the church with a positive feeling. In the sermon, Father Steve stated the doubts I had in the back of my mind and addressed them without glossing over, understating, or devaluing the questions. I was duly impressed. Slowly the darkness I felt about Christianity was beginning to lift.
After Annabelle was born, I sent Father Steve an email that we would like to be included in the next baptism, he asked to meet with us and “get to know us” since we were not members of the church. We both explained our past a bit and I shared mine as well (yes all of it). With this, he shared that this church welcomes our questions and welcomes our doubts and explained the Episcopal approach. The more we delved in with questions and Father Steve replied with realistic answers, the more we were comfortable with the church being a part of our lives. On the drive home, we were both happy to find a place that didn’t expect us to forget about evolution or exclude us because we asked too many questions.
|The Babe and I|
The reason for all of this? I learned from my own mom who believed in giving us kids a strong solid base to start out life with and then we could make our own decisions. This is what I want to do for Annabelle. Someday she will need to decide her own spiritual path and I want to show her a place that celebrates faith but also welcomes her questions and concerns, is a community to share our moral beliefs & everyone is welcome. And yet she is her own person. If she wants to be an atheist, I’m not going to strike her from the family unit. Instead, I’ll supplement her god given curiosity to explore her own free will. I’ll buy her a copy of Fredrick Nietzsche and tell her that if she is going to be an atheist, that she better be a damn good one.