Friday, October 2, 2015

Faith and Family

Tomorrow we’re on the road again, this time to our daughter’s in New Jersey, for another family milestone. This is the first such milestone ever on this side of the family tree. Our oldest grandson will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah. My daughter’s husband is Jewish, and they are raising their three boys in the Jewish faith.

 Now that I think about it, my daughter’s roots include a fair amount of religious variety, even though we were pretty much non-church goers.

          As far as I know, my husband’s family never went to church of any kind.  However, his grandmother did journey from Catholicism to Protestantism, and finished up as a Jehovah’s Witness. After any of her visits to our house, there were always several issues of The Watchtower left behind.  At least when the ladies knocked on my door to save my soul I could tell them in all honesty that I already had all the information. 

 When I was growing up, my mother, sister, and I bobby pinned on our chapel veils and regularly marched off to St John’s Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On one occasion I did go with my grandfather to his Presbyterian service, but I remember thinking it pretty dull stuff without the aerobics of the kneeling, sitting, standing, then repeat, that I was accustomed to.

          It’s beyond my powers of imagination to picture my brilliant, irreverent father in a church, but he must have done so once, since I’ve seen the proof – my mother in her long white gown surrounded by pews and flowers. 

          When my children were young, there was a brief interlude when I tried attending a Congregational Church since a friend of mine was a member, but I soon got fed up by this particular minister’s constant return to the subject of money and donations. 

          At the time we lived in a heavily Catholic area, and the Catholic high school was right down the road, making it seem much more like our neighborhood school than the public one a bus ride away. When our kids hit ninth grade, that’s what they chose. The school was kind enough to accept our kids – and our checks. 

          Funny, though. I wonder if all those mandatory religion classes and once-a-week masses had any bearing on the fact that my grandkids are Jewish and my son’s spring wedding will take place under a chuppah, after which we’ll all dance the Horah.       


  1. What ever works is all I say. I tried when I was in my youth, teens and twenties...but now I am non-religious and find peace in nature.

  2. See, that's why we truly are a melting pot.

  3. You look back at some interesting backgrounds and ahead to new places. It's all fine as long as they don't argue about the stuff.

  4. My father was a German Jew and said that religion cost too much. Consequently I grew up without religiion and like Tabor find my peace in nature. Mind you, when father knew he was dying he had a lot of fun arranging his own funeral - and he returned to his roots.

  5. I was raised Episcopalian but by the time I was in my very early 20s I had completely turned away from Christianity. I married a Jew and remembering all the rootless kids in college that were sucked into cults, I decided some foundation was better than others so I raised my kids in the Jewish faith. I totally expected them to find their own way but my daughter has raised her kids as Jews. I don't think she believes in the big daddy in the sky, it's more the culture. her kids don't believe in that god either though they are still active in the youth group. long before my kids grew up, I turned away from all religion and like Tabor and elephant's Child, nature is my 'religion'. now I wish I had not given my kids a religious upbringing but at the time I wasn't through with religion yet.

  6. You and your family pretty much gave it all an honest try. I did that as a child and went to all my friends different churches. Good thing there are a bunch of choices for as contrary as we humans are, one church would never satisfy all. My Dad was an atheist till he had a near death experience. A bible stayed near his side after that. Someday we will find out.

  7. There are many paths to spiritual growth, whether in the religious or natural world. I hope you have a wonderful time being together and sharing in the joy of the event.

  8. We're not at all religious in or family, my parents did send us off to Sunday School a few times, but I think that was just to get us out of the house. We didn't like it much and stopped going. Three of my children aren't even christened (baptised) since the pastor mentioned he would do it only if we came to church regularly.
    I remember the big Catholic church in the town I grew up in, every year the tiny children taking first communion would parade through the streets on their way to church, people would line the footpaths to stand and watch the pretty sight.

  9. Lutheran, in fact Missouri Synod Lutheran. I am saved by grace and looking forward to a heavenly home. I am not perfect so it is a good thing that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. The wildest our relatives ever got was I have an Uncle that is a Jehovah Witness...they took most of his money. Growing up none of the Lutheran girls would date the Catholic boys...and frankly marriage between the two would have been out of the question. :)

  10. They're all arbitrary lines in the end, anyway, aren't they?

    I grew up Presbyterian, spent several years as an Episcopalian and then a Zen Buddhist, and now I'm pretty much non-practicing -- though I still identify mostly with Buddhist thought. There was a lot of simplicity in the notion, back in the old days, that you simply were what you were -- Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, whatever -- and that was that! I mean, people converted occasionally, but there wasn't the religion-as-smorgasbord approach we have today, for better or worse.


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