“Spiritual But Not Religious” Parenting 101 ?

Apologies for making this a quickie. I have “company coming” this afternoon and I have to superclean  cleara path prepare. :-/

So. My daughter is 12.5, just finished 6th Grade. For a variety of reasons, I’m feeling like… well, it’s time. I’d like to take her to “Church” at least once in a while and so I’ll be doing some Church Shopping. More important, I’ll be talking to her, more than I have thus far, about all things God.

I’d love to hear from any of you who might have, uhm, an opinion, some experience, suggestions, or just stories if you feel like it. It’s Sunday after all.

A few more details below the line.

I was raised Catholic, Irish Catholic specifically, sorta. In the 60’s, back when nuns still wore habits. Did 12 years of Catholic schools, more for the quality education than the religion though. (And Dad was a Methodist.)

Although I rejected that religion ages ago, I do kind of like ritual, symbolism, metaphor, things like that. But more in an artistic, rather than a religious, way. heh.

I have some definite beliefs but haven’t found (haven’t looked) any particular “Religion” that fits. I do like the concept of fellowship or community, especially with a teenager in the family. And I suppose I should add… I am “Christian” by culture but not by faith.

I have to admit, it’s also partly self-defense, re daughter. Evangelicals are rampant these days.

So… (as soon as I get our second car back from the shop) I’m likely to go first to the local Friends Meeting. I haven’t been in a million years (since my high school peace activist days) and never in this city (where I’ve lived for 30 yeasrs!). But it’s the closest I think I’ll get to my own drift. As their website says:

Welcome! We are a community of seekers. Quakers have no dogma or creed. A fundamental Quaker belief is that there is “that of God in everyone.”

Oh, and this little bit cracked me up:

The Quarterly Meeting is a quarterly of South Central Yearly Meeting comprised of Friends from {the region}. Although we are a quarterly meeting, we only meet once a year because of the wide geographical area our quarterly covers.

Yeah, my kind of people! lol.

So. What else? I know I do NOT care for FILL IN THE BLANK _____ the usual suspects, new agey gobbleguk. Sorry.

Buddhist would be another choice here. In fact, too much choice. I wouldn’t even know where to start. We have Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian. And I’m sure ex-DFH/Yuppie Buddhists with a bunch of BMW’s and Lexus in the parking lot. (just guessing). I dunno, do they have Youth Groups?

Anyway. Kid is pretty cool. She did go recently with a friend to their BAPTIST Church Wednesday night Youth Group deal and told me… “It was okay, but they kinda made me mad.” Apparently, they listed off a bunch of things that IF you do x, y, z, THEN you’re can’t be a “true Christian”. harrumph said she.


(I know many here are committed atheists, but you can ring in if you want, also. :-))

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    • Edger on July 5, 2009 at 19:20

    But don’t let the churches get their claws on her.

    Alan Watts, interpreting Vedanta in his “The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, probably had more influence on my own thinking than anyone else.

       “There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. But just as the hour-hand of the watch goes up to twelve and down to six, so, too, there is day and night, waking and sleeping, living and dying, summer and winter. You can’t have any one of these without the other, because you wouldn’t be able to know what black is unless you had seen it side-by-side with white, or white unless side-by-side with black.

       “In the same way, there are times when the world is, and times when it isn’t, for if the world went on and on without rest for ever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don’t. So because it doesn’t get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It’s like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible. It’s also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place.

       “God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

       “Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it-just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self-the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.


       “God is the Self of the world, but you can’t see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can’t see your own eyes, and you certainly can’t bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.

       “You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.”

       “The Ultimate Ground of Being” is Paul Tillich’s decontaminated term for God” and would also do for “the Self of the world” as I put it in my story for children. But the secret which my story slips over to the child is that the Ultimate Ground of Being is you. Not, of course, the everyday you which the Ground is assuming, or “pretending” to be, but that inmost Self which escapes inspection because it’s always the inspector. This, then, is the taboo of taboos you’re It!

    — The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are  

    • TMC on July 5, 2009 at 20:49

    already has a pretty good sense of her own Christan values. She may already be on her way to choosing her own path and it most likely due to your example.  

  1. ‘upbringing’ sounds eerily like mine spent 10 years in a Catholic school the last 4 being all girls with boarding. Irish nuns, Dominican taught me to loath organized religion. They threw me out in the 10th grade as I was a heretic who questioned their insanity and led my fellow classmates to doubt the infallible.  I’m not an atheist oddly, I am as my husband once described himself an Acid Baptist, I tripped alot and then took showers.

    Why do you feel the need to take your daughter to church especially the Jesus kind?? Not being critical just curious. My grandaughter went to a Christian daycare for awhile and it freaked me right out. I had her two days a week and made a point of introducing her via field trips,art songs, books etc to other great avatars like Buddha and even Jesus the philosopher of love, even threw in some science of the Carl Sagan variety. If your daughter made it this far without the organized brand of religion I would rejoice and figure she had a chance at actually becoming a loving compassionate spiritual being, with real values the last thing most religions want you to be.

    The other day my grandaughter who was trying to teach me chess, told me to try and think of it as war, like a man, strategically speaking. We somehow then got on the absurdity of God as a nasty man, when I countered with the feminine as deity she was admonished me. ‘God is not human grandma God is everywhere, everything, it’s life itself’ I like to think that exposure to ideas and spirituality not in a human political hierarchy helped her find her own way to her spirit, and her humanism.            

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