The other day I posted a photo on Facebook of Simon passed out on Diana's shoulder at Mason's baptism, and slugged it, "Simon in church." One of my aunts posted the comment:
You go to church now? I'm liking this new wife and baby if they're making such a positive change in my once skeptical nephew.
There really isn't any possible way to interpret that in a positive sense. It's loaded with all kinds of accusations and judgment.
I know I've blogged about it before, but I'm reasonably at peace with my beliefs, despite the ups and downs of my experiences. I still don't understand why people can't live and let live when it comes to what people want to believe. The particularly weird part about it is that most people adopt a religion because they were raised in it, and for no other reason. By that I mean, yes, they likely made a conscious choice to engage their faith in a certain religion and commit to it, but the choice of the religion was likely rooted entirely in the fact that it's the one their parents put their faith in. I doubt most people ever thought, "Hey, I'm gonna look into this Buddhist and Jewish thing."
And really, that's OK. I had the same experience. Diana had the same experience. I'm annoyed not so much that I never had the choice, but that I didn't even have the awareness about other religions.
The measure of your goodness, relative as it may be, is revealed in your actions, not the place you spend Sunday morning. A wise pastor of mine told me that in my college days, and it has stuck with me ever since.
Naturally, the topics of faith and religion come up for us now that we're parents. Personally, I'm fairly indifferent about whether or not Simon is baptized. Diana very much wanted him to be baptized in a Catholic church, and I was fine with that. That started to get problematic when issues of membership and commitments came up, and I think she got a little worn down with the hoops to jump through. She went through similar drama trying to be the godmom of her BFF's kid, where they wouldn't even accept it if you weren't a part of the right sub-denomination of the Catholic church. Can you believe that?
It's funny because after reading Rework, there has been a lot of talk about it at work whenever someone brings up ways to add more process that adds no value. It occurred to me that many religious institutions suffer from similar problems, adding little value to faith.
So the natural question that we as parents had to ask ourselves is, what do we teach Simon? The short answer is... everything. When he's at an appropriate age, we'll teach him about the variations of Christianity that we were raised on, and likely expose him to different kinds of churches. We'll also introduce him to other faiths (with guidance from people who practice those faiths). From there on out, we'll let him decide what he wants to do. If he wants to engage in a church community, we'll support him and go with him.
Until then, I thank God every day for my life and the little miracle that is my baby.
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