Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Religious Upbringing

A touchy subject indeed. A lot of people are very open about their religion on their blogs. I am one of the more reserved ones. Today this entry will take you back to my childhood growing up in my church.

Columbus is where I was born. Its where my parents were born and raised, its where their parents were born and raised as far as I know. I have deep roots in Columbus, Georgia. From birth my family and I went to Wynnton Hill Baptist Church. I looked and looked for a photo of the church, and do you know...there isnt one? Isn't that unusual in this day and age of computers and the internet?

I grew up in the nursery as a toddler. We went to Sunday school and then adults went to hear the preachers sermon. Children had their own sermon geared to keep us a bit more interested. We had our own worship hall to boot. We all know how hard it was sitting quietly in church with your parents without speaking and squirming, trying to be respectful. Once a teenager you had to sit with the adults though. I participated in the youth group. We went to Wednesday night supper and worship. This was my favorite time to go to church. There was ALWAYS fried chicken...along with many other side dishes. Everyone brought covered dishes on Wednesday night. Everything home made. It seems like Wednesday nights were not so formal, things were more relaxed.

When I was fifteen we moved from Columbus. Mama was ready to go, to make a new start. Erin, Daddy and I were not so enthusiastic. I had convinced myself that I wasnt going to get in the car, then we couldnt leave. As you can see today, it didnt work. We had to move because Western Union in Columbus was closing down. The one Daddy was going to work at when we moved was in East Point. Western Union was not the same as what it is today. Daddys work was full of ticker tape machines, lots of machines and equipment. It wasnt a mail service like it is today.

I got off track there for a minute, sorry about that. We moved to Jonesboro, Georgia. We had always gone to church...and once we settled in to our home we searched for a church to go to. First Baptist Church of Jonesboro was where we landed. We went a few times...but it just never really clicked for my parents or us kids. We still held onto our values and beliefs...but never really found a church to feel at home in again. To this day, I have not gone or belonged to any house of worship, but don't be sad for me. God is not in a building. God is in your heart. God is all around you.

Ians mom and I talked a lot about religion and our beliefs when she was still alive. I still hold those conversations close to my heart today. When Ian was a boy the two of them would go to church together. His dad had to work a lot, so that was probably why he didnt go with them.

Roz and I both believed the same thing about this subject. We believe that if you keep your faith strong in your heart, and you try to be a good person and do the right things every day...that you don't need to go to a building with a bunch of people every week. I understand that many think that doing so strengthens your bond and faith with God. It may do just that for a lot of people. I am not very tolerant of crowds and people these days. I like my solitude. I have found that I feel closer to God just being still...listening, observing the outdoors. Sometimes it overwhelms me and my heart will swell with the love of the nature He has made for us.

In this day and age...the times are busy ones. Its hard to find a moment to relax and be together as a family. Every other Sunday when Ian is off, this is the perfect day to just be together as a family. I don't mean to sound disrespectful when I say, I would rather be with my family having some quality time than spending it in a crowd of people...some I know, some I don't.

The reason I don't shout my religious beliefs from the rooftops to everyone is not because I am ashamed, it is because there is a reverance and privacy to my thoughts and feelings regarding it all. Today, I have opened up that privacy for you to see. Whether you are happy or disappointed in me...it doesnt matter. What matters is that I am comfortable with my convictions.

Ian is agnostic, and I have always been alright with that. He respects my beliefs and I respect his. I do not push my beliefs on him. Shelby has been taught the basics by me...and as she gets older, she can make up her own mind.

Ian and I both agree on one thing. No one should push their beliefs on others. An invite to a local church by someone is not pushing. Keeping on about coming when someone declines the invitation, is pushing. Forcing religion on people will run them off, trust me. Its kind of like the teacher in Charlie Brown...all you start to hear is that droning wah wah..wah wah wah wah..wah wah wah..

So there it is...all layed out on the table for everyone to see. I believe this is the most revealing thing I have ever written about myself.

I thought about it, and I would like to add something. Ray, over on Dads Tomato Garden, or now called Tomato Gardening with Dad has Sunday meetings. I didnt realize until a few months ago that they had the meetings at his house. To me, this is more intimate and special...I like this and would be more inclined to go to a meeting like this, held at someones house and that is a close friend...just a thought that I wanted to put down here.


Donna said...

Thanks for sharing, Kelly. I do go to Church... not every Sunday, and not always to the same one. But I go. If you notice, I try not to push my beliefs on anyone either. I think that's a big turnoff, and often does more harm than good.

That's one reason I've learned to shy away from certain message boards. There are too many people trying to convert somebody to their way of thinking, then the most religious ones say some of the most un-religious, close-minded things. I'm always glad to see a prayer request, and honor those. But when they start preaching and lecturing, that's just too much.

Lenore, on CL, knew how to balance things just right: you knew she was a Christian, but she never preached or argued. It's a shame there weren't more like her.

Geesh, I guess I just needed to get that off my chest!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Hi Kelly! I'm just stopping in to say thanks for the comments in my journal. I'll add yours to my list so we can keep in touch.
'On Ya'-ma

Beth said...

Amen, sister! My own experiences with religion throughout the years have been interesting, to say the least. I can honestly say that the closest I feel now to a higher power is when I'm outside at our place. Seeing the beauty all around me means a lot, and I've never gotten that feeling at any church. I'm very much the type that says "whatever works for you." Some people really benefit from and enjoy going to church (my folks just love the church they found when they moved a few years ago), but others are moved in other ways.

Great post, and thanks for your honesty!

Hugs, Beth

One's spirituality is

Beth said...

Whoops, sorry about that last little snippet on my comment. Ignore!


Janie said...

A church building is a church building. I am not really good at explaining how I feel. A lot of people misunderstand me. I sing gospel songs and you raise chickens. lol I talk about the happenings in my life and church; since my son is a minister, church is one of my subjects. I did not accept Christ until I was 32 years old and you may be shocked at my previous life. lol Infact you may have had more time in a church than me. I hope that no one thinks that I try to push my religion on them because that is not my goal. We are all different and live different lives. I try not to judge anyone. Just because I go to church does not make me better than anyone else... I may even be worse!! lol I am not perfect and say things that I should not say at times. lol I was not raised in a church. I have sang in night clubs, drank, smoked, cursed, been married before... hmmm a black sheep... ugh. lol One thing I try to never do and that is judge someone; but would like the same respect as I give others. Maybe I make the mistake of saying "blessings" on the end of my comments?? Thank you for sharing, very interesting read. Hope you have a great week and good luck with your chickens.Janie

Paula said...

We don't have to worry about a crowd at our church. I'm calling it our church and I haven't even joined it and probably won't. There were nine people there Sunday. I'm like Janie I am certainly not better then anyone else even though we go to church every Sunday. Your opinion is respected by me.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sounds like a good balance you have.

breakaway said...

I don't think anyone here who is a friend would ever be disappointed in you no matter what :D I have friends from just about every religion there is and we all just don't talk about our religion. We all know there IS indeed a god and that's all we need to know. No one gets pushy which is a good thing. We are not regular church goers either but I think as we get older we think more about it. Very interesting story :D Thanks for sharing :)

Lisa said...

Oh Kelly, yet another point of view we share identically.

I stopped going to church for various reasons and never returned. My farm is my church and I am closer to God and the beautiful world He created on that farm on a quiet Sunday morning than I ever was sitting in a brick & mortar building surrounded by backstabbing hypocrits.

You can be evil & go to church but people somehow believe you must be "good" because you show up. If a person has a dark heart all the church going in the world won't matter anyway.

It is what is in our hearts & thoughts that matter.

JoHn'S wOrLd said...

Glad you were able to post your feelings.For me its nots Religon,its the relationship with God that matters most.And you have been there lately for me with prayers and uplifting words thru my difficult times.I do thankyou and hope I dont sound pushy is my blog.I just share what God has done for me.Have a great day