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Old 02-27-2009, 02:23 AM   #1
jennifer75
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Parents, Children, and Church

I attended church last Sunday for the first time in over 10 years. The three of us went; myself, my son and his dad.

I enjoyed it to a certain degree, my son did too. I did however have some problems, for lack of a better word, with the practices of this church. Nothing huge enough that I absolutely wont go back, but I'm pretty sure I'll be seeking a different direction than that of this church.

The problem is that my son wants to go back this weekend. He's 6, will be 7 next month.

How do you suggest I handle this rather large obstacle?
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:46 AM   #2
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kinda depends on how much say you want the kid to have.
you could explain to him that you are in process of choosing a church home. that this is an important decision as these people will be like family and there are a lot of good choices and to be fair to all, you will visit blank number of churches, and the ones that seem to be good choices you will visit more than once. tell him that they all have fun things for children, and it will be important for him to help you choose by remembering the things they teach in his classes, and sharing them with you.
(he may be too young for this)

or you could simply say, 'were trying another fun new place this week. we'll choose the best one after we've tried a few.'
or you could leave him with Grandma or someone until you find your home.

with the fun programs for kids now, most kid will like it no matter where they go. what's most important is that you feel you've landed in the right place for your family. a kid can't decide that, they're too gullible, but his interest the place will be a big influence.
also, you probably know this, but most churches have websites now, and you can research ahead their basic doctrines and practices,to get a general feel for the place before attending.
good luck to you.
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:17 AM   #3
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I was all of five years old when I decided I'd have to grow up some to understand why adults dealt differently with fairy tales and Bible stories -- meaning that some kids are ready at an early age for talk about how religious belief and community fits into one's life. I would have welcomed reflections such as yours when I was that young, had my parents been able to share them.

~The above offered as an alternative yet complementary view, just in case it merits consideration.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:18 AM   #4
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How do you suggest I handle this rather large obstacle?
Take him to other churches. Discuss with him what he likes or doesn't like about them. Share your feelings; discuss with him how much of your feelings come from what you're used to and how much come from what you think is important. While you're at it, why not take him to a synagogue, mosque or Buddhist temple as well?
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:36 AM   #5
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Take him to other churches. Discuss with him what he likes or doesn't like about them. Share your feelings; discuss with him how much of your feelings come from what you're used to and how much come from what you think is important. While you're at it, why not take him to a synagogue, mosque or Buddhist temple as well?
I'm planning doing this the first warm weekend coming. There is a temple up in the hills near the cemetary my grandparents are buried in; I have recently explained what a cemetary is to him so I think he'll enjoy going to a 2 in 1 sort of place.

Buddhism is the direction I believe I will be going. We attended a Christian Baptist Church which was better than I thought it would be.
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:42 PM   #6
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Non-demoninational churches have been my favorite. Something contemporary with a live band and all that jazz. A lot more upbeat. And I like large churches because there are more groups, more ways to get involved with the people in the church, which is one of the main reasons for finding a church home.

What didn't you like about the church?
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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The problem is that my son wants to go back this weekend. He's 6, will be 7 next month.

How do you suggest I handle this rather large obstacle?
I think it's one of those things where you just have to bite the bullet and try a few different churches. It'll be a little tough for your son in the short term but if you find a place where your whole family can get plugged in and become close with the other families he'll end up benefitting and enjoying it. I think Ruv has a good point about talking to him about what he likes / doesn't like about the church(es) you visit.

When we moved to San Antonio, we did online research on all the churches in the area and drug our 4 kids to several (all of which they liked and wanted to stay at) before settling on one (which they quickly came to like better than the others). Most churches I know of have very good kids programs, so you can tell your son if he liked the first church he'll probably like the second one.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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Non-demoninational churches have been my favorite. Something contemporary with a live band and all that jazz. A lot more upbeat. And I like large churches because there are more groups, more ways to get involved with the people in the church, which is one of the main reasons for finding a church home.

What didn't you like about the church?
Other than the feeling of "this is the only way" I didn't have any other problems with the church. It was small - I think they have maybe 200 members... is that considered small? The service I went to was in the afternoon and had maybe 30 people attending.

They were Baptist. I don't really know what that means.

We were referred to this church from a friend who said he attended because they were so laid back. So that enticed me. They did have live music, a very good band, and I didn't feel like I was being judged, I felt welcome, and they had snacks afterwards. They have a lot of activities, Friday night classes, sports, things for the kids...but the main problem I have,I guess...is that this is in a Korean community, so all of the members with the exception of myself and one other member in the afternoon service was Korean. It is an English congregation however. I know, you're all saying in unison, JENNIFER, THAT'S THE PROBLEM....but I don't think that is a huge thing, I'd attend a Gospel Church if it made me happy.

I guess I want to be more involved with people I have more in common with. If I always feel like the "different one" I will never settle in comfortably. I just contradicted myself, I know.

This was upbeat, for the most part, and I did enjoy the service. Until I was told indirectly that I'd have to choose one way or the highway. And that their way was the right way. I want spiritual freedom if that makes any sense at all. Call me selfish, but this is about me, isn't it?
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:12 PM   #9
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You're the parent, though, right? The 6 year old doesn't dictate where or if the family goes to church. Or maybe I didn't understand what you were asking.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:15 PM   #10
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I agree with you. You can't go to a church where you don't feel comfortable because a big part, like I said, about church is getting to know people who believe the same way you do.

So if you still feel weird, I'd try somewhere else.

In my humble opinion, it IS about you...but it's about you discovering it's not all about you, that in fact, it's all about God. Again, that's my opinion.

But you do need to find a place where you're happy. Period. So if it's not this place, shop around. I've been to several churches before I found the one I attend now, which I love. You'll know it's home when you get there.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #11
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That wasn't the core of my question, no. I agree - he'd have to go where I go, but I'd make sure I didn't overwhelm him at such an early age.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:20 PM   #12
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:51 PM   #13
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Other than the feeling of "this is the only way" I didn't have any other problems with the church.

They were Baptist. I don't really know what that means.

This was upbeat, for the most part, and I did enjoy the service. Until I was told indirectly that I'd have to choose one way or the highway. And that their way was the right way. I want spiritual freedom if that makes any sense at all. Call me selfish, but this is about me, isn't it?
If that's really what you're looking for in a religion (all ways lead to spiritual enlightenment), you're likely not going to find that message in a Baptist church. You're probably looking for a Universalist Unitarian chuch. Although as someone who attends a Baptist church and is very connected to its community I can tell you I absolutely love it as does my family.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:07 PM   #14
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Wow, talk about opening up another door. This UU stuff sounds interesting, but a little too open for me. I would think that I would need a little more guidance otherwise I may not fully commit to one way.

Boy, I'm all about contradicting myself today
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:17 PM   #15
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My wife is a Unitarian. They're very like the Quakers in many ways. Be aware, though, if this matters to you, that UUs, like Quakers, tend to be quite liberal politically and often are deeply involved in liberal politics.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:46 PM   #16
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Another thing to consider, especially with all the Protestant denominations, the clergy and the congregation of individual churches are in many ways more important than which denomination or conference a particular church belongs to.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:57 PM   #17
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Medievalist makes a great point there. Eh- I'm having touble forming my thoughts, so I'll just leave it at that for now.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:06 AM   #18
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Yes, Protestantism is not a one size fits all. There can be wide variations from Baptist to Methodist to Lutheran and from individual churches. I agree with shopping around until you find the right church for you. It can be hard on a little one, but kids are so adaptable. There is a church that will make you and your son BOTH happy.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:45 AM   #19
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I attended church last Sunday for the first time in over 10 years. The three of us went; myself, my son and his dad.

I enjoyed it to a certain degree, my son did too. I did however have some problems, for lack of a better word, with the practices of this church. Nothing huge enough that I absolutely wont go back, but I'm pretty sure I'll be seeking a different direction than that of this church.

The problem is that my son wants to go back this weekend. He's 6, will be 7 next month.

How do you suggest I handle this rather large obstacle?
When my marriage ended in 1997, my children and I were a bit at loose ends finding ourselves a bit shunned in our local community. So we went from church to church studying and enjoying the variety and beauties of other religious practices. To this day, my kids tell me some of their favorite experiences were those journeys into religious exploration.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:38 AM   #20
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Might you consider continuing with this church until you have some others to try? If you have no violent objection to them it might help the kid have continuity and routine?
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:41 PM   #21
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I'd recommend researching churches in your area on the internet. Most churches have websites that tell you what they believe, how they dress (casual / formal), what type of music they do, what their children programs are like ... many even have sermons posted online so you can get a feel for the church without having to invest a Sunday morning of dragging your family around town.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:28 PM   #22
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Find out what your son likes about the church. Was it the Sunday School? The people there?

If it was the way the Sunday School was run, then it's easy- find a church in your area that has a Sunday School run in a similar manner, but one which you feel more comfortable in. Hope that helped.
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:36 PM   #23
Ephrem Rodriguez
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I go to an Eastern Orthodox Church. Not many Eastern Orthodox Churches in the West. We have icons, vocal chanting/music, incense, lots of things that overwhelm the senses. It's supposed to be pretty much like walking into the reign or rule of God in order to prepare you for the fullness of that reign/rule which is to come.

You're surrounded by the saints, that are illumined by the same light that Christ is. They are windows or icons into the creator, who is a consuming fire. All creation and humans are also windows/icons of that great light. This is why it is less difficult to love your enemies. They too are an icon of Christ.

Here's a link to one where you can get a 360 degree view: http://www.360bigsky.com/serbian.htm


Imagine that with singing songs (all hymns are from the 1st-4th centuries), incense, veneration, prostrations, etc. It's pretty wonderful.

The incense is to remind us that we are to offer sweet smelling prayer. Prayer in Orthodoxy isn't necessarily talking to God so much as "being" or inner stillness. Most things in Orthodoxy are paradoxical but not always. Prayer is also communion. Basically everything communion.

We believe that the purpose of life is communion with God. That God is a perpetual movement of love, Love Himself, that dwells in each person of the other within the Holy Trinity and whose love can not be contained and so pours Himself out. He extends his grace to humanity and creation and can not help but to create and to love, to heal, restore and redeem that which appears broken.

We are supposed to be like the Trinity, distinct and yet without division, a continual outpouring of love.

Doctrinally, we don't see God as a god that was angered by man's disobedience and so decided that there had to be a sacrifice and so sent his Son that he might be sacrificed in order to appease His wrath. In Orthodoxy, we see that God's given us free-will and only hopes to bring us up to what we were originally created for - true humanity, communion. So, sin isn't seen as a legal issue as it is in the West. In Orthodoxy, sin is seen as a sickness and the Church is there as a hospital to help restore us.

We don't have the same models of original sin and pretty much our entire theological language is different from the West. Words like salvation, sin, faith, grace, etc. mean something different in Orthodoxy. So it's hard to understand what they're saying in Orthodoxy if you've already assigned meaning to those words.

The Church's been around for about 2,000 years. In 1054, the Pope of Rome changed a seven hundred year old creed. There's all this "politicized" stuff behind the story but basically speaking there were five jurisdictions: Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexander and Constantinople.

The Christians in those Eastern jurisdiction didn't dig the change and said something to the Pope in Rome. The Pope in Rome didn't appreciate being told he couldn't unilaterally change a 700 year old creed and so excommunicated the entire East.

The Eastern Orthodox are pretty much the Christians in those four other jurisdiction (we call them Patriarchates).

The West doesn't know much about Eastern Orthodox in the West and there are only about 2 million in the US (the 5-6 mil is inflated). However, the Orthodox are the second largest Christian group in the world.

So as long as you're a church hoppin', see if you can find an Orthodox Church nearby (might want to make sure the liturgy is in English). It's Beautiful.




God bless
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:48 PM   #24
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That's a very pretty, colourful church, Ephrem. You might be the first poster we have who comes from an Eastern Orthodox creed. I expect that very few people have read or heard much about it -- in the West, Eastern Orthodoxy is almost invisible. Maybe you'd like to post a new thread explaining it? I think that not only would a lot of people be interested, some might recognise bits of Eastern Orthodoxy as bits of their own philosophy.
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:08 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by TerzaRima View Post
You're the parent, though, right? The 6 year old doesn't dictate where or if the family goes to church. Or maybe I didn't understand what you were asking.
Why?
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