May 30, 2010

Punching My Ticket to Hell... If There is One.

I don't like people trying to convert me... for anything. Trying to convert me to your faith is insulting my intelligence. It is acting as if I've not given thought to my own spirituality... that you think I am shallow and must see the light.

I am patient and listen, but deep inside, I do want to tell them exactly where they can go.

My husband is Catholic. I am not. I am not for many reasons, none of which are publishable here, because it is MY choice, no one else's. My husband knew when he married me that I would never convert nor would I ever believe as he believed. I respect his faith as he respects mine. I respect his faith so much, my Mom made sure a Catholic priest was at our wedding as well as a minister of my then faith, I made sure we went through all the pre-Catholic marriage indoctrination, we got a blessing from the Pope, and I met with a Catholic priest... a man now that I would seek advice from should I run into a problem with my own spirituality.

Does my husband regret this decision in marrying a non-Catholic, a man of such faith in his Church, coming from a family with such great faith that his mother actually died IN church?

I think he might at times.

He takes the boys to Church every Sunday. We have them in Catholic schools and I told him upfront, the kids could be Catholic, I would assist when possible, but he was to NEVER ask me to go to Church with them. I do not do organized religion. I do not do Church. That's his gig, not mine.

And so every Sunday the four of them go, while I do my thing, go running, go to the gym, read... be alone. And I do think deep inside he wishes we all went to Church as a big happy family. He must. Its what he knows... what he did as a child.

There are devout mothers that this offends, my not going. They are horrified that we do not go as a family. They say things to me like, "Do you realize how lucky you are to be married to man who would go to Church like your husband does?"

I smile sweetly.

I was informed today I was on the top of the prayer list for one of these women... the top of the prayer list that I would see the errors of my ways and convert to Catholicism and attend with my family every Sunday. I would see the ways of righteousness and the path to Salvation.

I find it amusing as the Catholic priest I know and confer with, loves me as one of his own. He seeks me out at times and I ALWAYS seek him out, and he hugs me hard and asks how I am as he pats my shoulder, always saying to me in a deep Irish brogue, "You are a good woman, Bou. You are a very good woman."

And today I'd had enough. We were at a church gathering at my husband's Church.

Finally I turned to her and said, "Do you not think I've never heard the Holy Spirit? Are you sitting there trying to tell me, that I do not feel the Lord speaking to me? Because if you are, then you are sadly mistaken, because I truly believe, of all the people sitting here on Catholic grounds today, at this big festival, that *I* may be one of the few who has not only heard him, but listened."

I then told her THIS story, one of my many stories when I did things I had no reason to do, other than following a feeling in my heart. (For some reason it got converted in archives with weird characters. It makes it tough to read...)

And it's not the only story I have. My friend found this story amazing enough that I suspect she'll leave me alone.

But I'm not sure. My husband looked at her and said, "Do you think that just because people are Catholic or come to this Church that they listen to God? Do you think that just because they are HERE that makes them a good Christian?"

Her husband agreed with mine. She became more silent. I was slowly stewing.

I finished it off..., I said to her, "I'll make you a deal. When the Catholic Church sees to it that the Pedophiles are executed, I'll convert. But... not until then."

She seemed absolutely appalled by this. Like I give a crap...

Posted by Boudicca at May 30, 2010 06:05 PM

Good for you for standing up to that woman. I'm Catholic...but I'm with you, especially about the pedophile part. Going to Church doesn't make you holy or good. It's about listening to the inner-voice/Spirit/whatever that tells you to make the right and good choices. Some people have the mistaken idea that THEY are that voice.

Personally, I need the rituals and solemnity to help me find that inner voice. Others need a more ebullient type of structure. Others don't need any of that at all and they're still good people. Live by example, people. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan...or in this case, the Good Boudicca!

Posted by: Mrs. Who at May 30, 2010 11:50 PM

It's funny, because when I told her this story she said to her husband, 'She is telling us the story of the Good Samaritan."

I think it was lost on her. She said to me after, "So, when all this happened, were you going to church regularly?"

She missed it. It was as if in her small little box, to have something bigger than you, guide you, whether its God, the Universe, or some inner voice, you MUST be going to church, otherwise it will not happen.

I shook my head and said, "no... I was not going to church at the time."

A potential for learning for her... and she missed the lesson altogether, yet she teaches in the Catholic Church.

And I'm not picking out Catholics. You find these kinds of people in any religion. I often wonder why I tolerate it and I find a voice within me saying, "Forgive her Lord, she knows not what she says..."

Posted by: Bou at May 30, 2010 11:56 PM

At the risk of causing displeasure, I believe I know exactly what you mean.

Posted by: Curtis at May 31, 2010 12:43 AM

It's that woman's kind of thinking that, among other things, keeps me AWAY from organized religion. Things like the Catholic Church's protection of pedophile priests and Islamic "leaders" who ignore their own relgion's teaching and encourage terrorism don't help either.
FYI - Time magazine's cover story this week is on the pope and the pedophile scandals.

Posted by: George P at May 31, 2010 09:17 AM

It couldn't have escaped their notice that you have been exposed for *many* years to Catholic doctrine and life. That may be the most insulting aspect of the 'my way or no way' stance.

Love that you set her straight. Hope she passes it on... and trust me, she will. ;-)

Posted by: Pam at May 31, 2010 09:40 AM

I think a lot of Catholics only go to church because of the famous catholic guilt.

I haven't been to church regularly since we got married, but I don't think I am any less of a catholic then others I know that go to church every week.

But those that go to church regularly and rag on me about it are less of a catholic in my eyes because they feel they are above or better then you because they go to church, something that god doesn't get down with.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at May 31, 2010 05:18 PM

Being of a faith that has a very prominent missionary program, I must confess that trying to actively "convert" someone who is perfectly comfortable with their faith has always made me uncomfortable. I have no problem answering questions of those curious to know more, or encouraging those who may be actively looking for their faith. But I would never encourage someone to leave their faith for another, especially if they were happy with it.

Posted by: diamond dave at May 31, 2010 11:45 PM

I love church.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at June 1, 2010 03:48 PM

I miss the liturgy and the music. I miss the King James Bible. I miss what I grew up with. I searched the county of San Diego in vain. There is no going back.

Posted by: Curtis at June 3, 2010 03:00 AM

My dad was an atheist. He and my mom agreed to raise my sister and me as Catholics. Out of respect, he was at our baptisms and our first communions. Other than marriages, that was the only other times he ever went to church.

Posted by: Denny at June 3, 2010 10:42 PM