Spirituality

Are religion “labels” a thing of the past or are we just lazy?

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 Are religion “labels” a thing of the past or are we just lazy?

When it comes to religion, our family doesn’t have a real label. We are declared Christians but haven’t picked anything more specific. I guess that makes us “non-denominational”, yet I’m not exactly sure.

I was raised Catholic. I went to private Catholic school from grade school through graduate school. I went to church at least two times per week. My dad spent his high school years learning to be a priest (but obviously changed his mind). My mom had weekly prayer groups. I was raised in a large family and had nuns as teachers. My husband was raised Methodist. He went to public schools and did attend church on occasion with his family.

My Family - 1986

 Me (Top Left) & My Sisters – 1986

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 My Mom, Grandma, & Dad – 1988

We got married outdoors by a Methodist pastor and never really developed a religion “plan” for our future kids. I had a general idea in my mind that we would be a church going family but wasn’t sold on any particular Christian denomination. I didn’t like all the rules in Catholicism. I liked the little I learned about the Methodist faith, as it seemed similar to what I knew, but much more laid back.

We had our two girls within the first 3 years of our marriage. They were both baptized in the Methodist Church by the same pastor who married us. We didn’t make it to church weekly but did a good job at the holidays. I envisioned this being the church our girls would grow up in. Unfortunately, our favorite pastor left and the church dismantled.

There are two non-denominational Christian churches in our town that we heard were well liked. We attended one with our young children and got turned off by the overt forwardness we felt. They seemed all too eager to talk about and share their views. This was uncomfortable for my more reserved Catholic upbringing.

My husband didn’t seem to have as much of a need or sense of urgency to have our girls be raised in a church. He had the idea of doing church at home. I wasn’t sure but thought I’d give it a try. I purchased a children’s bible, some workbooks and a few other books at a local Christian store.

This worked well for a few years. We all learned a lot but I still felt unsettled. I literally would be woken at night riddled with guilt about not being involved in a church. My husband agreed to try the other non-denominational church in town. It was a much nicer experience. They have a separate children’s service which we thought was great.

We tried to be consistent but eventually we fell short. We found ourselves preferring lazy mornings at home on the one day a week we don’t have to rush out the door. Our girls told us that they weren’t learning anything and they liked church at home better.

We have always prayed before every meal and before bed. We talk about kindness. We have introduced yoga with meditation. We find peace and beauty in nature. We teach mindfulness, gratitude and treat others as you would want to be treated. We’ve more recently learned of the energy in crystals and have discussed the after life. We have been okay with our 13 year old daughter reading a book containing Buddhist poems. We give to charity without wanting recognition. We try to be kind to our earth.

I’m not sure what “religion” that is. Sometimes this bothers me. However, when I see my daughter’s meditating, doing yoga, choosing spiritual books, praying or being kind to others, I know we are doing a good job. We are guiding them to find their own “religion”, regardless of the label.

What is your “religion”? Are religion “labels” becoming a thing of the past?