Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Talking 'bout my religion

As the Pope spends his last day as the leader of the Catholic Church, I am reminded of my early years and why I no longer am part of organized religion.

Now it wasn't always this way.  I started out really liking church.  Queen of All Saints - isn't that the best name in the world for a church.  I think it is.  And Father Dettmer...he was the coolest priest ever.  It wasn't that he was loosy goosy or tried to be modern, it was because he was rational.  He talked to everyone about The Lord in regular terms.  He didn't breathe fire and brimstone.  He told the  stories of the bible in a way I understood.  Now the Catholic Church really missed out on all the mysteries of the bible by having the 3 year rotating gospel loop.  There were so many stories I never even knew existed until my college courses in the New and Old Testaments.  We were not encouraged to read the bible.  We just showed up every Sunday after mass to be taught by some harsh nun.

Sister Macrina (may she be burning in Hell right now) was one of if not THE wickedest human being I have ever known.  If tested, it may have been shown she was actually Lucifer himself.  She basically ruined my name for me on the Sunday that she went desk by desk telling each child what saint they were named after.  That is until she came to me.  When it was finally clarified that I was not named Michelle after a bit of protesting, she proceeded to tell me I wasn't named after a saint and moved on.  I was severely embarrassed and hurt.  In fact I tear up now as I write this.  It was one of the most hurtful moments of my life.  I will never forget it.

This wonderful experience (sarcasm) mixed with the "you must attend church every Sunday" even when you felt like crap and had a migraine philosophy at my house made me realize that as soon as I could I would leave the church.  I knew even as a kid I could pray wherever and whenever I needed or wanted to.  I didn't need the four walls and ornate things to meet my needs.  I just wanted someone like Father Dettmer to talk to me and teach me the good stuff and why we should make certain decisions.

So when I had children I started back to the church because I thought it was the right thing to do for my kids regardless of how I felt.  It was all okay, I was teaching Sunday school until the day one of my students asked if it was okay to attend another church when on vacation.  I said yes it was.  God is everywhere.  He will listen to you wherever you are and whenever you need Him.  Apparently that was the wrong answer.  I was told that is wasn't okay to tell this child she had options and they told me I couldn't be a teacher anymore.  So I left in total and took my children with me.  My mom even called the church and diocese to express her disgust to no avail.  my parents are very strong in the church and donate heavily.  I let my children know it was up to them what they wanted to believe and if they wanted organized religion.  Two have chosen to keep on believing, one has chosen not to.  It is all okay with me.  God loves all of us.

As for Father Dettmer, I will never forget the joy he gave me.  He even married me in the church when he knew I was already pregnant.  He was a good man.  I thank him for what he gave me.

May you all be of a sound mind to make the decisions best for you and know you don't have to be in a church to be religious and don't have to be a member of organized religion to have a relationship with God.