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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Losing My Parent's Religion

Train up a child in the way he should go,

 even when he is old he will not depart from it." 
Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)

I wonder just how someone can understand how painful this journey can be... unless they have walked that road themselves. And having walked that road, they can understand and can feel things like loneliness, doubt, guilt, shame, betrayal, condemnation, rejection, disappointment, confusion, regret, remorse, anger, judgement... from and towards themselves, others and even at times...  God.

I am not the only person who has walked away from the religion of their childhood. And my parents are not the only parents who have raised their child in what they believed to be right... only to see that child walk out that door.

For this blog, I am using the word religion instead of faith.  I want to be clear about what not just me -  but a lot of people are walking out on.  It's the parents'  religion, not necessarily the parents' faith. 


Religion is an organized collection of beliefscultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.

Faith is confidence or trust in a person (as in their ability), thing, deity, in the doctrines or teachings of a religion, or view even without empirical evidence. It can also be belief that is not based on proof, or as confidence based upon varying degrees of evidential warrant. The word faith is often used as a conceptual synonym for hope, trust,  belief or knowledge.

My synopsis:
 Religion is belief in something.
Faith is belief in someone.

"Point your kids in the right direction-when they’re old they won’t be lost."
Proverbs 22:6 (MESSAGE) 

Losing something is not the same as getting lost.  I guess that is why I like the Message translation of Proverbs 22:6 better than the NASB.  

I lost something, but I didn't get lost.  I understand that there is often confusion between the two.  That is why there is so much emotion mixed up in the relationships when someone "departs" from what they were "trained up" on.  


But first, take a listen to this song from the Irish Rovers.

My Mom was raised Lutheran and my Dad was raised Mennonite.  When they got married, my Dad became a Lutheran.  Both my sister and I were baptized as babies in the Lutheran Church.  When I was four years old, we moved from town to the farm and because the Lutheran Church was an hour's drive, our family started attending the local Mennonite church (where my Oma and Opa attended). That  arrangement worked for a few years until my sister was confirmation age and my parents decided the drive was worth it to maintain the family's commitment to their Lutheran beliefs. 

I spend most of my childhood surrounded by Mennonites.  My dad's family and the community we lived in were Mennonite.  The Lutheran culture was something I experienced for an hour or two a week.  

That was the beginning... the journey spans over my lifetime.  I went where my parents went.  I didn't argue much.  I got confirmed Lutheran, went to a Lutheran high school and then onto a Lutheran Bible school for a couple months short of two years.  

I went where my parents went... even when they weren't there to go with me.  I guess a psychological analysis would narrow that down to the need for approval. 

I guess looking back, I was confused for most of the journey. Once I was able to commit,  there was no solid commitment. 

For most of my twenties, I was in and out of the Lutheran church.   Still hesitant to let it go entirely. I guess the last thing I wanted to do is disappoint the two people who brought me into this world.  So, I held on to the religion out of obligation and fear of rejection.  


... but that's okay, too.  

This picture is of a church building in Alberta.  My dad (with a little help from his family) built the steeple.  The original one was rotten and Dad was hired to build a replacement over thirty years ago.  This building is no longer used as a meeting house for the local Lutherans, it is a meeting place for artists.  I guess this building and I have something in common.  It lost something too... but it's not lost.  

Maybe another blog post might be "Keeping my Parents' Faith".  It's their faith that I admired and admire most about them.  While their religion left a bad taste in my mouth, it's their faith that I want more than anything. 

 Like I said... another blog post. 

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