My Kind of Church

If you've struggled to find the right faith community for you, don't give up hope. I discovered my kind of church after years assuming one didn't exist.

I don’t write much on this blog about my personal spiritual exploration, simply because I don’t really do much of it. No time.

But since I’ve become a mom, I have given more thought to my spiritual and religious beliefs than I ever did during my self-involved 20s (when I actually had time for such things — oh well). There’s just something about the miracle of birth and life and motherhood that makes you think, “Surely there’s a higher power or being that’s making this happen?” Also, I didn’t want my kids to be the ones in school who are like “Jesus who?” or “What’s a Jew?” They should at least have some clue about their connection to a larger world/universe/spirit.

In the past couple of years, I’ve made a few attempts to find the right faith, church community, etc., only to be disappointed. I started thinking, maybe there’s just no place for me — a person turned off by most “organized religions” and pretty skeptical of anyone telling me their spiritual way is the only right way. I also wanted to make sure whatever I got involved with would be good for our kids, because I didn’t want to indoctrinate them with some BS religious beliefs that I personally felt were incongruous with our family’s values and moral code.

Then at the beginning of this year, I finally stumbled upon a liberal faith and a church community that really jived with our family: Unitarian Universalism. What a happy discovery! The people were so nice, genuine, intelligent and open-minded. I knew immediately this was my kind of church. The church itself was lovely, with lots of history and character. The community was active and full of opportunities for our participation. And overall, the church mission was one I could really get on board with:

Our urban Unitarian Universalist community celebrates and supports one another on our spiritual and ethical paths. We work for justice, dignity and respect for the web of life.

After attending Sunday services for a couple of months, and seeing how much our daughter enjoys her religious education classes while we’re in church, I signed up for the annual women’s retreat, which was this weekend. I’m so glad I did!

About 50 of us spent an entire day out in “the country,” getting to know each other, quietly reflecting on our inner goals and dreams, and celebrating life “in the moment.” We didn’t do much traditional “church stuff” as I have come to know it — no praying, reading the Bible or reflecting on the nature of sin/redemption — but instead did a lot of discussing, supporting, exploring and expressing ourselves. We even sang, danced and made some art. By the end of the long day, I felt more spiritually connected to my inner self and my fellow human beings than I have in a long time.

I realized that as busy as I am doing all my working-mom things, I owe it to myself to regularly spend a little quiet time on my spiritual self. It’s nourishing in a way that no other activity can be. And as I pursue the commitment of membership to this church, I intend to make our religious participation a family and personal priority. Amen to that, I say!

If you're looking for a liberal faith you can raise your kids in, without compromising your own beliefs, I found my kind of church. It might work for you, too!

8 thoughts on “My Kind of Church

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad that you posted this! I have been going through this same thing. My husband and I come from pretty religious families, yet neither of us are religious and have fairly skeptical views. Since having kids I have had the same concerns about how to raise my children so they are not left in the dark. Plus I think having a sense of community is important. I have been looking at the web site of my local UUC church for about a year now, but have not taken the plunge. Thanks for the post this makes me want to go even more now!

  2. While both my future husband and I are not religious (me atheist, he agnostic) we most definitely plan to have a bible in the house, ready for inspection by our children when we have one. Along with a Koran. And a Torah. And teaches from Buddha, etc.

    I’d love to find a nice, secular/humanistic community to join in a few years, so they can grow up with other kids in the same sort of families as them. But I suppose we’d settle for a UU church, if we had to. It’s better than nothing. Well, it’s better than a typical church, anyhow.

  3. The Monkey's Momma says:

    I love the picture of “Buddy Christ”. Yes I know it’s from Dogma.

    This was a great post and no matter what you choose, it’s great that you are choosing to teach them anything. I mean it’s good that you are taking an interest. I believe in God and a higher power. We can’t do this on our own. But I know everyone doesn’t and that’s ok. Just so you pass along some beliefs to you children is good. It shows you care that they grow up to be decent, well rounded adults. I applaude you for taking an interest in your kids. Not all parents do. GOOD FOR YOU!.

  4. Debbie Effler says:

    Susan, I don’t see you much these days but I’m happy to hear you found a UU church. We are also UUs, and got involved for similar reasons. It’s really given me a great community of like-minded friends and helped us raise our kids to understand the importance of respecting diverse beliefs.

  5. This issue of religion is so sticky, but I am glad to find that I am not the only one in this delimna of raising children to understand the culture/s they live in and with. My husband and I are church shopping now looking for a brand of religion that will satisfy my need for tolerance (as I am atheist) and his need for traditional spiritual religious service. Thank you for posting.

  6. Stressed Family Strong Family says:

    I forgot to mention in my post earlier today that there are free samples from Stressed Family, Strong Family going up periodically at my Stressed Family Blog
    Bill Taylor
    William R. Taylor, M.D.

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