I've been thinking a lot about religion lately. I was raised in a Christian church by a decidedly liberal family--raised to question the authority of the capital-c Church, to understand the historical aspects behind the Bible and those who wrote it. I never grew up thinking that the bible was infallible or that the world was literally created in 6 days. And I like that. I've always appreciated my parents' efforts to make my siblings and I educated, thoughtful, and non-complacent when it came to religion. At the same time, however, we have always attended church. The same church, in fact--always in our same pew, every Sunday. And recently, that church has started to chafe me a bit. I suppose it's been a growing problem for a long time, but has recently started coming to a head as I've spent more time thinking about what it is I really believe (and also just how much I can't stand the current pastor).
This newfound soul-searching has coincided with the fact that my friend Sue has recently begun attending a new church with her boyfriend and thoroughly enjoying it. This church is what is known as unitarian, which essentially means that as a church, they welcome people from all religious backgrounds and encourage members to seek their own Truth while affirming the inherent dignity and worth of all peoples and beliefs. That one sentence was enough to get me hooked, and further research into the idea basically showed me that this concept (at least on paper) is exactly what I have been looking for in a church all my life. I do consider myself somewhat more Christian-based than the unitarian church as a whole, but what I love about it is that I can be Christian and find my Truth in that way, while respecting that the person next to me may find the same Truth via Hindu scriptures or Humanism or Paganism or anything else. This, for me personally, is a huge revelation--I have always felt within myself that there is truth to be found in all the major religions of the world, and here is a religion that affirms that fact.
And so, with this exciting new knowledge, D and I joined Sue and her boyfriend John for church on Sunday. And we both really, really enjoyed it (which is relatively shocking, because D has always been an ardent non-supporter of organized religion) and wanted to return.
Hooray, right? The only problem is that while I feel such a draw to this practice, I have a feeling that my family may not be as supportive. It's probably a stupid fear--my mom in particular I don't think will mind too much, although she will probably be happier if I at least continue also attending our family church at least until my grandmother dies. My dad, on the other hand, is another matter. Not that he disapproves directly, but he tends to be very set about his traditions and life, and would probably be generally upset if I were to stop attending church with the rest of the family. In fact, when D and I broached the subject at family lunch on Sunday following the service, my dad's initial reaction was, "Wait, WHAT kind of church was this?!!?" Even though he may agree with may of the tenets, he just can't wrap his head around the idea that I would choose this path.
My problem is that I'm just not sure how to deal with this. Obviously I want to do what makes me happy and what I feel is right for me, but I also don't want to cause strife with my parents. Especially with my parents, my people-pleasing properties tend to be especially strong and problematic, and so part of me wants to just say they can get over it, and part of me wants to avoid confrontation. I'm obviously hopeful that they'll just come to accept my choices, but even if they don't, I hope that I'll find the courage to stand up for myself.