I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
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28-06-2013, 09:59 PM
Sad I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
It isn't often I set foot in a church. I have gone to church thrice in the past...I dunno 8 years or so. Two of those times were for funerals, but I have agreed to be part of a church service this Sunday. I am not at all excited about the prospect, but I felt obligated to agree. My wife's grandmother is an active church member...pretty active. She is about the sweetest woman I've ever known, and has treated me as one of her grandchildren for over a decade. She asked me to carry a flag for an Independence Day ceremony preceding the sermon in uniform as I am the only person the church committee knows of who is still serving. She was very excited that I agreed to do it, but I do not share the excitement at all. This denomination in particular denounces, and even prohibits it's members from drinking alcohol, they regularly boycott anything related to homosexuality, and so on. Strict fundamentalist. I hate a lot of what they stand for, but I could not bring myself to say "no", so here I am. I am wondering if I could kind of disappear after the ceremony, but probably not. God, I hate church. Blink I know that both her grandparents wouldn't hesitate to help me with anything I needed help with, and normally I'd have no reservations helping them as well, but this, why this? Fuck.

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29-06-2013, 07:03 AM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
It will be ok, I think you are doing the right thing for what it is worth. Family members who have been nothing but kind to you etc. are rare sometimes, especially ones who you know will be there. It is one day and walking into a church isn't going to hit you with a super secret religious ray that will "reveal" the truth to you. I agree with you as well, I would not like it either, but for a family member like you described, you are going to be doing something that means a lot to them.

"History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god."
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29-06-2013, 07:39 AM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
Damn, the only thing I can offer up in suggestion is to wear rainbow underwear - 'cause I'm pretty sure uniform code has it that anything that is viewable needs to keep with regulation.

Weeping

I tried. You tough through it. PM me later if you actually did it. Big Grin

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29-06-2013, 07:49 AM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
(28-06-2013 09:59 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  It isn't often I set foot in a church. I have gone to church thrice in the past...I dunno 8 years or so. Two of those times were for funerals, but I have agreed to be part of a church service this Sunday. I am not at all excited about the prospect, but I felt obligated to agree. My wife's grandmother is an active church member...pretty active. She is about the sweetest woman I've ever known, and has treated me as one of her grandchildren for over a decade. She asked me to carry a flag for an Independence Day ceremony preceding the sermon in uniform as I am the only person the church committee knows of who is still serving. She was very excited that I agreed to do it, but I do not share the excitement at all. This denomination in particular denounces, and even prohibits it's members from drinking alcohol, they regularly boycott anything related to homosexuality, and so on. Strict fundamentalist. I hate a lot of what they stand for, but I could not bring myself to say "no", so here I am. I am wondering if I could kind of disappear after the ceremony, but probably not. God, I hate church. Blink I know that both her grandparents wouldn't hesitate to help me with anything I needed help with, and normally I'd have no reservations helping them as well, but this, why this? Fuck.

Making your wife's grandmother happy Thumbsup

Someone on this forum once adviced another in a similar situation to go with the mindset of an anthropologist participating in a tribal ritual. You are there to observe and take notes and then report back to us.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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29-06-2013, 08:50 AM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
I served in the USN for awhile and unfortunately, during boot-camp we all had to go to Church. I went to the memorial of a dear friend in Formal Whites. The "God bless you's." and "Jesus loves you's" Can get annoying and make you feel uncomfortable but as a soldier you develop a mindset that sometimes you have to do things you don't feel comfortable with. You are doing the right thing, just tell the people that ask about what you believe that you don't feel comfortable talking about it.

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" - Albert Einstein
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29-06-2013, 11:06 AM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
I guess I'll have to be a contrarian here. If it were me, I wouldn't take part in the service. By doing so, you're giving tacit approval to what the church stands for. You're putting someone else's sensitivities ahead of your own conscience. That's not being true to yourself.

Have you considered sitting down with your wife's grandmother and explaining to her, as sweetly and gently as you can, that you appreciate her request but that you have to refuse, because what the church stands for goes against your deeply held personal beliefs? Give her an analogy: If you were gay and you asked her to march with you in the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) contingent of a gay pride parade, how would she feel? She might be able to relate to that.

All of that being said, I don't know the details of your family dynamic, in particular whether you're out to your family members in terms of your beliefs. So obviously you need to do what feels right to you in this situation.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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29-06-2013, 11:09 AM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
(28-06-2013 09:59 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  I could kind of disappear after the ceremony...

...or, you could be

THE MOST PROMINENT VARIABLE, ATHEIST.

Sorry, capslock flashback. Blush

/or/

(29-06-2013 07:49 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  Making your wife's grandmother happy Thumbsup

Someone on this forum once adviced another in a similar situation to go with the mindset of an anthropologist participating in a tribal ritual. You are there to observe and take notes and then report back to us.

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29-06-2013, 02:24 PM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
Thanks for the feedback all. cts, unfortunately I don't own any rainbow underwear, but if I did, it would be rather funny. I'm wearing my dress whites, which means any color underwear other than white (or skin tone) will be extremely visible. Big Grin I used to do "colors" (a ceremony) with a girl that always wore neon colored thongs under her dress whites. Full Circle, I think you're thinking is essentially the same as mine on the matter. She always bends over backwards for everyone else (including myself), so when she asks for something I should try to oblige her. cufflink, of course I feel torn about it. For me it isn't one of those times where I feel I need to take a stand. You're right, I'm not being true to myself. I make my political positions known, but my theological positions are mostly secret. I suffer less pain from hiding my thoughts on the subject than if I would reveal them. Mostly it is a subject I avoid within family circles, though many family members suspect I may not be a Christian. It's kind of like my gay cousin. He is gay, though he doesn't say so outright. It is obvious enough that everyone in the family knows he is gay, but it is not discussed. If it were discussed there would be hurt feelings and judgement and condemnation. Nothing good would come from it, so it isn't discussed. Ignore the gay, but remain against homosexuality, ignore the irreligious, but condemn anything not Christian.

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29-06-2013, 02:36 PM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
Dark Light,
If this was just a church that held contrary beliefs, then I would agree that you should go for the sake of family relations. But, because you said they take an active stance against things like homosexuality, that makes it different in my mind. Think of them as the KKK because they may as well be. In a similar way, they are oppressing a group of people that they see as different. Maybe it's not as violent as the historical KKK has been, but the principal is the same in my view. While I understand your position, if it was me, I couldn't do it.

But I won't judge you for your decision because I fully understand the matter is complex. It sounds like your atheism isn't necessarily known. Your wife's grandmother has been very good to you. And, in a small way, you are also honoring your country. Besides, it's not like you will be participating in an anti-gay boycott or anything else like that. It's really an Independence Day event.

I don't envy you having to make that choice.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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29-06-2013, 03:03 PM
RE: I'm Going to be Part of a Church Service this Sunday.
DL:

Hope I didn't come across as being unsympathetic to your situation. I realize only too well what these things are like.

When my father died back in New York, and again years later when my mother died, I fully participated in the Orthodox Jewish rituals. So did my brother. As was expected of the eldest son, I gave the eulogy for my dad and carried out the 7-day ritual mourning period that followed like a "good son," all the while knowing what the rabbi and the orthodox community my parents were a part of would have thought about my brother and me, had they known we were a couple of gay atheists. Not to have done so would have been scandalous, and would have dishonored my parents in the eyes of their community.

Family matters are complicated.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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