A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Religion and the great divide
This is a touchy subject. Let me state at the outset that the Omegas are not religious. Spiritual...agnostic (as in "I do not know")...but not religious. Omegamom's background on one side is that of at least three previous generations being non-religious; on the other side, it is Anglican, high-Church Episcopalian, with a large dash of New England reticence. On the one hand, she got quite a dose of religious pomp and circumstance, going to church with grandma and grandpa on Sundays at Saint Luke's, which had, amongst other amenities, the most wonderful organ with a trumpet fanfare that would make the air quiver when playing "Hail Thee, Festival Day" for Easter. (This left OmegaMom with a great love for old religious music.) On the other hand, she spent summers with the other grandparents, and got a similarly hearty dose of...well...total disinterest in churchy things. OmegaDad's background is Southern Baptist and Church of Christ. (The lack of music is something he makes note of.) He is virulently anti-fundamentalist as a result. He tells tales of noticing at an early age that the people who were the most churchy in the congregations tended to be the ones who were the most hypocritical. He had a short stint in his early 20s when he spent a great deal of time with Father John, a Catholic priest who shared his passion for fishing, discussing various religious subjects. Anyway. My attitude towards religion and spirituality tends to be that it's something that...well...it's private. (Remember that "New England reticence" mentioned above?) It's definitely not something that you should be pushing on other people. The Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons who come to our doors are chatted with briefly, we accept their tracts, sometimes read them, and then toss them into the recycle bin. Luckily, we haven't had any who were more assertive (and having a large growling barking slavering dawg on the other side of the glass doors provides a grand deterrant). In various email lists I have been on over the years, there's a certain etiquette to follow. On infertility lists, you make sure you mention in the subject line when you're talking about pregnancy, birth, kids, etc. Flame wars would erupt regularly, when new people who had children would innocently post about them, be requested to put the proper code in the subject, and promptly feel hurt and defensive. Folks with long-term primary infertility (no kids) would try to explain the pain reading about little Johnny's cute behavior at the family gathering could cause them. Folks new to the IF game would counter with how bitter and miserable the others were--after all, didn't they all want baybeeees? They didn't feel that way! Surely a mention or two of someone's child or pregnancy couldn't possibly be painful! Religion is such a touchy subject that many email lists devoted to particular subjects have similar etiquette rules. If your post is pretty much religion-oriented, you are requested to put "(God ment.)" or "(rel.)" or something of the sort in the subject line. In the Chinese adoption community, there are myriad lists...especially those related to the "DTC" date. (DTC="dossier to China".) When you submit your dossier, given the standardization of the Chinese adoption process, all the folks who sent in their dossiers in the same month are likely to end up receiving referrals at the same time, and also likely to travel at the same time. DTC groups are a way to provide community for folks who are waiting (and waiting...and waiting) for their referrals. You chit-chat, you talk about nurseries and pediatricians, you do scrapbook exchanges, you maybe join a "100 Good Wishes" quilting square exchange, you share your ups and downs about the wait and life in general. (When we traveled to China, there were two other families in our travel group who I had gotten to know on our DTC group.) The problem sometimes comes that folks to whom religion is very important clash with those to whom it's not. Some DTC groups are overrun with religiosity. Some aren't. And the flames start up..."Please remember that there are folks on the list who don't want to be told that the support of Christ will help us with the wait." "Are you telling me to not share my love of Christ?! It's an integral part of my life and I won't be told to shut it out!" "Some of us are very satisfied with our spiritual life and don't appreciate being told that there is Only One Way." Etc. Y'see, there's a great divide. Some Christian churches actively promote proselytizing (sp?)...it is an integral part of their religion that they must shout it to the rooftops, they must Share The Word of God, they must Witness. If someone doesn't want to listen, they seem to feel that this person must be "shared" with, because otherwise, they are Lost. (Funny story: a friend of mine, back in Chicago, walking down State Street at lunchtime, is followed by an itinerant preacher, haranguing her about the Word of God. At one point, he proclaims to her, "WOMAN! You are LOST!" Having had it, she spins around and shouts at him, "Then why are you FOLLOWING ME?!?!") And then there are folks like us Omegas. To people like us, people who insist on Sharing The Word of God, after being requested not to, are being...well...pushy. And, in some cases, downright insulting. After all, telling someone that their deeply held beliefs are going to lead them straight to hell isn't the best way to win friends and influence people. Telling other people that they are misguided, foolish, lost, should be praying to Jesus for forgiveness, or whathaveyou, is a surefire recipe for hostility and defensiveness. To top it all off, most of the people who tend to Witness (either live or on lists) also tend to complain that Christianity is being persecuted in the U.S. (when 80% of U.S. people surveyed identify themselves as Christian), blather on about activist judges secularizing society (but don't mind activist judges who try to codify religious belief into law), want prayer in school to be required (or simply don't understand why a whole slew of people don't want prayer in school), push for teaching Intelligent Design as science, want to restrict or abolish women's ability to have abortions--no matter what reason--based on their religious beliefs, and seem to have a really hard time separating the idea of legal marriage versus religious marriage. Anyway, there's been some hoorah on one of the DTC groups, and it has split into (at least) two. Folks who want respite from endless prayer circles and admonishments that Jesus will support them in their times of trouble (the referral wait is lengthening) have formed their own group, and, from what I hear, it's growing by leaps and bounds. Sadly, I think this split reflects society at large. How do you reconcile two such drastically opposed world views? I hope the U.S. can find a way. Because it sure is getting ugly out there. Categories: [This 'n That] [Adoption Issues]
posted by Kate @ 12/17/2005 12:32:00 AM  
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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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