About myself and everyone else.
As a kid I went to church because I was told to, I really didn’t fight that much because much like most adults which I have later realized it’s a great place to meet up with people from the opposite sex and there was this really cute girl and because of the nature of polite climate at church and sunday school she had to chat to me , at school she could ignore me 🙂
Church came and went, much like those school friendships that had great intentions but it eventually just dwindle.
When I became a parent, I thought , hey. It’s time to teach my children about the story of Jesus and the christian God. So , our new family started going to church at http://www.fatima.org.za/. Now to give you some background on churches in South Africa. I’m Afrikaans, so I want to a “proper” afrikaans church, however by the time I had children and got married I’ve moved to an english area, at least an area where there are more Catholic churches around. My wife is catholic. This had the obvious problem. I couldn’t take the Eucharist. So patiently I sat each sunday and looked on while others got blessed, but not me, nope. I had a different christian badge because of my upbringing.
It didn’t bug me really, but I figured like everything else that I do, I like to do it properly or not at all so I enrolled in The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) . This was an adult course in the evenings 19:30 to about 21 … depending on the feedback from the classmates. In South Africa this is a risk itself, I had to go park in a dark parking lot, drove through a dodgy area or two renowned for hi-jackings and then head home, not to mention leaving my family at home but it was worth it right ?
As I went to the classes things became increasingly apparent 🙂 Don’t ask questions. I remember the topic of how through a miracle Constantine got converted and change the religion in Rome (To cut a long story short). Having read other roman books and seeing a couple of Discovery channel programs I asked the question, “some might say that Constantine decided, if you can’t beat them join them.” I tried to stay as close to the context of the classroom where possible but my questions weren’t answered, none of them in fact, and this is not just about me, I became increasingly aware that how other classmates answers weren’t answered too.
Another question of mine that I remember was that since Moses was brought up as royalty , he would have been well aware of the book of the dead. The Egyptian text that describes the challenges of the afterlife and the process of judgement. Thus, my question was that is there a possibility that the ten commandments which post date the book of the dead are very much the same. Thus the ten commandments is possibly not an original and much like Michael Tsarion elaborates on, Egyptian religion was branded as Christianity after all, Israel does originate from Isis , Ra and Elohim as some might say http://the-red-thread.net/IS-RA-EL.html
But given the context of a class and possibly not wanting to waste others time I was sort of still ok.
Then came a time when sessions where reaching an end and (I’m not sure what the process is called) but it basically got to a point where you are now aware of the pretext, and you now have to go in front of the church and then one sunday you will be “sworn” in to the formal acceptance of the journey, a sunday was chosen and you had to decided whether you are in or out.
While everyone is sitting in the circle each person was asked, (this was during a session) are you in-or -out. Obviously this nature of doing this creates a bit of pressure which I think is a bad way of doing it but hey, let’s go on. Eventually it was my turn, I always enjoyed sitting in the middle, not on the ends but in the middle right in front of the teacher. When my turn came, I said “no, I don’t think I’m just ready to do this. I don’t mind coming to more classes to learn more but for now I’m just not ready to go stand and make a promise when I don’t really agree with everything or understand it.” … this… was a problem. There was a bit of a pause, but the rest continued, yes, yes, yes..
After the session I was called aside and asked why I didn’t to join.
(A little more background. During my sessions for RCIA my wife and I were expecting our second child. We were nearing the end of the pregnancy and we had already been booked for the baptism by the church. We had everything confirmed and had even arranged with grand parents to come over for the event.)
My stance on the RCIA stayed the same for the final session and I said I will gladly come to more sessions to learn more but I’m just not ready for the final commitment.
Then my wife went into labor , a little premature. Well a couple off weeks, so it was a little panic stations given that my 2nd child had to go to neonatal and my wife was man down due and I had to run around a little more crazy than usual doing things that my wife normally did, drop-off , lunch , dinner etc for my other daughter while my wife and newborn was in hospital, this took a couple of weeks and they came home. For those who have had a C-section or wife who had one know it makes normal things difficult, imagine doing a thousand sit-ups… you suddenly realize you use your stomach muscles quite a bit.
So with me still being on support as a DBA and managing a toddler and newborn we didn’t go to church for probably a month. Interesting that during this absence we didn’t get a call from the parish to see if we were ok, we didn’t get the customary blessing in church with the arrival of a newborn, we didn’t get a hello or a good luck in neonatal.
Then when my wife was getting better she got back into the swing of things are the Sunday before the baptism called to confirm to everything was still good, just as @#% well she called. It turned out that it was decided that due to our poor attendance and my status of not accepting RCIA it turned out that the church deemed that we were not ready for the baptism. Good thing that my wife called because I still wonder what they would have done if we pitched up on the Sunday all dressed for baptizing our newborn. The fact that we didn’t get married in the catholic church also didn’t really help the matter.
I don’t even think we got refunded the fees that we paid for baptism and registration come to think about it.
The moral of the story, well, I haven’t taken the Eucharist and I haven’t converted to the Catholic church and I’m still married plenty of years later. Whether you need the church for more than meeting other people or other people’s wives, I don’t really know. I think you can make time to think about the good things in life, turn of the TV and go sit outside, take some minutes to think about the good stuff and how you can possibly be a better person, take the money you would have given to the church and put it towards real change.
If there is one thing from this story I ask you to learn, don’t distrust all people, perhaps distrust institutions hiding behind .Ltd or other legal barriers. Join with like-minded people, start your own meetings and come together, we all share a lot of the same problems in life, you would be surprised on how much the same we all are.