Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Dreaded Church Question

 

It finally happened. Someone asked the dread church question here at the continuum care complex. I’m surprised it took this long for one of my fellow residents to ask if I have a “church family,” which is a variation of “what church to you belong to?” or “go to?” that has plagued me my entire life, having grown up in what was once known as The City of  Churches.

When I was a kid, my parents didn't go to church but we lived within walking distance to four-five different denominations of Christian churches---yada yada yada---skip this and the next paragraph if you've heard it all before. Anyway, for a couple of years my brother and I were required to walk down to which ever church we wanted to go to on Sundays until I turned 10 or 12. We tried them all and we also went to some summer day camps sponsored by churches and I still have a silhouette of praying children I made at one of them. I'm not sure how my folks found out but there came a point when we'd often go up to the Indian mounds instead going to a church where we looked for arrowheads instead of learning about Jesus at Sunday school.

I probably wouldn’t have had that much exposure to the church if not for an incident that happened on the playground that started it all when another girl announced she couldn’t play with me anymore because I was“heathen who didn’t go to church.” That was the first time but certainly not the last time I lost friends after the dread church question came up and I was outed, so to speak, as a 'heathen.'

Having gone almost three months before the question was asked here I was starting to relax, thinking it wouldn't come up. But it did, in the fine dining restaurant on campus and I was sitting next to the college art professor when she popped the question. The two of us were sitting next to each other. Not by choice, by the way, there were place cards that night to go along with our reservations. They do that sometimes if they expect a full house and they don’t want to chance those of us with a reservation for one to tie up a table they need to set a larger group.

In past years I’ve had a variety of evasive answers I used to reply to the church question---"I’m between churches" being the one I used the most in my 20s and 30s and being that I was in the wedding floral business for those twenty-plus years I was well versed on the locations and insides of all the churches in town. I even had in-depth conversations with some of the pastors, preachers, priests and rabbis so I could talk a good game on the topic. Plus I’d taken several comparative religion classes in college, but more importantly I became an expert at changing the topic. It’s only been in the last 5-6 years that I’ve come out of the church closet, so to speak, and I’ve gotten used to the fact that the sky did not open up and I did not get extracted from earth like a SciFi space craft that zaps earthlings up to process our bodies into energy. So this time when the professor asked the church question I answered with a heart pounding, “No. Long story...” and thankfully someone from across the table asked the professor something, saving me from telling the tale of how my brother and I (and our parents) grew up without a church.

Not sure if I’ll get ostracized here or not when/if it becomes common knowledge that I’m not a Christian. And I was kind of shocked that it was the professor who asked the question but playing it over in my mind I think she asked to draw me into the general conversation because I’d been pretty quiet and her teacher instincts kicked in; I've seen her do that on several occasions try to draw the quiet ones into a conversation. (Have I mentioned I'm still fangirling her?) She and the other two at the table where having an extensive discussion about church choirs around the city. Icon Lady was at table and as nice as she is I've only found one topic of common interest between us---knitting. She’s probably the most creative knitter I’ve ever known. Each day she wears a different sweater or scarf with an intrigue pattern and she doesn't even use patterns. But you can only talk so long about various knitting stitches before the topic shifts and I have nothing to say. She talks a lot so she doesn't notice. And I'm fine with that.

The dreaded church question is how I know I’ll never form good friends here. I hold too much of myself back---the whole religion thing, the fact that I’ll read trashy romance books, the fact that I love to write, the fact that I'm a Flaming Liberal and the fact that I’m not easily offended. For example on the latter point, recently at dinner I asked the other women why they don’t like eating with one of the guys---it was pretty clear he was being ostracized from the group table---and the answer was because he calls everyone “Honey”.  Ohmygod, he calls his daughter and granddog ‘Honey’ as well. It’s nothing sexual or sexist or condescending the way he says it. At least not in my mind. I just assumed its because he’s in his mid-eighties and he can’t remember everyone’s name.

Ya, ya, I know it's 2022; I'm a feminist too but if he IS being sexist then you're not going to change a guy that age so why 'punish' him for being a product of his times? Why not just keep reminding him of your name if it bothers you that much? I thought all those things but I didn't say any of them out loud. If others want to live with bees in their bonnets over being called "honey" then who am I go full-out Pollyanna on them?

My world is full of foibles and nuances and I don't do well with people who see their world in blacks and whites. Or maybe I’m the one with tunnel vision and I can’t see my own prejudges are keeping others from getting to know the real me. I comfort myself by imagining that no one is really who or what others see, that at the core we all have our secrets and inner child's we protect from further harm. But I've got to admit there are days when I want to bitch-slap my inner child and tell her to grow up. And I'd put the F word in between the 'grow' and 'up' but I know it would offend someone out there in cyberspace. And that's another thing I do that I don't reveal to only a select few---I'm well acquainted with swear words. I even had to quit reading Military Romances because they put me at risk for having the crude language evade the filter in my aging brain and even I don't like to hear old broads swear like soldiers. ©

64 comments:

  1. I would have problem with the church question too, assuming they didn't like my "no". I hope it doesn't cause problems for you.

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    1. I had the same experience, after moving into a 55 and older community. Give me a break. Trying to be pleasant without losing my mind. It really isn't anyone's business.

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    2. I've never, ever thought of the church question not being anyone's business or not. I guess it's been so common all my life that I don't see that way.

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  2. LOL... if we're asked about churches, we just say we quit going because I'm more spiritual than religious. It shuts down any further conversation. Truth is that we quit going when they quit having a babysitter on site. Easy-peasy. And I am more spiritual than religious. I could do a real rant about churches -- but I won't.

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    1. That's a great answer. Truly great and I may have to try it out.

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  3. This is an interesting subject, Jean. I've always thought it ironic when members of various churches argue who's "right" when the premise of most religions is love and acceptance. I was raised in a legalistic type church environment, and I knew my parents thought our church was right, so all the others must be wrong. I sure got my eyes opened when I taught parochial school in both Protestant and Catholic settings. There were fabulous students/parents across the board. Of course, there were difficult students/parents in both camps, too. I've often thought it would be better if people were encouraged to share what they believe, in their own words, rather than reciting a handbook used by a denomination. Some of the most spiritual people I have met do not attend a church. My husband and I have not been attending church during Covid (of course, we don't go very many places right now, lol). It has been an interesting journey. Denominations were created by humans. I think that's probably where the trouble starts...

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    1. Interesting how each person on earth has an opinion about churches, religion and spirituality but so few of us can walk the talk they all teach and more importantly hold others up to the standards they think a Christian should be.

      Thanks for sharing............!

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    2. Pam, I totally agree. My father was the most honest person I've ever known, but he was allergic to church due to his own upbringing. He lived a life according to the Christian principles he was taught, but he never entered churches. Denominations were created by humans - absolutely true, and definitely where the trouble starts.
      Nina

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  4. Outstanding post! Loved reading it!

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    1. Thanks. I've ranted on this topic 2-3 times in the past.

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  5. Don't know if your "no" religion will be used to shun you or to convert you. Hang in there. I moved into the Bible belt which is heavily Baptist or Pentecostal and was constantly asked to join up. So I just say I watch which ever one appeals to me on TV. That is more effective now with Covid and all. That seems to satisfy. Good luck.

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    1. My "in between churches" answer occasionally brought me Hollywood invitations to try someone's churches and that would get them talking about the virtues of their church without me having to talk. Back in my 20s I'd even accepted a few times. After my husband's stroke some of our x-friends tried to get us to go to their new church because they did faith healing there. They are x-friends because they essentially tried to 'kidnap' my wheelchair bound husband who couldn't talk to take him there on Sunday. Don was more anti-church than I am, having had some childhood abuses from the local church himself. They were so sure if someone laid hands on him he'd be cured and I was a villain for not letting them take him where he didn't want to go.

      A lot of the people I see daily here are in the Christian book club and they sometimes talk about the books they're reading at mealtimes. I just don't get why people who only read from the Christian genre keep needing the promise of salvation to enjoy a book. I've read a couple of those genre books and they were full of all kinds of sins and sinners but in the end they all find God. There are more kind hearts and loving people in romance genre books but those get scorned as smut because---gasp!---the love sometimes comes with sex.

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  6. Ah, the religious question. That's one that worries me about choosing an independent or assisted living place in the future. Here in the Deep South, it's not just whether you attend a church, but whether you attend the right kind of church. The last time I visited my home town, nearly every house in town had a three-foot tall white cross on the front lawn. Our daughters were told they weren't Christian because we had chosen that their "introduction to religion" be in the Catholic Church because it was more liberal than the others and less likely to subject young children to lengthy descriptions of how their skin would crisp "like chicken skin when it was fried" if they did anything wrong, as I was as a child. When my young-adult horror novels were published, people would ask me why I wrote what I did, I told them about my experience and added that as a twelve-year-old, my neighbor and I spent the whole summer reading Revelations, with the approval of our parents and pastor.

    I hope you find that people will cherish your spirit and enjoy being around you, church family or not.

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    1. I can't imagine the pressure of growing up in the right church down in the Deep South. The 3 foot crosses on the front lawn is scary thought and for what purpose? Rhetorical question. I know the answer.

      I have to be respectful that this place is a Christian based campus, a very liberal kind of mother church though. So I don't intent to make any waves or go out of my way set myself apart. There was no Litmus Test to get in so I don't expect it to be as big a deal as the little girl inside me fears.

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    2. Here in my town there are numerous houses with three foot tall white crosses in their front yards. I think they were given out by the churches around Easter because some, not all of them, have "He is risen!" on them. They stay up year round though.

      When I see them, I often chuckle because to me they look like either a depiction of Boot Hill from a western movie, or a pet cemetery. That's how warped I am. :)

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    3. Jean, it was a town-wide protest after an atheist group had asked that a big cross in a nearby state park be taken down. What made it so eerie was that it was on every lawn I saw. I kept thinking of a Jewish friend who tells me she's still asked to sing Christmas songs in auditions for community theater because "everyone knows them." What would she feel, driving through that town?

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    4. Boot Hill or a pet cemetery. That's a good way to view those crosses. LOL There are a very few homes around here that have religious stuff like that in their yards but it's not common place.

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  7. Ive been non religious all my life. Not my family or friends, husband nor most of his family, so it’s just natural for me to say "I’m not a church goer" or simply I don’t go to church. If they dont like it, tough! My friends where I am in life now are all non religious and that’s who I associate with. I just can’t abide this new evangelical trump Christianity that are anti minorities, poor, immigrants, gays, science etc. etc. I want no part of that. Stick to your guns. I’m sure there are others like you there, they just tend to keep quiet about it.

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    1. Our book club discussion (my next post) had one of those Trump Christians speaking up. I just don't get how anyone can call themselves a Christian and be so anti everything which is certainly not what THEY learned in Sunday school. Politics and religion have been in bed together before but not to this extent.

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    2. I meant nor were my family, husband etc.religious. Never been around too many religious folk in my entire life. I avoid them

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  8. Hi, I'm Dawn, and I Swear a lot. *winks* Even as a deeply Spiritual person I don't particularly like Churchy folks, so many are disingenuous and have a form and a fashion of Religion and reveal very little evidence that they have any Relationship with their God, or god, as the case may be, since some Fundie Religions are so out there I couldn't even fathom who they actually worship? I grew up as you did, in a Family that had no interest in Church attendance. On the Rez most Indian Children only went to a Church to have enough food to eat, so Dad's Family were a motley crew of various Religions... besides, most Organized Religions only wanted to Save the Savage Heathen and not consider them as actual Human Beings deserving of respect, dignity or equal Rights. My Mom had a Buddhist Dad and my Nanna was not one to ever reveal her Religious affiliation, if she even had any. In Mom's Country there were less Religious Options, she thought America had a virtual smorgasbord of Denominations by comparison. She let us choose our own Path, we Prayed daily but it was never forced, since Relationship with The Creator was what both Parents felt we should have, not Religion per se. A lot of heinous acts have been done in the Name of various Religions, all have suffered their share of Zealots. I don't think you probably would find a good fit for Close Ties with the Churchy Crowd frankly and being authentic to Self is far more important than conforming to whatever they have expectations of trying to shape you into. I like you just how you are and so will many others... sorry the dreaded Topic even had to come up, yet, it almost always does.

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    1. You have a fascinating family tree. Your love of religious icons of all types makes sense now...often wondered where that came from.

      You definitely aren't afraid to show your authentic self and when I grow up I want to be just like you. Well, minus the kid drama. LOL But with kid drama you are one tough lady and I admire that.

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    2. WHAT... you don't want to grow up and have Kid Drama?! *Bwahahahaha*

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  9. oh dear. I'd flunk out of your village. I swear like a sailor and make no apologies for it and I believe your religion is your business and you should keep it to yourself...in every way! I know a lot of great atheist who are kinder and better people than so called "christians". But your comment about the 80 year old. I'd get up and sit with him. How awful that they shun him for being his age. My husband said something recently that made me feel he has entered that "age" When I told him he can't say that anymore, he truly didn't understand why. I tried to explain but he kept saying, but, but...so I just said even if you don't understand never ever say that again. Keep that in your head. I didn't find what he said offensive either but I know the young woman who he may say this around and she is "woke" and she would jump down that boomers throat. So I understand the 80 year old who thinks terms of endearment are harmless. Once I told an older man that I knew he means "honey" and "sweetie" in a nice way but they make me uncomfortable and I wish you'd call me my name. Peggy, instead of a term of endearment. He laughed and said, "Okay heard you loud and clear" That's all a boomer needs to hear I think to make them realize they need to rethink this through...then again maybe not :-). Those church ladies prefer to judge and shun than put out a hand. Hmm...religious huh?šŸ˜œ

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    1. I thought you'd be the blogger friend who'd say the old man should learn not to say 'honey' instead of those of us he calls that to just accepting it. At lot I know. LOL Love how you handled the old guy who used terms of endearment on you.

      After I wrote this post I learned that he also isn't invited to sit at the main table because he drinks too much. So, again. a lot I know. Different people have different reasons for ostracized him.

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    2. I say "Dear" and "Darling" a lot, mostly since I can't remember Names or don't know the name, so far, nobody has seemed offended... but, I think an Older Woman isn't considered as much a Threat as an Older Man? I think he could be harmless, but you never really know... one Older Blog Friend said they just had their 2nd Sexual Offense in her Senior Complex... so perhaps some of those Older Ladies are just being cautious around Men in general? And especially one they feel might become drunk? Just a thought.

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  10. It just boggles my mind that the same people who supposedly practice a religion where the leader was by all accounts non-judgemental and loving and accepting of the "lowest of the low" in his society become the people he hated the most: the self-righteous Pharisees...or at least that is how I remember it from my days of reading the bible. I have been asked the church question too, and have replied breezily "oh, I'm not a Christian", which usually ends up with someone staring gape-mouthed at me. I have found that the people who truly walk the talk of the Christian religion will never ask that question, and they don't care if you go to church or not; only if you are a good person or not.

    Deb

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    1. I can see how your answer could stop someone from asking follow-up questions. I was shocked last week to learn one of the women here who is active in a church choir say she does not believe in God. I was, as you say, left gape-mouthed.

      Your assumption that people who truly walk the talk of their religion will never aske the church question I probably spot on. My do-good, very church involved cousin has never asked me and she really does walk the talk better any anyone I know.

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    2. Love your answer! I finally started saying straight out that I am an atheist. Also stops questions about religion.

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    3. It feels good not to have to lie or fudge answers to that question, doesn't it. I am probably closer to being an atheist than an agnostic but that's too much of a step for me to say that to others. To me, if a person believes in God then there is one for that person. And I do believe like some denominations that God is the personification of love, that the two words can be used interchangeably.

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  11. "I was raised Catholic, but I've finally gotten over it," is what I usually start with. In most cases that response is enough.

    If anyone has bad enough manners to push further, then I let them know I'm an atheist, and I let them know why--that I've yet to see a single benefit that organized religion or faith has brought to the world, and that I live my life with Kindness as my commandment. Period.

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    1. Glad that works for you. If pressed in this decade I might say I'm agnostic and let it go at that. ...depends on how God is defined.

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  12. I never thought about whether having a church family or not would affect friendship. Of course, church has become as political as politics, so I shouldn't be surprised. I probably would have answered with something like "my faith is very private and personal for me, so no. Not an official 'family.'" And if I was really bold, and wanted to hear, I might ask "How about you?" Because ultimately, your beliefs are yours and the only thing that matters is how that affects you as a human being, which affects everyone. But if it gets cliquish, that's tricky. I don't envy you. And you're in Church City.

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    1. Being asked the church question was far more common in my younger years than in recent ones and that may because I haven't been around as many people. When I was active in the senior hall it for 3-4 years it only came up two times. Today it wasn't a deal breaker with, say, the friends I made there. But it sure was during the first 25-30 years of my life.

      I bought into this place knowing full well it could attract more church goers because of its parent group so I'll be civil and respectful when the topic comes up again. It's never been my way to be confrontational or challenging on purpose about anything just coming out of the gate.

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  13. Hello Jean...I just started reading your blog a few months ago. Since your move it has become more and more interesting to me. I am learning why I have resisted moving since my husband passed away. I'm generally a people person, sometimes. Since I am a child of the 60's, communally living had appealed to me. All that togetherness and stuff. No more. I've been alone for 11 years now, I still work part time, so I see people but I also get to leave them. I don't think I would fair well in a retirement community. I look at them and I know someday it will have to happen. I thank you for being open and honest. I, like you, have tendency to speak my mind and I do my best to be pleasant at work. No one knows your life and I feel people are quick to judge. Be yourself and I know that you will find a spirit like yourself when you least expect it. Thank you for writing from the heart.

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    1. Thank you for reading and the comment. I feel I need to write a disclaimer here in defense of independent living places. What I write about are just my experiences. Others here are more active in the social life then me but many others---probably half the residents---take no part at all in the activities including they don't come down to the eat at mealtimes. We all are truly as independent was we want to be. Once you lock yourself in your apartment no one comes knocking on your door or calls and I rarely ever see anyone in the hall.

      Just as people are quick to judge me, I've been quick to judge others as well. I have changed some of my opinions on a few others I've met here since getting to know them better.

      I was like you for a lot of years, thinking I'd never leave a single family home. Even looked for a smaller house. It took a major power outage and a bad case of the flu to see how precariously I was living. I made up my mind I was going to pick out my own future instead of leaving it up to a social worker/stranger should I have a serious health issue that would cause me to have to leave my home. The trade-off (for me) has been worth it with more pros than cons.

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  14. I have never in my 69 years had anyone ask me about church! I grew up Catholic, all 12 years in Catholic school. They didn't like my questions once I got to high school.

    I tried Baptist as that was Mr. Ralph's background but that didn't do it for me either.

    My first response would be "why on earth would you ask such a personal question?"

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    1. I'm pretty sure be were called the City of Churches because we literally had more churches per square mile than any other place in the States. Even now we have three faith based colleges/universities in town that I know of. Church is an important part of the local culture.

      As I said to someone up above, I knew going into this place it was a faith based community so therefore I would never be disrespectful in my reply or comments about religion or churches to other residents here.

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  15. I guess saying in answer to the church question none of your damn business would be wrong and rude............

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    1. LOL. Yes, it would be rude and as I said up above I knew going into this place it was a faith based community so therefore I would never be disrespectful to other residents regarding a discussion of churches or religion because I choose to live here.

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  16. I'm Agnostic so I totally get it. I was raised both Mormon and Baptist. I went to both churches but I stopped going when I was 12 because I didn't want to anymore. Thankfully my parents didn't push me to go anymore.

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    1. I'm glad my parents had us go to Sunday school to hear the Bible stories because so much in life refers to them as a sort of shorthand. But I'm equally glad I was allowed to quit when we did.

      Wow, Mormon and Baptist...that's quite a pairing.

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  17. Never knew Michigan was a churchy state, so consider me enlightened. Shows the hypocrisy of many inhabitants however, that some Michigan folk decided to kidnap the governor because she wanted to prevent mayhem in the hospitals a while back. Sadly I tend to think of people who openly tout religion as some of the most hypocritical. That's not fair of me, and I know that too.

    I have, many times stated the golden rule as my guiding principle. Who on earth would choose to argue with that?

    Question: Do you get notifications of comments added to older posts? I missed the barn painting post and just found it when you mentioned it in your resolutions post.

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    1. West Michigan is churchy but I don't really know if the same can be said for the rest of the state. I just don't know one way or the other. The area where they plotted to kidnap the governor is a low education, red neck kind of area. We have a lot of militia groups here too.

      As far as I know I still get comments on older posts. I don't turn them off.

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  18. I guess I should count my blessings that I live in the region of the country with the highest% of people (about 33%) who describe themselves as "irreligious." I don't think I've ever had anyone ask me that question. I can also testify that being brought up in a religious family does not necessarily make a person a church-goer. I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through college and sang in the church choir from age eight to adulthood, and then I stopped going to church when I was in my twenties.

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    1. I've never, ever heard the term 'irreligous' but sure enough google defines it as "indifferent or hostile to religion, or having no religious beliefs." Love learning new things. That's for that.

      Some of the most faith church goers I know started going lately in life than childhood.

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  19. As you can imagine, the church question doesn't surprise me. But I think your answer was a good one, and if the subject was changed and everyone moved on, you've done well so far.

    Great post again! Also, the swearing reminded me of something that happened over the holidays. Our grandkids were here, and one day the 8 year old said to his mom (holding up his iPad), "You have to hear this, mom. There is one bad word, but it's only there for dramatic effect." So that's my new stance. When anyone hears me swear, it's only for dramatic effect. LOLOL.

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    1. Ohmygod you made me laugh with the swear for dramatic effect. I hope I remember that if I let something slip out and people notice. With the right delivery would be a good laugh line. Out of the mouths of babs.

      I will use that "No, long story" line again, I'm sure. it turned out well this time. A few days later the art professor picked a seat next to me in book club...my next post.

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  20. Thanks for sharing another experience and I think you handled it exceptionally well and hopefully everyone will continue to live with respect for each other's views. My religious upbringing experience was totally different as my parents were very religious and I was expected and made to go to church every Sunday, which was three times on Sundays. We had a service for young people before the main service and then Sunday school in the afternoon and then church again at night. By the time I was able to leave home and marry I had had enough and haven't been back to any church since but I did have a few years of guilt and my family and friends put pressure on me. Interestingly when my father was very ill and none of his so-called church friends visited him, he changed his mind about religion and his church. I hope I could handle the religion question as respectfully as you have.

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    1. That surprises me about how your father's church friends didn't rally around him when he was ill. That's one thing they do well around here in the churches. They arrange food drop offs and rides and childcare. I've seen it happen a few times, and of course the prayer circles are a given.

      Thanks for sharing your experienced, too. We are all so different in our upbringing regarding this topic.

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  21. Like you have said, you knew what you were getting into when you moved there, but you have handled it well. Treating others the way you want to be treated - you are polite and honest, so hopefully they are too!

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    1. Yup, that's my plan and this is by far not the only place in town where I'd get that. I followed newsletters from a few other places that did had a LOT of Bible and church related activities.

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  22. I'm extremely religious and a regular church goer. But the question never comes up unless church or a church activity is the topic. Like if I say to someone that I have my church knitting group or mention singing in the choir someone might say oh where do you go to church. I would think that just saying you don't go to church or using the spiritual comment would be more than sufficient. But then I'm 3xtrememy religious, I swear like a sailor, I read trashy novels that often move into erotica and I'm a far lefty. None of those things are in conflict. I despise being called honey or sweetheart and my response is to say my name and then when the look at me again say " My name is Barb". It does sound like his drinking may be the primary cause of the issue but hey, it's didner. A whole hour so just be kind.

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  23. You and me both. "My world is full of foibles and nuances and I don't do well with people who see their world in blacks and whites."

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  24. The assumption that you have to have a church in your life to be a good person angers me greatly. I've had churches in my life off and on and truthfully am not sure I was any different with or without said building. It's what's in your heart that matters anyway. Plus, we all know plenty of people who to church regularly and treat people horribly. As an adult, I found out one of my favorite teachers from high school is a non-Christian and I don't think any less of him. The Honey thing would probably bother me, but it's also important to understand the intent.

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  25. I am a Christian that was raised by atheist parents. I have had a hunger for God since I was around 6 years old. There was a small church down the street near our home and one Sunday I got up and put on my prettiest dress and was headed out the door. My mom said "where do you think you are going young lady?" and I answered "Church" and off I went as my moms mouth fell open.
    My parents could never figure it out. Thank fully they allowed me to believe as I wanted to. I had some wonderful experiences at that little church. The people were so welcoming to me and put me in a age appropriate "Sunday school class.
    Being an only child , that part was great. An aunt gave me a bible that had my name embossed on it for Christmas and I had that bible for years. I prayed every night to God to tell him how much I loved him. I prayed for my parents and for my pets. As I grew to adulthood I no longer go to a church building and my spirituality has changed a great deal. I still believe in God and pray for the world daily. I meditate and give money to different charities. That is my way to show God I love him. Sherry

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    1. What an interesting story, Sherry! Thanks for sharing it. By the way I still have a Bible that was given to me at one of the church camps I went to when I was very young and a second Bible I acquired in 1953 but I have no idea where it came from.

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  26. The thing is....it's the REAL you (what you've let us see) that I respect, admire, and like so much. I learned that to find a true friend I had to be my true self. Also. As a Unitarian Universalist, (without a church family currently, by choice!) I long ago left Christianity behind (I traveled from Methodist to Lutheran to Congregationalist) and if it comes up at all, I just say I'm a UU and we create our own spiritual path relying on a variety of faith traditions and ethical precepts. Of course some Christians hell-bent on saving my soul just find that to be fodder for conversion so I have to get firm with them (politely, as is the UU way. LOL). But mostly it never comes up in my life anymore. But I can see where the "getting to know you" phase at your new community would be a time for this question. It annoys me how they assume everyone is Christian. I remind them that not everyone shares their religion. If they persist, that's just bullying. LOL

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    1. We've had this conversation (or one like it) before and I've learned a lot about the UU church from you and a tour I took of our local church. They share a building with either a Catholic Church or Jewish Synagogue---can't remember which right now. If I was in need I've given them a try but I'm happy with the place I'm at soul work wise.

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  27. Oh, I hate that question too. I really don't want to know anyone else's belief so why should they want to know mine. I guess they are looking for like-minded souls and I doubt that would be me. I'm not Christian either but I do like to read about different beliefs. I have gotten much braver in my old age and I will state the truth if I am in a comfortable situation.

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    1. It was more common when I was young because churches around here were stricter about who their members could Associate with or not. Caused me to dislike them for not living up to their teachings.






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