Thursday, September 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes- My Great Protestant Christian Childhood

My four grandparents were Quaker with Unitarian siblings, lapsed Catholic, Anglican, and Presbyterian at the time of their deaths. My parents weren't really brought up with a consistent religious upbringing, but my mother was Presbyterian enough as a teen to turn down a dance with Beau Bridges (yes, one of those Bridges) at Hollywood Pres. How my parents got from there to here with all five children married in the Catholic Church with twenty-four or so grandchildren baptized in the Church is an interesting story. As happy as I am to be Catholic and to share the faith with my siblings and their spouses, there are some wonderful things about my Protestant childhood as I experienced it. 
1. Psalty
2. Public School- back in the old days, schools had music, art and physical education. In seventh grade, I got to be in early-bird swing choir and concert choir every day. Then, we converted and I went to Catholic school for eighth grade. I got to sing at Mass. I went to the big public high school for ninth grade and was last chair, second violin. Choir was early-bird and I had to take the bus, so I couldn't sing. Then, I transferred to the Catholic high school an hour bus ride away where the majority of my classmates were in kindergarten together....and no choir or orchestra. There was only after-school sports, but I had a bus to catch. This isn't to say that public school was all butterflies and rainbows...

3. Davey and Goliath


4. VBS- luckily with 'CatChat' we now have a fun, Catholic alternative to both non-Catholic VBS and the ultra-serious traditional activities. Sorry, most 6 year olds aren't interested in a week of Eucharistic adoration during the summer.

5. being a hippie- I doubt that we would have gotten into a prayer circle in a public park to pray for John Lennon, but we did back then. I doubt that we anti-abortion pro-lifers would be welcome at a protest of the arms race, but we did that back then. I don't eat carob anymore or make my children call if their host offers soda, but that was then. My mother doesn't wear eucalyptus oil as a perfume anymore. I don't now if that would be quite proper at her VOCAL meetings.


6.no fear of hell & no scrupulosity- Perhaps I didn't encounter this in Protestant churches because of my young age. I do know some people who suffer from scrupulosity and 'Catholic guilt.' I just can't understand this. Yes, we are working out our salvation with fear and trembling, but Jesus died and rose for us and He left us His Church and His sacraments! It is a sad thing when a young person fears hell because of not yet being confirmed. It is also a sad thing that, upon learning that my children are already confirmed, this person wonders if they might go to hell because they don't wear the brown scapular. 

7. occasionally not being in church on a Sunday morning- in my childhood, we were always in a church Sunday morning and said a quick family prayer at night before bed. But occasionally, we might sleep in. My children won't experience the 'lazy Sunday' that even devout Catholics can indulge in (Saturday vigil!). In fact, my big girls might go to the 6:30 AM after being at our mission for the Saturday vigil and before going to the 'big' mission in the late morning.
That being said, I am very, very, very happy to be Catholic (and my kids have that Psalty record!)
go to conversiondiary.com for more quick takes
Bonus not-so-great thing about my Protestant upbringing: We went to a Quaker meeting between longer stints with the Episcopalians. The Quakers met at the YWCA in town. I remember being in a kids' class to break up the silence of the adult meeting. I clearly remember, at eight years or so of age, being in a room with pro-abortion posters and a big bowl of small neon-colored discs wrapped in plastic. I didn't see anything like that again until my freshman year of college when the '700 Club' (there were 7000 students at my university, and supposedly 10% of the population is homosexual) was trying to force me to accept their anti-AIDS condoms. Anyway, I feel a little bad that I didn't have a consistent moral compass in the churches I was a part of in my early childhood- luckily,  we were pretty solid family-wise.

18 comments:

  1. #6: If you think Protestants have no scrupulosity, you haven't hung out with enough Lutherans. :)

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    1. ...mostly Episcopalian, Pres. and non-denom- but I could have been oblivious ;)

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    2. Lutherans are particularly good/bad at it though. :) It was one of Luther's problems as a priest.

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  2. Uh oh. I went to VBS! I don't remember it being "too" religious...I think we prayed before snack and sang lots of songs about Jesus. But it was very ecumenical--the local churches all cosponsored it and I know the "end of the week" pageant thingy was at our church.

    Honestly, I think my mom saw it as a good way to get us out of the house and interacting with other kids during the summer. And there were cookies.

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    1. VBS is great- and if the Catholic Church isn't offering a program, then they shouldn't be surprised if kids go elsewhere. I'm not mush for letting my kids decide where we will worship every week, though (yup- I know many people that left the Church because the kids couldn't sit through a 50 minute Sunday Mass) :(

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    2. Haha I was mostly writing tongue-in-cheek ;) But wait, how long were the services that they switched to, if they kept going to church?

      Right now, Chris' schedule dictates where and when we worship, so we don't have as many options as other Catholics, especially if we want to worship in our Rite.

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    3. most that I know 'go to' (hate that phrase when it comes to church) a non-denom church with an hour long 'dynamic' service with drum set, etc and with children leaving that service for a kid's prayer in the middle

      The Catholic Church isn't for everyone's personality- especially Eastern rites- too serious

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    4. Here's something funny--a few years ago, I was one of those "this is too serious!!! Why do we repeat everything???" people.

      And now...I really don't like the Roman Rite so much anymore. I gave it a fair shot!! :)

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    5. I mean, I gave Eastern Rites a fair shot! And I came around :)

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    6. It is good to prefer where one is- don't you think ;)

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    7. Haha yeah, that helps! But I have this thought that I might not be ByzCath by marriage...since we were married before Chris officially changed rites, so I wonder if I need to change mine officially as well. Hmm. I need to talk to one of the priests about this...

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  3. VBS I went to (Seventh-Day) was pretty happy go lucky. I did go to some of their Christmas, or Easter services, a long time ago. I've been to a couple of Evangelical services. Something about Byzantine services resonating more with me.

    I do appreciate some of the Protestant stances on scrupulosity (which was minimal). I listened to a show on the radio for a time, called the Jesus Christ Show. Comparing some of its points, to Eastern thought, I saw similarities.

    I noticed, within the Latin ranks, there was this change of tone, which reduced this sense of scrupulosity. I'm not sure if that was a direct cause on my return to the faith (Did three months, in a Buddhist "cult;" and then left religion altogether, until I let Him back into my life).

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    1. What a journey! But it isn't over yet! You might think of yourself as Bilbo and now you are entering the dragon's lair...there is much more to the story

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  4. I went to VBS as a kid and it was catholic...I guess I'm [younger] and catholic churches started doing them. I know now that all the catholic publishers like our sunday visitor and st. mary's press create their own VBS programs for churches.

    7 - that is me haha I'm not a morning person so I go to mass on Sunday evenings.

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  5. This is a smile-worthy list! And you got some great discussion out of it. My only real comment is re the public schooling. What you are describing is one of the big reasons I'm not inclined to send my kids to Catholic high school, even though we now have one. The arts are too strong here to have competition from a tiny private school, and arts are very important to me. Besides, I am a big believer in giving kids exposure to conflicting world views while they still are under their parents' influence, instead of getting the shock when they go to college.

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  6. I had the exact same experience regarding public school and Catholic school after conversion! I went to public school up until my conversion at 16, went to Catholic school for 6 weeks of my Junior year, hated it and started homeschooling. The public high school I went to was so large and had so many groups and arts programs and the Catholic school was tiny tiny tiny. It had a bell choir and that was it, besides a few sports. Plus, I actually knew more practicing Catholic students in public school than in the Catholic private school. Weird, isn't it?

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  7. I like this perspective, sister Kathleen :). I was blessed to have an arts curriculum, during my elementary school years. My Jr. High was more science/math/computer driven.

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  8. I grew up going to a Catholic Elementary School. We had Psalty there too! We performed Kid's Praise (don't know which one) for a spring concert one year. :-O Scandelous! AKA (from a prior post) "Future Deacon's Wife"

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