My Mom's godchildren are staying with us this weekend. They're adorable, Andrew is five and his little sister Erin is three. Very cute. Like, we were just outside in the driveway playing. They have sidewalk chalk and their scooter and Playschool bike. They've been waiting for it to get a little warmer so they could go out and play so they're both very happy. Andrew's got his Batman helmet on and Erin's is pink but I can't remember what the pattern is at the moment. She likes penguins though. Girl after my own heart!
So I was thinking about godparents and godchildren and how it's not what it used to be for the most part. It used to be that the godparent was responsible for making sure that the child was educated properly in their faith. If the parent died, or was unable to get the child to church the responsibility fell on the godparent. The ties were considered so close that they were like blood family. A godchild couldn't marry the blood child of their godparent because they were like their brother or sister. Now days it's just...an honor. For the most part. You know, have your best friend or sister, or aunt, or whoever stand as the godparent. But you don't expect them to take on those old responsibilities.
My parents are both technically Mennonites. They left that church several years ago and now attend a non-denominational church, but they haven't officially joined. Her best friend and the mother of these two kids is a Lutheran. I mean they go to a ELCA church, so it's a fairly liberal church. Which, I think, is how the pastor let them have a godparent who isn't a Lutheran at all. We were Lutheran, but my mother converted to Mennonite (though it's a very reformed version thereof) to marry Dad. And I had only been nominally Lutheran (in the sense that I never officially left the church, even though I hadn't believed or set foot in there since I was 14) for more than ten years before I became Roman Catholic. Regardless. Because of the responsibilities of the godparent a really key factor in choosing them used to be that they had to be the same faith as the parent. The faith that the child was to be raised in.
It doesn't bother my parents, or the kids' parents, and it's not really my problem, but it illustrates the difficulty I have here.
I was essentially dragged to the Mennonite church when my parents married. I was an adult, but Dad's parents were living here at the time, and they didn't believe that anyone should not attend church. Hell, I was still a practicing witch at the time. Though they didn't know that, of course. So I *had* to attend the Mennonite church every Sunday. Which I loathed. I had to fight the urge to get up and tell the preacher where he was wrong. He was a very nice man, but I found his theology weak and I didn't even have a horse in the race at that point.
That was when I made the compromise with my parents. I didn't have to go to the Mennonite church but I had to go to one. Which began my rota of the churches in the area.
When I actually got interested, trying to sort out which church was the true church I ran into this terrible block at home. As far as my parents were concerned as long as I didn't join one of those cults like the Mormons or the Seventh Day Adventists then it didn't matter. And I wanted to use them as sounding boards for theological questions. But theology doesn't seem to matter to them. I was astonished to realize that they couldn't tell me what the Mennonite's believed. What they believed. They believe that Christ is God, in the Trinity but that's about all I could get out of them. My mother grew up being taught that the Eucharist consubstantiated into the Real Body and Blood of Christ, but that just didn't matter any more. It didn't give her a pause that the Mennonite's didn't believe that. That they didn't even hold communion every Sunday.
None of that mattered. It still doesn't seem to matter.
I never even bothered telling them that I was considering other faiths. I don't think they would have had a problem with it, really. I just don't think that I would have been able to have a discussion with them about that either. Because there's not substance there for them.
I cannot have a discussion about religion in my household because there is no reciprocated interest. I can talk and talk and talk about the differences between this denomination or that. I can discuss the different views on free will, on heaven, on hell. Angels, demons. Saints, icons, the priesthood. Women in the Church. Headcovering, modest dress. Should women be in the home? Should there be such a clear distinction between 'women's work' and 'men's work'? What are our rights against each other? Consubstantiation, transubstantiation, just a remembrance? How does the Trinity work? How does it relate to us? Prophets? Miracles? Is the Bible literal or figurative in places? Nothing. They don't seem to have opinions or care about any of it.
And I don't get that. I cannot imagine belonging to a faith and apparently knowing nothing about it. Why wouldn't you want to know? Why wouldn't you want to learn? To talk about it.
But they don't. So I stopped talking to them. I mean, they know what I do. They know I've stopped going to the Roman Catholic church. They know that I go to the Orthodox church as often as I can. They know that I've been considering converting but that I'm taking my time with it because I feel like I made the decision to convert to Roman Catholicism too quickly. What they don't get are the reasons why. It makes no sense to them that it matters to me which church I go to. They don't see why it's all important. They believe in God and Christ and they try to live Christian lives and that's all that they need.
This is why I'm grateful to have the internet with it's forums and blogs. Because I can find people who do get it and who are willing to talk about these things.