First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Religious Identity: Update

I think a lot about what my children's cultural and/or religious identity is going to be.  It's sort of complicated for me because I don't have a lot of religious education.

I did go to hebrew school for a month when I was 7.   I was kicked out over a bacon incident.
They found it in my pocket.  Wrapped around a scallop.  I ate the evidence, but it was too late.

I did go to hebrew school for a month when I was 7.  Then my mother dumped the hebrew school teacher she had been dating.  He didn't teach at the school I attended, but when my mother broke something off, she meant it.

He did teach there.  His name was Jay.  I think.  Or Shlomo.  Either way, he was very short and hairy.

Lessee, other forms of religious education . . .

I've read through the bible a little.  Mostly the hot parts.

I've seen the Last Temptation of Christ, I think the Dali Lama is a cool guy, and I have read my fair share of "You're going to hell" pamphlets I was handed on the street.

I worked at a kosher deli for 4 plus years.  That is where I picked up a lot of, or at least started to take an interest in, my cultural heritage.  A nice potato knish will do that for a person.

I'll celebrate some ( I think there are like 4 million total) of the holidays to celebrate my heritage.  I'l say the prayers in hebrew, or fast, or eat some of the foods (not gefilte fish.  Great Cesear's Ghost, that shit is nasty).  I am hoping to provide my kids with an example and a cultural touchstone, but I'm not religious.

My wife grew up protestant, and has a deep and detailed religious education, but she doesn't subscribe to it.

It is important to us though, that our kids have a chance to make their own choices about that stuff.  How do we do that?  A whirlwind house of worship tour?   Maybe some sort of religious career day where clergy from all the major religions come and talk to our kids about why their God might be right for them.  Maybe they offer a 401k plan, good health insurance, casual Fridays, company car, whatever.

The point is, I plan to be very careful to not influence my kids in their choice of religions or in the way they express their spirituality.  At least not too much.  No scientology and no Jews for Jesus.  I mean, c'mon.   I was a Jew for jesus but then I left that group to join pacifists for gang violence.  That one didn't work out either, so I joined vegetarians for meat.  I've been happy ever since.

But other than the two mentioned above, I hope what I can do is expose my kids to as many different religions as possible, and be supportive of whatever they choose.  If any of you reading this happens to have a copy of Shinto for Dummies I could borrow, I would totally owe you one.


Homemaker Man

UPDATE:  My wife tells me that last Jews for Jesus joke was cheesy.  After reacting defensively ("I think you're reading it in the wrong tone.  You're cheesy!  I want a divorce.")  I have realized that she is right as usual.  Sorry about that.    I did write it at 11:45pm after a very busy day.  And the principle remains solid.


  1. I was raised Catholic. My husband was raised Muslim. Neither of us are the go to church (or mosque, as the case may be, even to pick up something your wife bought on Ebay, lest Allah strike you down) kinds of people. My own strategy is to talk about God in the broad sense. Yes, there is a God, he loves you, etc. I wondered how to introduce other facets of God and religion to my children and my mother (ever helpful) found the way...scare the living shit out of them with tales of God's wrath, and how he gave his only son, etc. As a result my children are Christian leaning, God fearing children. My husband? Is also religious in his own right, but, the longer we live together (figuratively speaking) the easier it becomes to unify our beliefs and present a united (if unconventional) theory on religion to our children.

    I wish you the best of luck, because honestly, this is hard stuff.

  2. I have no idea. When you figure it out please clue the rest of us in.

    I was raised Catholic and was forced to go to church because my parents made me. I haven't really been back since I left for college.

    See how well that shit works?

  3. Viv-It's speaks to your character that you and your husband have been able to work that stuff out. For our part, fear of God is not something we have in our arsenal as a teaching tool. We're just going to have to go with the saturation technique

    Candace- Yeah, most of my catholic friends are lapsed Catholic friends.
    You guys should have a union.

  4. I think the biggest religion that should be taught is morality; ethics seems to be going down a drain in this world....

    This reminds me, I have to post my take on religion. It might help you out!

  5. What?! That Jews for Jesus joke was great! Look, Gentiles don't know from humor. Really.

    I've always said that when we Jews whine, it's funny. And then I wondered (in a comment on Suzy Soro's blog) if there were any unfunny Jews. Suzy wrote back and said there are - they're called Catholics.

    She kills me. And she's not even Jewish.


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