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Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social settings

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Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social settings

Postby Violet » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Last weekend I attended a Catholic wedding, which was the first time I'd been in a Christian service since the last Catholic wedding I attended a couple of years ago. These weddings are complete Masses, with numerous moments when one either answers the priest in kind, sings along, or sits, stands and kneels according to directives.

What do you do at these weddings, when you don't share these beliefs?

A similar situation occurred when my Catholic in-laws visited us for the weekend, and each meal was preceded by their recited Catholic prayer. My response was to glare angrily in front of myself for the duration, but I want to grow out of my passive-aggressive reactions to what are truly unavoidable life-long situations.

I am not close enough to these people to share my spiritual beliefs, and I don't see them more than once a year, twice at most. My instincts tell me I'm going to have to just bear it when it comes up, but I wondered if there could be a healthier way.

Opinions and perspectives welcome.
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby SnowCat » Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:07 pm

I follow the sitting and standing at a Catholic Mass. I don't kneel. I stay silent and meditate during prayer occasions. I don't share their beliefs, just as they don't share mine. Being silent and maintaining a respectful attitude harms none.

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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby AdastraJunction » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:28 pm

I agree with SnowCat. I have some Polish mates who are avid Catholics. Being as how I was once a Roman Catholic I know the procedure for their wedding ceremonies but as I am no longer of these beliefs I just follow along with respect. As for prayer at dinners with family and mates whom are Catholic or of like faith, I sit there silently and say my own blessing over my meal silently until the prayer ends.
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Kassandra » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:23 am

.

Saturday I had lunch with an acquaintance. Before we ate, she asked if I wouldn't mind if we "said a blessing," which in Protestant lingo means pray over the food, etc. She actually wanted me to lead (lol), but I insisted she do the honors, so she did. It was a very heartfelt prayer. What's there not to love about that? I just enjoyed the warm vibes, regardless of the religion.


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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Shub Niggurath » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:48 am

Aww, the catholic weddings are the funniest. We were invited to our good friends' wedding last year and I couldn't stop smiling at the fact that only me and my man were just sitting/standing there like morons, not partaking in the mass.
We chose to be inside of the church during the ceremony simply because we wanted to see our friends getting married.
But usually when there are any other family celebrations on the christian side of my family that include masses, me and my closest family stand outside of the church and chat (funerals are an exception, obviously). That way we kinda participate but "not too much", lol :D
As for the food blessing, only a few of my aunts do that - we barely visit eachother anyway. When it happens I don't partake in the blessing but I'm okay with them doing the blessing. I mean, if someone wants to bless my food then why not? Go ahead! Bet it's gonna taste so much better (not really), hahaha ;)

On a more serious note now - I think it's important to respect other people's traditions and beliefs and not ruin it for them, doesn't matter what religion they follow. As for a situation when someone asks me why I'm not partaking I'd just say that it's not what I traditionally do. I don't think it's necessary to explain your path and tell people you're not close with that you're a pagan. They probably don't want to know anyway.
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Violet » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:57 pm

These are all very good suggestions.

Having my in-laws coming to my house and praying at my table was upsetting because I struggle with feeling repressed by my/his parents' religious expectations in general, and my beliefs are completely ignored and overlooked by them.

I wonder if I should come up with a respectful general dinner prayer that I do myself, rather than feeling stamped by the recitation.

What do others think? Does this seem like too much? I don't pray before meals normally.
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Nightwatcher » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:49 pm

I never feel smothered at Christian events. In fact, to me, it's simply my Lady changed into another guise. It's all the same to me, just a different name and dance. And as long as it's done with love and positivity, I have no qualms.
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Shub Niggurath » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:03 am

Violet wrote:These are all very good suggestions.

Having my in-laws coming to my house and praying at my table was upsetting because I struggle with feeling repressed by my/his parents' religious expectations in general, and my beliefs are completely ignored and overlooked by them.

I wonder if I should come up with a respectful general dinner prayer that I do myself, rather than feeling stamped by the recitation.

What do others think? Does this seem like too much? I don't pray before meals normally.


Hmm. Are you sure it's just about not knowing what to do and how to behave when christians pray at your table? Cause what you're saying sounds to me like you just want to step out of the broom closet and make your family aware of your spiritual identity. If you could elaborate more on the "feeling repressed" aspect it could help us give you some more accurate tips or maybe share our experiences. Are your and his parents aware of your beliefs? What is it they're doing that makes you feel repressed and ignored in this aspect? I'm genuinely interested and would like to help you more in depth (bet others too), so if you're comfortable answering and sharing some more information that could help a lot.

As for the prayer idea I think it's wonderful and I completely understand the need to be The Host at your own table instead of just receiving someone else's (christian) blessing. I can't assess though if it's okay or too much in your case - you said you don't normally pray before meals. It's important not to force yourself to do things that don't come to you naturally, just because you want others to respect your beliefs. I'm not sure if that would be 100% genuine (praying to ask your deities for a blessing or praying to be acknowledged by your family?), if you know what I mean. You're the only person who knows the answer. Don't be afraid to search deeper within yourself to discover your true needs and intentions considering this case. It's sooo important to stay true to who you are (not who you want to be in the eyes of others), to your emotions and your spirituality - don't allow others to mess with how you feel about yourself, what they think is not that important after all! ;)
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Violet » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:17 pm

Levitating Cat wrote:
Hmm. Are you sure it's just about not knowing what to do and how to behave when christians pray at your table? Cause what you're saying sounds to me like you just want to step out of the broom closet and make your family aware of your spiritual identity. If you could elaborate more on the "feeling repressed" aspect it could help us give you some more accurate tips or maybe share our experiences. Are your and his parents aware of your beliefs? What is it they're doing that makes you feel repressed and ignored in this aspect? I'm genuinely interested and would like to help you more in depth (bet others too), so if you're comfortable answering and sharing some more information that could help a lot.

As for the prayer idea I think it's wonderful and I completely understand the need to be The Host at your own table instead of just receiving someone else's (christian) blessing. I can't assess though if it's okay or too much in your case - you said you don't normally pray before meals. It's important not to force yourself to do things that don't come to you naturally, just because you want others to respect your beliefs. I'm not sure if that would be 100% genuine (praying to ask your deities for a blessing or praying to be acknowledged by your family?), if you know what I mean. You're the only person who knows the answer. Don't be afraid to search deeper within yourself to discover your true needs and intentions considering this case. It's sooo important to stay true to who you are (not who you want to be in the eyes of others), to your emotions and your spirituality - don't allow others to mess with how you feel about yourself, what they think is not that important after all! ;)


It's true I would like to be open about my spiritual identity.

Like I said, the visit is a once or twice a year thing. I scarcely know them, but since my husband is their son, they treat our home like their own.

I don't feel that I am witnessing another person's personal connection to Spirit in my in-laws' dinner recitations.

What comes to me naturally is to smile, agree and be quiet, because this is how I have been trained since birth. I can't rely on what comes naturally to me, unless I think back to being about three or four years old (and sometimes I do).

Is anyone here acquainted with the iron-handed, repressive parenting sometimes associated with Texas and Louisiana culture? With all due respect, someone who has had to fight for individuality and self-image in the face of parental denial and cut-off may understand what I am getting at.
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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby SnowCat » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:01 pm

Does your husband know about and support your beliefs? I ask, because that's where to start in taking back your home. If he does, then make a plan with him, on how to handle the next visit from his parents. If he doesn't, then cross that bridge so you can enlist his help. Aunt Margaret and Uncle Ruben were German Catholics from Fredericksburg, TX. What Aunt Margaret said, was law, whether in her home or someone else's.

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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Kassandra » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:35 pm

Nightwatcher wrote:I never feel smothered at Christian events. In fact, to me, it's simply my Lady changed into another guise. It's all the same to me, just a different name and dance. And as long as it's done with love and positivity, I have no qualms.

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Re: Feeling engulfed by Christian assumptions in social sett

Postby Nightwatcher » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:31 pm

Kassandra wrote:
Nightwatcher wrote:I never feel smothered at Christian events. In fact, to me, it's simply my Lady changed into another guise. It's all the same to me, just a different name and dance. And as long as it's done with love and positivity, I have no qualms.

Beautiful.

Thanks. >///<
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