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June 12, 2008


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I am not hard wired for spirituality. Twelve years of Catholic left me with little doubt. I do envy people who have the solace of religion. Well, unless they use it as an excuse to kill or maim others -- and then I'm happy to be an agnostic.

I am impressed with your friend's husband -- he has handled this horrible situation with grace and dignity and compassion.


I love Angie and I agree - she is a true testament to her faith. I have always had a strong faith in God and have lived my life with complete awareness that he is always near me and guiding me through everything - I just know it. I believe I gained this faith and belief as a child - being dragged by my parents for so many years to church. It is not easy - having faith and I am the last person to preach to anyone about what they should/should not believe. We all make our own way in life - I think that is what God wants and I totally believe he is there for all of us. I'm sorry about your friend. Take care - Kellan

Kalynne Pudner

"Faith requires a leap"...have you ever stood chest-high in the pool, urging your child to jump off the edge into your arms? That's the kind of leap it is. Not a gamble. Not a shot in the dark. But until you do it, feel the rush and the sheer love of the one into whose arms you land -- in the water yet safe from the dangers it presents -- the concrete of the deck feels just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Not that I'm trying to proselytize you or anything ;)

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!


You have had a bout of funerals and sadness. I am sorry for your loss. Do we need to go have some more Thai food?

On the subject of spirituality, unlike others who had it since childhood or came to it in a time of need, I didn't come to it until I was a consenting adult and very happy in my life. And it didn't feel like a leap at all, more like a cozy chair in a warm and breezy meadow. And unlike others who identify themselves as Christians, I don't think it is the only way. I think we are all one and that Jesus asks that we coexist with people of all faiths and humanists. That's my two cents worth.

Take care my friend.

mandy g.

The best thing we can do is be there for others, regardless of what labels we give ourselves or others.


You said it all in that last paragraph. Lucky indeed.


This is something I have been struggling with lately too. I've me lots of women online whose faith is right there with them all the time. It's so woven into their every day lives. I don't think I'm making sense but what I've seen online is making me question what role (if any) faith is going to play in my life.


You've pretty much expressed my own feelings about faith.. and so eloquently. I'm so sorry about your friend - what a sad loss.

Reluctant Blogger

Despite being polar opposites in terms of our predilection for cleaning and tidying, you and I are remarkably similar on this score. That was a thoughtful and very clever post, Jenn. You teased out what I think about religion amazingly well and I don't think I could have done that - I always find it hard to express.

I was brought up as a Catholic but have never really been a believer. I don't think the Catholic Church would want anything to do with me given my lifestyle anyway so it is probably just as well. Although maybe if I had been a Believer I would not have this lifestyle eh???

The only time religious people annoy me is when they try to foist their beliefs on me. I get a bit stroppy then!

Mary Alice

C.S. Lewis once wrote:

"Faith... is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian, I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist, I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where they get off,' you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion."


Beautiful post. You are so smart and insightful. I feel very much the same on this topic. But I don't think I could put it in such beautiful words. Thanks.

ccr in MA

"Sometimes I really envy people who are strong and secure in their religious faith."

I know just what you mean. At my cousin's funeral, when the priest was talking about how it was part of God's plan for Paul to have died, his grandmother was nodding, yes, yes, clearly believing it and taking comfort from it. I wanted so much to get that comfort, but I didn't believe it. I'm not a leap-of-faith person, either, but sometimes I wish I was.


I consider myself spiritual, as opposed to religious. If that makes sense.

Jen on the Edge

How very sad. Thank you for sharing this (and your thoughts on it) with us.


Banning religion because of the atrocities committed in its name would be like banning sexual intercourse because people have been raped. So much good has been done in this world by people motivated by their faith, but the good stuff just doesn't get the sort of press that the atrocities do.


I am much more spiritual.
My faith is my faith in mankind. Despite all the wars and political fighting in this world, I still have faith that we can do better.
I also believe that it is easy to do.
Unfortunately, what's easy to do is also easy not to do. but I keep on believing and keep on trying to change me and hope that the world changes a bit more each day, so our kids will inherit a better world than we did.
On the whole, I think it's a pretty good faith I have in the human spirit.

standing still

My faith started as a wee girl going to church. It solidified as a grown up going to church. I believe the "stories," and I take it all as part of the process of my life. It brings me peace. I think that's what I would miss most if I didn't have my faith, the PEACE.


I'm on the faith side of the spectrum, and while I can see why people don't believe or "believe" as it were, I can't imagine any other way.

At the end of the day I am thankful that I have the choice and freedom--just like you (again).

Just Jamie

Secular humanism sounds mighty good to me. Maybe we can start a church? ;)

Last night a friend was building blocks with Tatum. He said, "Let's build a church." She asked, "What's a church?" I fear that I need to instill some sort of religion into my children soon, but like you, nothing has quite felt right (yet). We all need some sort of spiritual path, I think. Whether it is within the walls of a church or on our front porch, the path and message should be simple. Secular humanism works for me.


Well said. I don't think I could write cohesively about this subject right now. I agree with you on so much and also agree with Angie...see? Doesn't make much sense. BUT I completely stand up and cheer that we can all believe what we want. AND if you two do get together for a drink...call me!

Smalltown Mom

Once again, you write what I feel, with far greater eloquence than I ever could.


Having experienced the Catholic Church in all it's glory, I no longer attend. Although I have visited other churches, all too often I have found them to be more exclusive than inclusive. I have not visited a church in several years and I feel fine about that. The last time I spoke with a priest, he had serious issues with my current status with the church...

My opinion of late is that Religion is a manifestation of men (and women). Any faith I have in an almighty diety is manifested in a desire to do good, help my fellow men and leave the planet a better place that when I entered. I really don't feel I need a book or priest or building to guide me on that path.

Like others have noted, I completely support those with religous beliefs. I don't think it precludes us from being friends. How awful if everyone were alike!


There is a reason why so many people visit and comment here: your posts hit the mark for a lot of people.

Domestically Challenged

Freedom is bliss - My faith is a mixture of faiths!

San Diego Momma

I go back and forth on this. I was indoctrinated in the Catholic faith and at times, it gives me much comfort, at other times, it plagues me. I'm still trying to figure out my place with religion. But I do know where I stand with spirituality. I think it's a necessary piece of my person pie (I cannot write today).



I've always felt the same way, that I envied people who had their faith to lean on. It's not like I don't believe in anything (like I believe in pie) it's just that I don't turn to faith in times of wondering or loss or anger. If I do, I'm usually cursing You Know Who out. I'm going straight to hell, aren't I?


I grew up going to a Methodist Church in a small town. I have had periods throughout my life when I went faithfully, and then when I kind of lost touch. I have since started going to church more faithfully, and what is amazing it seems like I was never gone. Those people are like family. I have alot of history in this church, weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc.

Mike Golch

I kinda like going to wakes where every one is not so seriious,they reminese about the person with joy and pleasure to have know the person.thai is kinda the was my Mom's wake was.I got to see people that I had not seen in a while we paid our respect to Mom and that we started talking about the good times we had and that made it easier fo me at least.
I do miss Mom and Dad though.

The Girl Next Door

So well written. I was born in a Catholic family and raised "in the faith," and still attend church, although not Catholic. But I seek more and am hurt by the "religious" who do horrid things in the name of "religion." Yet I don't want the world to give up on religion. But neither do i want people to feel that they can't be my friend because we share differences. All these things that swirl in my head, you put it all beautifully. thanks.


Born and raised catholic with 12 years in nun school.

I've dabbled in other religions and spiritualities, but in the end, I keep coming back. Lately, C.S. Lewis drags me back and I approach God with a full argument on my lips, and I just don't ever stop. I'm not sure of the strength of my faith, but I do lean heavy on religion and the rituals and routines to get me out of my own head. I describe myself as a struggling Catholic, and at times, a recovering Catholic.

I tell God that I don't believe in Him, and he keeps telling me that it's okay, just keep arguing.

That's where I am.

I don't think I'm so far from you, either.

And this essay of yours was beautiful.

Don Mills Diva

This is such a thoughtful post Jen. I feel almost exactly as you do (and I love Angie) - sometimes when I see how much faith enriches the lives of others I am envious but I too am more of a secular humanist...


Jenn - I ache for this family, their current pain, and the long road ahead for them. Your thoughts and words as always, are extraordinarly eloquent. Freedom of all religions, including NO religion, is truly a...well...a blessing.

Jennifer H

Your words reflected many of my thoughts about this. We all get through life in the way that makes the most sense to us, and I respect everyone's right to choose their own path.

Beautifully, thoughtfully written.


I have a strong faith in my own religion, which is Islam. For me having faith in my own religion makes me stronger in leading my life, as I believe that there will be an after life (the time when I will meet face to face with my creator).


I could have written this, almost word for word. I agree with you completely.


This is very well written, Jenn.
Religion, as I see it, is man-made; it is our way of attempting to understand God. And yes, many dreadful acts have been committed in the name of religion.

In my own experience, I was raised in the church (my father is a retired pastor). Like many, I had times of straying away; and like many, I have found peace in a relationship with Jesus Christ. My best example of this is when my husband was preparing to deploy for a year. I knew that I could not have peace in his going if I could not reconcile with God the possibility of his never returning. I struggled greatly with this, because I love my husband and my children need their father. When I could sing with my whole heart: "Blessed be the Name of the Lord - He gives and takes away - still my heart will choose to say - Blessed be the Name of the Lord" ...then and only then could I be at peace with my DH leaving us. (I have a rather active imagination...I cried a great many tears of grief until I could truly face the possibility of his death, and living my life without him. COULD I still have faith in God? Finally, after much internal struggle, I could answer, Yes.)
Life comes with no guarrantees. My DH returned to us after one year. Had he not returned, I would still sing that song with all my heart. I would be heartbroken, but I would still have faith and deep down --deeper than the sorrow-- I would be at peace.
This is what my faith does for me.


Did I write this post? I think I did! How did you get it? Did I email it to you in my sleep?


I tend not to be a leaper either, but I'm rediscovering my faith. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, and know that this was a difficult thing for you and the family.


I am deeply sorry for your loss. Nice post and I admire Angie too. Since reading some blogs, my faith has actually strengthened. Having said this, I am also very respectful of others' belief systems too - you for one. Thanks for your thoughtful post!


Aww Man, Here you go and get a good discussion going and even reference me and I'm not around to even comment!!! Man!

In all our conversations with people who are not believers (and we don't have many, believe me, because we just don't roll that way unless approached first or if it casually comes up), it ALWAYS comes down to a bit of blind faith. We can reason and we can discuss and we can debate, but yes, part of believing is just...having...faith. I have faith all the time in life, though. I have faith that the cash register rings up the correct amount. I have faith that person is going to stop at the stoplight and not broadside me. I have faith all the time. My faith in God is no different. Just trust.



I enjoyed this piece and all of the comments. I especially liked the CS Lewis comment. He is one of my favorite men of faith. His story is unbelievable really. Have you ever seen the documentary about CS Lewis and Freud? It's called THE QUESTION OF GOD and you can get it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Question-God-Sigmund-Freud-Lewis/dp/B0002Y4SXO

I have not been happy all my life like you describe but I have always believed in God's presence in my life in spite of a lot of abuse and death and neglect. I always believed God was/is the one constant in my life.

Anyway, the documentary is an excellent look at Lewis and Freud if you are interested.

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