Friday, March 15, 2013

On Religion

Wrote this awhile ago - felt like it was appropriate to post with all the stir about a new Pope.

It is difficult for me to maintain and continue to practice the religion in which I was brought up in as a Conservative Reformed Episcopalian because I think if I was born to a different family or grew up in a different area or region of the world, there is a good chance I would be brought up with a different religion; maybe even a religion that contradicts the religion I have grown up with.

I am disgusted by how little people, including me, know about religion in general and specifically the one they practice.

I was confirmed when I was in the third grade. Yes, this was an unusually young age for Confirmation but there were extenuating circumstances. A girl a year older than me asked what church I went to when she learned I was to be confirmed. Then she asked what type of church it was, as in what denomination. Here I was about to be confirmed and I didn't even know what denomination my church belonged to. Yes, I could recite the 10 Commandments and the Nicene Creed, but I was completely unaware of the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism and the many different faiths that fell under the Protestantism category. To continue with this idea of lack of knowledge regarding religion:  During the summer of 2006 I participated in a trip to Spain, France, and Italy as a part of the People to People Student Ambassadors Program, founded by Eisenhower. My delegation was composed of 3 smaller groups:  mine from the DFW area, 1 from Midland, TX, and 1 from either North or South Carolina. Yes, I should learn what discriminates the one state from the other. Anyways, each time we switched hotels, we got a new roomate. My first roomate was from N/S Carolina. We began asking each other questions to get to know one another. She quickly volunteered the information that she was a Baptist. By this time I had come to be a more learned individual since my confirmation, so I was able to confidently tell her that I was a Reformed Episcopalian. My roomate gave me a quizzical look and asked "Is that like being Jewish?" I sighed and began relating the information I knew about Christianity and its denominations. I truly began to question my roomate's intelligence when I made the connection that I had been wearing the sterling silver cross necklace I had bought for myself earlier that year.

Enough about the disappointments I have in society's lack of knowledge. A recent event caused me to come to the conclusion that God has either forgotten or mistaken my name - sort of like when Harry tells Charlotte in Sex and the City that God must have forgotten their address because they were having difficulty adopting a child. The church I have attended since I was born has a group of ladies who knit together prayer shawls for those going through a difficult time and/or illness. Word finally made its way to the head of this organization that I have been dealing with a serious illness for nearly two years. Out of kindness, this elderly woman put together a package for me including a beautiful, blue, hand-made prayer shawl. I smiled when I received the package at home from my mother. Later that night I began to feel sad and lonely so I went to get the prayer shawl, thinking it would comfort me. I lifted the shawl and found a card at the bottom of the bag. It was a standard card with a message stating the shawl's hopeful purpose. At the top of the card, there was a blank space - it was filled in with "Erin Dione." Suddenly my sorrow became anger :  "How could God screw up my name?! Again!" I wasn't calmed down until I woke up my mother and told her the situation. The other time God messed up my name was incidentally when I was confirmed. My priest whispered my name into the Bishop's ear and instead of "Erin Lynn" the Bishop simply heard and repeated "Carolyn." Thus, Carolyn was confirmed as a Conservative Episcopalian. Months later, I shared with my mother the distraught I felt in being confirmed with the wrong name. By this time, the priest I had grown up with in the church had retired, and our church had the privilege of acquiring a Bishop. My mom had become pretty familiar with this new man and brought my trouble to him. He didn't quite know what to do, so he consulted his Archbishop. This resulted in a private Re-Confirmation ceremony of Erin Lynn.

I guess I will simply wait and see what happens next.

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