Book Review & Atheist Churches

I just finished reading, Hope after Faith, by Jerry DeWitt. It’s an interesting read, especially for those of us who were—or still are—part of “more reserved” religions like Catholicism. The book answers the question, “How did a minister become an atheist?”

Mr. DeWitt is a former Pentecostal preacher from Louisiana who, over the span of 25 years, lost his faith in religion and then in God. He reveals the slow and painful unraveling of a belief system that had been a key part of his identity since childhood. As he tells his story, we also see how the people he met along the way influenced him, and how changes in what he believed about God brought about changes in his relationships with his wife, his coworkers and his community.

I know a few of you came from the Pentecostal faith, so you already know that, in order to be “saved,” three key things must happen. DeWitt explains:

But back then I was young and naïve about Pentecostal doctrine, which requires that one repent, be baptized in water and baptized in the Holy Ghost with the “evidence” of speaking in other tongues. All of theses requirements must be met in order to be saved…

Speaking in tongues is a key and distinguishing part of the Pentecostal faith. For those of us who’ve never had this experience, it seems a little “mysterious.” (Okay, that was a euphemism. Perhaps a better word is “crazy.”) But DeWitt grew up believing that, “…for one to believe that they are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise—that the person must provide supernatural evidence of that fact, demonstrated in an act like speaking in tongues.”

You wonder how people can believe these things, and then you wonder, how do they stop believing these things?  Some folks seem to have so much further to travel than others.

Though the book does not talk about the secular services in Baton Rouge that Mr. DeWitt now leads, we learn that he has always enjoyed preaching, and the connections he made with his congregation. All his life, he had worked hard to be a minister: “I had endeavored for so long to have an esteemed place in the community that to suddenly to be at the very bottom of the community was truly crushing.” When he came out as an atheist, he had emotional clarity. I love what he wrote here:

I could minister to people, I could be in their lives, all without pretending that I was someone who I wasn’t or pretending to know all the answers. For me, religion had become like embracing people with a hazmat suit—every emotional connection had occurred with that bulky suit on. Now I could help people without any layers of pretense.

It’s worth a read to see how a man of such intense faith takes the long, emotionally arduous road to atheism. Along the way, he also finds the answers to questions we all face as nonbelievers: How can we feel like a valued part of society? How do we cope with “fear, anxiety, depression and rejection”? How do we find “hope after faith”?

Another reader of this blog recently sent me this story about Godless Churches, noting that an atheist church would be a nice thing for her and her family to attend.  Perhaps the near future holds the growth of these “churches” that offer community and connections for those of us who feel marginalized.

How do you feel about a weekly service or meet-up for nonbelievers?

 

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67 responses to “Book Review & Atheist Churches

  1. Jay & Suzie Lotven

    Westside Unitarian-Universalist in Fort Worth might fulfill the need in Fort Worth. All are welcome, but the minister and all but a few congregants are nonbelievers.   We enjoy your posts (blogs?).   Jay Lotven

    ________________________________

    • Hi Jay Lotven I guess what I’m doing is blogging, though I like to think I’m just starting a conversation with everyone.

      Thanks for letting me–and others–know about your church in Fort Worth. We were just talking about the Unitarian Universalist churches.

  2. LanceThruster

    I’m of two minds on this. One is that to “fellowship” with other godless would be a pleasant experience, but to turn it into a ritual “obligation” might get old at some point. I would think that instead, regular but changing activities would make the event the reason for participation and not just the company (not that there would be anything wrong with that). Furthermore, I would still want it to be inclusive in that everyone is welcome to attend, but that it would be geared toward accommodating non- & unbelievers. Letting everyone else crash the party would show we don’t bite (much). We could also reinforce our commonality by reminding the believers in our midst that we are *all* of us “star stuff” (and listen patiently to those who feel they are outside of the evolutionary process before we dismiss their anti-science worldviews).

    If I recall correctly, there are also groups that create/perform humanist rituals for marking those special occasions and rites of passage.

    • @LT “Letting everyone else crash the party would show we don’t bite (much). We could also reinforce our commonality by reminding the believers in our midst that we are *all* of us “star stuff” (and listen patiently to those who feel they are outside of the evolutionary process before we dismiss their anti-science worldviews).”

      Sagan. (Literally & amen.)

      What you’re suggesting reminds me of the atheist/humanist meet-ups they have. They offer opportunities to meet with like-minded people for book club, dinners and talks…

  3. I had read that story about the non-believers gatherings. I love the idea of bringing people together in a community sense, much like a church, but without all of the preachings and expectations, etc. One thing worries me about it at the same time. I am not sure if I can explain it, but I worry that a leader of such an organization might turn it into some kind of “cult” of sorts or turn into some kind of extremist group. Maybe that’s because I watch too much TV or read too many news stories! 😉 I do hope that society moves in this direction. I believe that most of us need socialization and a feeling of belonging, but as we have learned, it’s much harder for those of us that don’t have religion. I also believe that a lot of good could come from such an organization of non-believers, they could gather to talk about current events and how to better their communities without having to sit through the far-fetched tales of religion.

  4. LanceThruster

    For the record, the link for the Godless Churches article was good and I liked the variety proposed for the monthly gatherings.

    To the question posed, “But why?”

    I would reply, “Why not?”

  5. (Okay, that was a euphemism. Perhaps a better word is “crazy.”)

    Yes, that’s about how I always looked at speaking in tongues.

    I watched a video of Jerry DeWitt presenting atheism in pentecostal style. It was entertaining, but I never did like that kind of emotional speech.

    As for a non-believer church — I think I’ll pass that up, though I don’t criticize others for wanting it.

    • @Neil— Same for me, “As for a non-believer church — I think I’ll pass that up, though I don’t criticize others for wanting it.” I understand that it might help others, but being an introvert, I’m not too much into large gatherings anyway…

  6. LanceThruster

    In a story narrated by Billy Ray Cyrus (Hillbilly: The Real Story), one segment was on snake handlers in which the footage also showed ‘holy rollers’ and those in the throes of glossolalia (talking in tongues). The whole experience is just so foreign to me…I mean really, really bizarre.

  7. “I had endeavored for so long to have an esteemed place in the community …”
    So part of his religiosity was to be esteemed in the community? Seems like more evidence that for many people, church-going is more about social appearances than religious belief.

    As for the church for non-believers, my first objection is calling it “church.” Call it a club meeting or something, but please, not church. And why on Sunday? To make it look more like church and religion? Seems to me that’s exactly what you don’t want to look like.

  8. When I was 11 or so, I attended a funeral at a Pentecostal church. It was a very disturbing experience and, I believe, eventually directly contributed to my distaste for religion.

    As for the atheist church idea … meh. It would be nice to have a community, but to me, church is a dirty word. I want no part of any church.

  9. When I was 11 or so, I attended a funeral at a Pentecostal church. It was a very disturbing experience and, I believe, eventually directly contributed to my distaste for religion.

    As for the atheist church idea … meh. It would be nice to have a community, but to me, church is a dirty word. I want no part of any church.

  10. OMG I would LOVE to have an Atheist Church to attend!!! I deeply miss the fellowship that goes alone with being an active part of a church. Being with truly wonderful people, who profess to believe in some kind of supernatural god, is the biggest thing I gave up when I became truly honest with myself and declared that I’m a non-believer. How sad is that? To live in an area where my identity, the respect and value I earn from my neighbors and friends, all depends on what Christian church I belong to…. I can tell you that it really sucks. 😦

    • For me the word “church” means a place where I can be completely accepted and not judged, even if I were to profess I was a non-believer. It’s a place where I could be a part of a fellowship with other like-minded people, where I could do everything I did back when I was one of those 20% who spend a majority of their time helping others, providing emotional support to others, helping them get through the life-ordeals they’re dealing with at the time, encouraging them along without praying to a fictional god….. Wow…. sounds like I really need to get involved in some kind of local community-service group… Only I know that most, if not all, of the other people in that group would be touting their bibles and spending all their time trying to “re-convert” me…. Yeah, sounds very cynical, I know… For others who have been seriously “burned” by religion, I know you’ll understand…

  11. PiedType, I think you’re exactly right. It IS more about appearances than religious belief for many, many people. And Chimay, I agree with you that just hearing the word “church” turns me off. But I do miss the community feel, the people of like mind getting together for social events, charity work, and to discuss how to make the world a better place for our children. I’d love a group like that, be it Sunday mornings or Tuesday nights or Thursday afternoons.

  12. LanceThruster

    I’ve always felt I would love to see some abandoned churches converted into multi-use halls. They’ve usually got killer acoustics and are often quite interesting architecturally.

  13. I wouldn’t have any problem with a weekly “atheist church” gathering, for random discussions, lectures, or just as an opportunity to “hang out”. One thing the church has going for it is its ability to quickly and conveniently establish community among like minded people – or at least people with a few things in common, anyway. Atheists / secularists / non-believers have no functional equivalent, and it’s to our detriment … especially when there is a need for some sort of collective action.

    As LT points out, though, it can’t be an obligation. It should just be a simple, low-pressure way for the non-believing community to keep in touch to whatever extent they feel is right for them.

  14. I had just typed out a huge comment, and somehow lost it on my end.

    For obvious reasons I have listed on here before, the idea of church makes my palms sweat and makes me want to puke.

    I have looked into a local Unitarian Church 30 miles away, but once I saw words like “God” and “hymn” on their website I was out!

    I understand the need for church because I’m a wife and a mom with small kids and the two choices I’ve seen for free thinking meet up groups that are 30 or more miles from where I live to begin with have no appeal to a family like mine: one that drinks, eats, and watches movies all the time, and the other does nothing but study books and listens to lectures every meet up. Could you imagine a man and woman in their 40s walking into that with two little boys who are eight and five years old? I feel that meet up groups think that everyone who is a free thinker is either college age or have already raised their children, and it sucks.

    My resolve is this, (I have a page listing the “things to do outside of church”) stir up your own family’s interests with music lessons, books, museums, parks, trips, and so, so much more. Just this past Sunday alone we went out for an early lunch, enjoyed our inexpensive family year long pass at a museum, saw downtown Memphis, had dessert, rode a riverboat on the Mississippi, got some great snap shots of the river, and went to a Japanese restaurant for a late dinner to eat hibachi.

    Shoot, I may not be going to church, but I’m enjoying life!

  15. In regard to atheist churches turning into cults and making way for abuse, I think that’s a real possibility because that’s exactly what happens in the “new age” groups. Something about power:) Still, I would love to just have an atheist friends group where folks met for dinner and activities……

  16. I think calling it a Church makes the whole thing a bit hypocritical. A gathering would be just fine. My catch phrase is, “Atheists don’t have pancake breakfasts.”

  17. Since I am an ordained minister in both The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Church of the Latter-Day Dude, I think I am qualified to be a pastor at an atheist church. The entire concept sounds eerie and odd to me. After spending too many years being forced to go to a Roman Catholic Church (the next best thing to organized crime), I sort of lost my taste for churches.

    Say, why don’t we meet for brunch?

    • Pastor Derrick. It’s actually really easy to become an ordained minister. It’s “completely free and legal”: http://www.ulc.org/
      No doubt people take advantage of that.

      • @Deborah Mitchell The “legal” comes into play when you register with the state (or states)in which you live. You have to prove ordination, and the ULC (that was my first ordination), The Church of FSM, and The Church of the LDD are allowed to register since they all keep a registry of who they’ve ordained.

        Fun Fact: I got ordained in the ULC some eleven years ago because a friend and his fiance wanted me to officate at their wedding. The loved the fact the minister who performed their marriage is an avowed atheist. It raised a few eyebrows. However, in order to make the marriage legal, I had to say the phrase “By the powers vested in me by the State of [State]…” and I had to sign and register the certificte of marriage. It was cool experience, and one for which I am forever grateful to my friends. Of course, I performed with every bit of seriousness they wanted. Wouldn’t want to ruin their day, after all.

        Thus, I can say with complete confidence to those who visit this board: There is such a thing as an atheist minister. I am proof of that!

        Maybe I will start a church. Could be interesting.

        • LanceThruster

          When I was advisor for the student atheist group, I was referred to as the ‘atheist chaplain.’

        • @Derrick LOL. I thought you were messing with me. There’s a radio personality–Russ Martin–that did the same thing.

          That’s cool that you officiated for your friends’ wedding. Can you do baptisms (“welcome into this big, mean world little one”) and funerals (“we won’t be seeing you later”)??

          I think LT mentioned he was an atheist chaplain.

          Don’t we have any women here who hold important titles? Any nones (nuns)? Haha? (I know–I’m not really funny. Just shut up and sit down.)

          • LanceThruster

            @Deb – Any nones (nuns)?

            I know in one of the devil movies, the character was named “Noone” as in “I am no one” or Luis Cypher.

            Also reminds me of the joke —

            1st man: I’m married to a nun.
            2nd man: Really?
            1st man: Yep. I get none in the morning, none in the afternoon, and none at night.

          • @Deborah Mitchell From what I understand about this, as long as it is regulated by the state, an registered ordained minister can perform the ceremony. Since baptism are not state recognized, that ceremony is regulated by whatever religion sponsors it. Funeral… anyone can officiate at a funeral. The certificate of death has to be signed by a licensed doctor, so that doesn’t fall into “ministerial” jurisdiction.

            The number of state sanctioned ceremonies any minister/preacher/pastor/priest can perform is very, very limited. The rest of the ceremonies clergy performs is just the religious hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo that has no state authority or power.

            I need to do more research on that. Good question, Deborah.

  18. Having participated in an atheist chat room years ago, I do understand that many atheists are anti-religion, some vehemently so! They equated church and god with greed (why are they always asking for money?) and guilt.

    In my area their are two “atheist church” options. One being the humanist society that meets on Sunday and most resembles a lecture series, the second being the Unitarian Universalist congregation. UU Congregations differ as greatly between themselves as much as individual members within a single congregation differ from each other….some quite theistic, others not at all. Congregations that I am familiar with have all struggled with “god language” and generally have landed in the place of “yeah, we will refer to “god” with a wide variety of names…but it is up to the individual to interpret what “god” means or doesn’t mean to them.” As for hymns, yes UU’s have a hymnal and sing hymns…some are old familiar tunes with wording changes, others are of our own devices. For me, singing in community was one of the things I liked best about the church experience when I was a believer in my youth and it is one of the things that draws me back to our services regularly.

    • @Sandy I’m not anti-religion, though it may sound like it at times. I know it is an important part in the lives of many. I just want religion to be a private experience and not shared or forced on the rest of us. I’ve been to a UU church once, many years ago, and the impression I got was that it was laid back and welcomed everyone.

  19. I have attended a weekly Sunday secular gathering in Houston since June. The main speaker is a former preacher. I really enjoy it. I look forward to Sundays. Its only from 10:30-12. Which I think is too short, but most of us meet at a local deli afterward and continue with our group discussions. Jerry Dewitt is coming as a guest speaker later this month and also Time maganize is visiting. The group is called Houston Oasis.

    • I forgot to mention we also plan volunteering events. This summer some the members put together a one day summer camp for kids which focuses on science and art.

    • @Toya Sounds interesting. Roughly how many people attend your church? How does the church support itself and is it held in a community building?

      • I never heard anyone used the word church. I think of it more as a gathering for fellowship. They rent out a room at a community conference center. Houston Oasis is a nonprofit organzition which accepts donations online and at the weekly gathering. I never counted but a guess avg 30-40 weekly meet. ( Usually at least half meets up again for lunch afterwards) I heard someone say that usually the room is full but attendence is down during the summer. I only been attending for a month. I think they started around October of 2012, I may be wrong.

      • I want to make a correction. Jerry Dewitt will be at the monthly Humanist of Houston meeting not Oasis. The two groups have members and some events in common I get them mixed up.

  20. Deborah, I have been following your blog since its CNN exposure and have loved your insights and thoughts. I often feel that you put into words exactly what I’m thinking. I am a “non-believer” and a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist church located in Des Moines Iowa. I discovered the church when looking for an appropriate church to take my young children several years ago. I wanted my kids to have a “community” like I had as a child. I found a supportive community that provides our family with spiritual growth opportunities without judgment or guilt and I love knowing that my children aren’t being brainwashed!. UU churches welcome people with any and all religious beliefs or lack thereof. Primarily we believe in the dignity of all people, justice, peace and caring for the earth that sustains us. Before we started attending I asked the minister with sincerity, “How can this work? How can you have christians, jews, muslims, pagans and atheists all gathering together?” He simply answered, “It just does.” What I’ve learned is that we are all humans with the same needs and when we respect each other, we can all thrive. I never thought a church could be an important part of my life, but it most certainly is.

    • @Becky Thanks so much for letting me know you’re out there and for the comment. I love what you wrote here, “How can you have christians, jews, muslims, pagans and atheists all gathering together?” He simply answered, “It just does.” What I’ve learned is that we are all humans with the same needs and when we respect each other, we can all thrive.”

      I had lunch today with another person who connected with me through this blog. (A perk of speaking out has been finding other like-minded people.) And she and I were discussing the same thing–when the kids are young, as a parent, you struggle with the idea of should you or should you not take your children to “church.” There are benefits to learning about religion, to the rituals. Once they are older, a window closes. It’s good to hear so many nonbelievers have found a place to connect with others…

  21. Great review, with your usual insightful thoughts woven thru it.

    Along this line, another good book is “Losing Faith in Faith” by Dan Barker.

  22. I understand that Atheists should not be excluded from the sense of fellowship or community that can come from a church setting. Its nice in this age of isolation to be a part of a group that will support you in hard times, share your beliefs, organize a casserole delivery for your family if your spouse dies, send their kids to the same activities your kids are going to, plan volunteer activities, etc. I get that. Non-believers want those things too.

    But on the other hand, can you have your cake and eat it too? How can you be Atheist but still want/get the benefits of a church community? I guess I can see how it could be construed as hypocritical. Believer or non-believer, we all have our moments of hypocrisy or contradiction… moments where we want to blur the lines of our beliefs to include or exclude certain things that make our life better or worse.

    • How can you be Atheist but still want/get the benefits of a church community? I guess I can see how it could be construed as hypocritical.

      How and why is it hypocritical to want to establish a strong sense of community and fellowship among like minded people without the supernatural elements of religion? Granted, it’s been the most common (and admittedly effective) mechanism through which social cohesion has been achieved and maintained through the course of history, but the two don’t actually have to be connected … especially in modern secular societies.

      • @Senator Jason, just agreeing with what others have said in comments, for example:

        @Maia: I think calling it a Church makes the whole thing a bit hypocritical. A gathering would be just fine. My catch phrase is, “Atheists don’t have pancake breakfasts.”

        Like Maia, I see how it could be construed as hypocritical. The same way it could be construed as hypocritical when, for RANDOM example, a Catholic decides they don’t want to participate in confession. We say we are one thing (Atheist; Catholic) but then we blur the lines to include or remove things we like or don’t like about our beliefs (attending church for the Atheist; not attending confession for the Catholic).

        It is a natural human tendency to want all of the good things associated with a certain belief system, but none of the bad. That’s why I understand why a non-believer might want some of the benefits or support that could come from a church system, without actually belonging to a church. But I also see how people might judge that.

        • Sure, calling it a “church” in any serious capacity may sound a bit hypocritical since there’s connotations with the word we want to avoid, and therefore using it would be unwise. Additionally, the label would pose some potential image problems in the eyes of those who still have no idea what atheism really is and is not.

          In light of that fact, I can understand why someone might judge atheists for wanting community without the god part, much in the same way I can understand why they incorrectly assume we have no morals or reason for living in the first place. It’s all the same argument. “If you don’t believe in God, how can you possibly have [insert societal construct here]?” When people are told all their lives that religion is the cornerstone of society – even modern secular societies that have abandoned large portions of biblibal law – these questions are going to stick around for a long time until atheism becomes more mainstream and less stigmatized.

          I saw your other comment. No worries, I just had to comment on the assumed necessity that religion and community have to be connected.

          • @Senator totally agree, religions don’t have an exclusive trademark on community. Same with morals. Nor should they.

        • @Molly You ask some good questions.

          I’d also like to address this point–that people accept or reject certain parts of their religion, yet still identify with it. Do you think, for example, if a woman believes in birth control or abortion, she should still consider herself Catholic. I know what the Vatican says about this, but individual priests send mixed messages about this….Curious about your thoughts because it is difficult sometimes to accept all of the tenets…

          • @Deb, I agree. That was my point about my Catholic-not-attending-confession example. (I actually find Confession a very humbling and fulfilling experience, for what its worth.) Believer or non-believer, sometimes we “accept or reject certain parts of our belief system but still identify with it”, as you said… and I think that is absolutely true. I am a Catholic, yes. But I do not oppose same-sex marriage, I am confident that un-baptized babies go to Heaven, and if I were struggling with fertility and wanted a baby, I think I would try in-vitro or other options. These are a few examples off the top of my head where my opinions or beliefs deviate from the official stance of the Church. I still consider myself Catholic. I get a lot from my faith; it is very important to me, and I believe in *most* of the things it teaches. But would a “better” Catholic who strictly adhered to ALL of the Church’s teachings in absolutely-every-way… would they see me as a hypocrite or as a worse Catholic? That is possible. I understand that I could be judged this way for my opinions.

            I’m thinking back to an experience I had in college. There was a couple that traveled the nation giving speeches, they are called A Boy, A Girl, A Virus. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Long story short, a man and woman fell in love. The man had HIV he contracted as a child from a bad blood transfusion. They explained the challenges this presented in their marriage, how they had to always wear a condom during sex, and how the wife went in for testing every month. Really an interesting story. I was promoting the presentation and wasn’t allowed to put a poster up in the Catholic student center because “the program promoted birth control”. Okay, I get it. The Church is opposed to birth control. I personally, in my marriage, do not use birth control (well, technically we use natural family planning which IS a form of birth control, if you really think about it… and sorry for the TMI). This has been the right choice for us. But I realize that isn’t the right choice for everyone. I think we all know people that REALLLY need to be on birth control. So that is one example where I see the issue isn’t black-and-white. Was that man supposed to never fall in love and have a sexual relationship because he had a childhood disease that he didn’t ask for? How is that fair? I remember too talking to my gay uncle once, when I was much younger, and I said “the Church doesn’t oppose gay people, it just opposes gay marriage”. And he said, “yeah but what kind of life is that?” Again, not all issues are black and white, I find it difficult to have strong opinions on some of these controversial issues because there is so much gray area. I literally can see valid points of both sides. In my experience, disagreeing with some of the “official” stances of the Church hasn’t shaken my faith or my Catholicism… but I know I’m not the *perfect* by-the-book Catholic either.

            • @Molly Right. I totally get what you’re saying. My mom is the same way–believes in birth control and still a Catholic. I think that most people DO feel that way now. It is unrealistic to agree with everything a religion promotes, even if they tell you that you must. These church laws were made in a time when many children died young and big families were important. Now. Bigger families can be too expensive for most. And it’s just not practical or desirable for many…

              At the end of the day, if your faith or your church or your humanist group or your pet gives you peace and comfort, that’s all that matters.

              • @Deb, right. But there are SOME people who staunchly agree with EVERYTHING in their faith – no questions asked. For me, I’m not afraid to probe at things I disagree with. As far as the big picture stuff? Yeah, I’m on board.

            • Molly, it breaks my heart that your Catholic student center wouldn’t allow you to put that poster up because of the couple’s use of condoms. I would have thought their response to be a bit unjust, even in my most conservative Christian days.

            • I don’t believe sex is only for pro-creating life. The intimacy of making love is an open, honest way to express our love for another. Making love is completely natural and I refuse to be made to feel guilty about it anymore!!! Good grief, my parents are in their 70’s – very Mormon – and they still have sex! My mom told me they other day that they “don’t do it as much as [we] should, either your dad has a headache or I’m too tired…” LOL How great is that? 🙂

              Who does the church, or anyone else, think they are stepping across my personal boundaries to tell me I shouldn’t be responsible and use birth control?

              I’ve never heard that the pope says in-vitro is wrong… Is this true??

              • @Shelley Yes, unfortunately, the Catholic church (there may be others) doesn’t believe in birth control or in-vitro.

                That’s a cool story about your parents. Probably not for you, but heck, that’s great for them!

              • @Shelley – the church opposes in-vitro in the event that fertilized zygotes are discarded. This would be right in line with abortion. I understand that the Church needs to take a somewhat black-and-white stance in order to maintain its credibility on the issue, I really do, but as I said before… the Church doesn’t understand the personal pain of a woman desperate for a baby and unable to conceive naturally. So, this is one issue I think has some gray area in it (at least for me). Re the poster issue, it didn’t “break my heart”… I think I just rolled my eyes and thought “how closed minded”, and that was the end of it. Like I said, it in no way shook my “big picture” faith.

                Re your parents – I’m in my 30s and I usually have a headache or am too tired too… haha… But not using birth control (although like I said, natural family planning IS birth control – the Creighton method, to be specific) has been a real joy in our marriage. I think one issue I have with birth control, in some cases, is that it devalues a woman… i.e. I remember in high school one of my friends was taking the pill, and her boyfriend said “you better be taking that shit!” I remember thinking, ugh how degrading. The beauty of the Creighton method is that it puts the “burden” or responsibility of birth control on BOTH of us. Its a team effort. For that reason, I like it. It brings him into the rhythm of my body and he’s a part of it too.

                • Thanks Molly, for the the explanation regarding the Catholic Church’s position regarding in-vitro. After thinking about it, I’d be very surprised to learn that no other religious group is against in-vitro. I never even thought about the fertilized eggs not used being “disposed” of. Good grief. My sis is 37 and she’s going through in-vitro right now. She and her husband have two boys ages 8 and 11, and she also has a horrendous case of endometriosis. At this point, it’s a choice she and her husband have made together – and all of us to know and love them support them in whatever choices they make! Sure, they could adopt another child, but this is what they want to do. No one has any “moral” right to pass judgment on them! I know you’re not, Molly, I know you feel as I do. It’s none of my business!!! I just felt the need to vent….

                  And to both you and Deborah, yea some people think it’s weird that my mom and I talk about sex. Geez I’m 50 years old! I’ve been married and I have two grown sons. Mom and I have a wonderful, very close, woman-to-woman relationship. When she told me that she and my dad still have sex, my first thought was, “Go mom!!!” 🙂 They’ve been married 51 years, still sleep together in a full-size bed, always all wrapped up around each other…

      • And for what its worth… I really don’t have a strong opinion either way on this. If non-believers want to get together, why not? If they get together with believers, even better. As long as no harm or anger comes from it on either side, then the more companionship the better I say.

  23. The weekly secular gathering I attend has posts on youtube of past gatherings if anyone is interested in what goes on. Its called Houston Oasis.

  24. Becky-We seem to have had almost identical experiences! Although my kids were young in the 80’s.
    Jason- I couldn’t agree more!
    Sandy

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