For the record

English: Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Harva...

English: Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Harvard Road, Chiswick W4, London. U.K. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David told me the other day, he sometimes gets nostalgic for church. We haven’t attended church together for years, although at one point we loved our local church where we were married.

Aunt Marge badgered both of us to attend Mass with her, but I resisted. David caved in, because he’s a guy who can’t say no.

David converted from Russian Orthodox to Episcopalian in his youth. I left the Roman Catholic church for Anglicanism largely over the issue of divorce.  I literally went to the RC church one Sunday and the Episcopal Church the next in late December 1973.  That same month, I spilt from my first husband to whom I was married for 16 long miserable years. I was confirmed Episcopalian in Fredericksburg VA, at Trinity Episcopal Church in 1975 by Father Bob Boyd. I have been an Episcopalian for almost 40 years.

I converted to Anglicanism after reading material by Bishop James Pike, so I suppose  I am a part of the ‘ultra-liberal’ group that caused the Episcopal Church to split.  My daughter is fairly conservative, and my granddaughters are divided, so we don’t get into many discussions on religion.  

Bishop Pike supported many things I believe are very important including same-sex marriage and ordination of women.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Bishop Pike: 

James Albert Pike (February 14, 1913 – September 1969) was an American Episcopal bishop, prolific writer, and one of the first mainline religious figures to appear regularly on television.

His outspoken views on many theological and social issues made him one of the most controversial public figures of his time. He was an early proponent of ordination of women, racial desegregation, and the acceptance of LGBT people within mainline churches. Pike was the fifth Bishop of California.

When I left the Church, some members of my very RC family thought I had lost my mind. It was the hardest decision I ever made.  I might have left the RC church, but I continue to love religious discussions. I respect the Church, I just don’t agree with some of its teachings. 

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I have a long-term interest in the history of the RC Church. Most of what I have learned about Christianity in the West and the rest of the world for that matter, I learned in graduate history classes during the last decade. I don’t read much theological material these days. Anyone interested in the history of the sixteenth century, the age of exploration and empire building as they pertain to Europe, must study the RC Church because missionaries wrote the material which informs social scientists today.

The French, Portuguese, and Spanish sent missionaries to places they colonized. The purpose of the missionaries was to protect the indigenous people from commercial interests and convert them to Christianity.  For better or worse, Saint Francis Xavier, whom I mentioned in my post yesterday was one of the first missionaries to India, China and other parts of Asia.

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Chinua Achebe died this past week. When I was much younger I read his first novel Things Fall Apart. I believe he was the first African author I read.

I kept a journal about two decades and should have a good record of what I read, but alas, I never included text books or school assignments. I recorded the non-text books, which were mostly historical fiction. 

Really good works of fiction stick in my mind.

One work of historical fiction I read, In a Dark Wood Wandering, by Hella Haase made such an impression, years later aspects of the book haunt me.  I read The Scarlet City also by Haase, but didn’t like it quite as much.

A favorite topic of mine, The Wars of the Roses, forms the background of In a Dark Wood Wandering.  

5 thoughts on “For the record

  1. There is a big difference between religion and faith. People are flawed but faith and even many, many flawed people of faith have had a huge positive impact on my life. Invigorating discussion.

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  2. I went to church for many many years. I was at one time or another, a deacon, an elder and a choir member. Now I try to avoid them like the plague. Patty still goes occasionally.

    My central problem with churches is the same problem I have with our government (and the world in general for that matter), hypocrisy. And yes, I was one of those hypocrites. I would recite and vow things that I didn’t truly believe. Finally, I decided to be true to myself.

    I don’t claim this is some recent scourge that has affected our society. The church has been a platform for power grabbing and sexual misdeeds since the time of Paul, and well before in other religions. The closest thing I can see to a true and pure religion is Buddhism. And it doesn’t even claim to be a religion.

    There, that’s your Sunday sermon and you didn’t even have to put money in the offering plate. However, feel free to send me some as your conscience dictates.

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  3. I used to attend Mass regularly and was involved in Outreach, Religious Ed, and Eucharistic Ministry. I also invited priests to my home for dinner. One of them was later fired by the Bishop and sued by a man who accused the priest of sexually molesting him when he was a kid. Boy, was I shocked. Since then, David and I have had no interest in Catholicism.

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    • All churches have some problem or other. When I was a kid, our parish priest died in a motel room in SC. He was with a hooker. Dad got so angry he took us to another church for years.

      After David and I married, our Episcopal priest had an affair with a parishoner and got her pregnant. He left his wife, married his lover and is somewhere in NJ where he was sent by the Bishop. Dianne

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