The Surprising Reason Sunday is My Favorite Day

 

Early this morning, I leaped out of bed. I chased my five-year-old down the stairs, and let the dogs out the patio door. The clock said 7 am, and Sunday morning was in full effect.

Our cats and dogs circled their bowls for their food.

My son screamed with excitement about a new show on YouTube.

I worked through my mental checklist of what I needed to get done.

Animals fed, check.

Medications for my son administered, check.

Food set out for my son, check.

Coffee brewing, check.

Medications for me taken, check.

The clock said 7:45 and I completed what I needed to get done. I grabbed a cup from my cabinet, filled up my coffee, and flipped open my laptop to start working.

As I sat working on my article for the day, it occurred to me Sunday mornings never use to be like this before.

Waking up meant we had to rush into the shower, get dressed, and run out the door to get to service.

I’d spend the morning ushering in new families around the church, and I’d show them where to drop off their kids.

Greeting families was my job, and I loved to help others feel welcome in our community.

My son spent his morning at Sunday school. He struggled to engage with the children his age, and he often moved himself to the area where younger kids played.

My husband often found himself chatting with parents and helping parents that experienced technical issues with our church printers.

We spent close to four years with this same routine every single Sunday.

After church, we rushed home and got lunch ready for our son and ourselves.

From 7 am until after 1 pm every single Sunday.

By the time the dust settled, it would often be mid-afternoon. We had no time to connect as a family, go on outings, or get anything done in our home.

Every single weekend, we had one day to be together and take care of our errands.

Sunday always was spent at church.

Our life felt chaotic during this time, but I also felt full spiritually and emotionally.

At least I thought I did.

Then something inside my heart and mind changed.

The change began gradually, and I tried to ignore the lingering doubts that plagued my thoughts.

I didn’t believe what I heard in service.

Stories from the bible made little to no sense to me.

The direction of our church started moving in a direction that was opposite my families needs.

As members, we felt as though the church wanted more of our time, money, and service.

We gave all of ourselves.

We tithed to the general fund, and to the fund to build a new building.

Each week we served our community with happiness and grace.

It never seemed to be enough for the church.

Each season we received more requests for money. Our wallets had no money left, and we stopped going to meetings because we had nothing left to give.

Then came the service that changed everything for our family. Our pastor told us that we needed to tithe 10% to the church.

He told us we shouldn’t give money to charity because the church will give back to others. We were challenged to tithe 10% to the church for 90 days, and they said that our relationship with God would increase.

I looked over at my husband during service, and I noticed his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. Part of me wanted to nudge him so people wouldn’t see his displeasure, but the other part wanted people to witness his disgust.

I did nothing.

When service completed, we walked out to get our son from his class. My husband and I didn’t say much to one another until we got into our car.

Both of us unloaded our feelings of anger and frustration we felt after listening to the sermon.

We couldn’t believe after all we had done for the church; they asked us for more. However, we felt most hurt that despite all we had given to the church, our pastor implied we needed to do more to have better favor with God.

The entire car ride home we vented to one another, and soon all of our frustrations from the past four years spewed out of our mouths.

We both felt our son struggled in class and didn’t have the support he needed.

We realized we had no idea where the church spent the money.

Neither one of us believed in the direction the church was going, but neither of us knew what to do next.

For a few weeks, we agreed to take a break from church.

Our Sunday mornings became relaxed and lazy.  I noticed our son felt happier at home than he was at church.

As a family, we had more time to spend with each other, and we had more time to get things done around the house. Our priority slowly shifted from serving others and the church to helping our family.

By the end of our weekend, we all felt rested and ready for the week.

The break started out as a few weeks to cool down our emotions, but it turned into several months away from the church.

By May we had not been to church in months. My husband and I did not discuss our plans for the future.

Over the span of the months away, I realized I was happier away from the church than I was when I was there.

I no longer had to wrestle with the conflict of my firmly held beliefs about the world and what the Bible taught me to be true.

As a mother, I no longer feared my son, who has special needs, not getting the help he needed in class. My son no longer had to spend hours in a place that gave him anxiety and made him unhappy.

My husband no longer had a frown on his face every time Sunday morning rolled around.

On Mother’s day, we took a long walk and talked through our thoughts and feelings about going back to church.

Despite my fear that my husband and I might feel differently, I learned we both felt disconnected from God and to the community at church.

Both of us agreed we could no longer subscribe to a faith that did not align with our personal convictions on how we treat and respect other humans.

As a family, we decided we no longer wanted to go to church.

Since that day, we spend Sundays as a family. We can make plans to be with friends, or we can stay at home as a family. The best part is we are no longer under any obligation to be anywhere.

Our mornings are lazy now. All of us stay cuddled up in our jammies, and we move slowly into the rest of the day. By afternoon, we have the choice to be still lazy or do something together. The freedom we have now is indescribable.

Looking back now, I can’t even imagine spending our Sundays the way we once did. Sunday had become a day I dreaded every single week.

Now that our family is living true to our convictions and our beliefs, Sunday has once again become my favorite day.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Growing up, church was expected, an obligation. I carried that obligation through my mid-thirties when I converted (fortunately my husband converted at the same time, for different reasons). My kids played sports on Saturdays and Sundays, so church attendance would have been spotty anyway for several years. But not losing half a day each weekend to church obligation has been great. (Actually, when I was a kid, we had Sunday morning services, then went home a few hours, then returned Sunday evenings for Training Union and another church service – we really only had about 4 hours not devoted to church on Sundays). Enjoy your Sunday mornings.

  • Dang! That’s a whole lot of church in one day! We had church on Sunday and groups on Monday and Thursday. I volunteered on Wednesdays sometimes too. It was a lot each week. initially, I loved having so much to do – but over time it all felt like a chore. I’m digging my Sunday mornings now. Logging in and writing is my favorite way to spend it 🙂

  • Clancy

    I wish I could do that. I’m a cradle atheist who married someone who only asked to go to church Easter and Christmas. When our daughter was five, she asked if we could go to church every week, so I started going to keep an eye on things. Fast forward 25 years (yes, 25), I’ve retired and we now attend the church where our daughter is the pastor. I’ll be attending church the rest of my life. At least she preaches short sermons.

  • Jennny

    Yup, this was me too, with the added burden of making sure I didn’t do any ‘work’ on Sundays, I checked school uniforms were washed and pressed for Mondays, so I didn’t sin by using the washing machine or the iron and I saw we had milk so I didn’t need to shop.We never missed church and it was all about image, I thought we were witnessing to neighbours when they saw our family getting into the car every single Sunday morning. I was already having doubts, I’d been a thousand per cent committed, financially and energy-wise, and then got seriously ill. The pastor just sent me a 5 word email ‘Hope U R OK’ and never visited or asked about me. I refused to be hurt, I just realised following this fiction was exhausting me emotionally and in many other ways. The liberation of deconverting was wonderful for every day, but especially for Sundays. It took a while to lose the guilt of doing chores on that day, like being seen, shock-horror, mowing the lawn on the sabbath…but it’s great now.

  • I am so glad you found happiness!! My son has been ill for the past year – he has chronic health issues – but he’s had multiple surgeries and he’s waiting for open heart surgery next. During this time our church family was NOWHERE. We had a single meal dropped off by our pastor – and then nothing again. After years of giving so much of ourselves, we got no support. It was eye-opening to me. Our need at the church was financial – that was it. When we needed them – nothing.

  • I am so sorry! At least you get to see your daughter every week! But I am sure being at home would be a lot better.

  • Jennny

    The crazy thing was that it was a small church, they couldn’t afford to lose people, financially or volunteer-wise. The small team I was in, running a successful kids club and Sunday school was decimated. I’m not boasting when I say we were a very talented bunch and other churches came to watch and learn how we did things. I got ill, two others left because of the attitude of the pastor and another’s marriage failed so kids work has stopped. Now I help manage a team of volunteers at a secular project for the Learning Disabled. I advocate strongly at committee meetings that we care for our volunteers, show them our appreciation. I suggested giving a small token gift at xmas with a thank you card and that we send flowers etc to a sick one. I thought only churches ‘cared for people’ but this secular project is wonderful at it and morale is excellent.

  • Clancy

    I put it in the same mental category as going to all the high school football games to see her in the band. I’ve try to make it more tolerable by playing in the handbell ensemble for 20 years, but I have to start one at her church. First practice today!

  • That is so wonderful that you have been able to use your skills to help others! Isn’t it funny how when you are in church, the church does a good job of making people feel like people in the secular world are selfish and don’t care? I grew up Catholic, but my father has been an atheist my whole life. I grew up with confusing thoughts about who and what God was. I went to church and was confirmed but always had doubts. However, my dad, who didn’t go to church, was HUGE about doing good in the community. He was on the school board for 18 + years and was dedicated to improving the schools. My mom, who worked in education, started a booster non-profit organization for the school. The organization STILL exists today – they raise money to help with school projects, events, and anything the district can’t pay for. My parents were always super involved in helping others. Which is how I ended up as a writer. It was one way I could help the community of mother’s like me – even though I was stuck at home – I could use my talents to help others. You don’t have to believe in God to do Good. Sometimes doing things to be good – is more authentic than doing it to please God.

  • The sacrifices we make for our kids! You are a great parent for putting aside your preferences for her. She’s lucky to have you. Also, great job finding a way to enjoy the discomfort. I love when people can turn unpleasant situations into ones that have a positive spin. I’m grateful that my husband is a firm non-believer. I dragged him on my journey to church, and he tolerated it and pretended the best he could. Over time, I knew he wasn’t invested and didn’t believe. I asked him numerous times but he’d never admit it. The day I finally told him I no longer believed, he admitted he never believed, he tried, but couldn’t ever get there. He wanted to believe after the passing of his mother – but as hard as he tried – it wasn’t possible. So here we are now. 🙂

  • Clancy

    I never concealed my beliefs from her. I went to church, but I would never join. I participate in services, singing, reciting prayers, etc., but I don’t recite the affirmation of faith and I won’t take communion. It’s no secret at her church, as she has even used something I did years ago in a sermon, referring to me as her “atheist dad”.

  • How did that make you feel when she described you that way?

  • Clancy

    She asked my permission. It was a story about how I, and my boss, allowed one of my staff return to work after he had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1986. We got a lot of push-back and stood firm.

  • that is a wonderful story to tell!

  • Clancy

    She claims it’s the most Jesus-y thing someone she knows has done, and finds it ironic that it’s about an atheist. Incidentally, the guy with AIDS had to go out again in two months, and died soon after.

  • Clancy

    Ooh, I forgot. When he came in the first day back, I got up and shook his hand in full view of everyone.

  • Well you don’t have to do Good just because God guides you. This is such a big misconception in the faith world. I remember hearing over and over – that without god and left to our own devices we would be horrible, awful people. I thought about all the years I had lived prior to church – and I wasn’t a terrible horrible person. Heck, I was delivering Food as a part of meals on wheels without being involved in a church.

  • Awesome!

  • dcinDC

    How wonderful for you! I’m as thrilled as Christians must be when they get another victim – oops, convert… member? sucker? whatever they call them. I’m sure you are just as “Christian” as you used to be but without the abuse from your church. Maybe if they offered an attractive product that would appeal to more members, they wouldn’t have to badger the ones who are left for more money. As far as your son, I feel that subjecting young children to religion before they can process it and apply critical thinking, is nothing less than child abuse. Of course, they don’t want parents or children to apply critical thinking; that’s when it all falls apart. Best to you from good ol’ Christian Indiana!

  • dcinDC

    I had to look up Training Union. It’s as horrifying as I thought. From churchwithoutwalls.org – “Come back to church training ground. Join us as we revisit Baptist Training Union (BTU). Complete in Bible drills, Name that Tune and other games on October 12, 2016 at 7:00pm on the Eldridge Campus.” Training ground and Bible drills??? OMG!!! Name that tune? Hymns, I imagine. This is scary AF!

  • Lol for kids it was fun and games. Do you know “Sword drills”? The teacher calls out a bible verse (John 3:16 for example) and the fastest to find it and read it from their bible wins. (When I told my kids about this they thought it was crazy AF). When we were teens talk turned to eschatology and methods for proselytizing our peers – because, you know, it would be our fault if the rapture came and our friends were left behind and went to hell.

    It is scary AF. I think Southern Baptists rebranded training union to AWANA but I could be wrong. I left that religion 25 years ago.

  • anxionnat

    I have had similar experiences with church. (I’m venting here.) From age 8 until I went away to college at 18, when my parents and siblings went to church, I was left in charge of my older brother, who is blind and developmentally disabled. I couldn’t talk to him because he’d go into a screaming tantrum when he’d hear my voice. I had to change his diaper, as he was not toilet trained. I also had to watch him like a hawk, because when he defecated, he’d reach into his diaper and smear the feces all over wherever he happened to be–and I had to clean it up before my folks got home, all the while watching him and not talking. Sometimes he would have a two-hour or more tantrum for no reason. If I hadn’t calmed him down by the time my folks got home, I was grounded for the rest of the week. (I had no social life, as I was grounded more often than not.) I hated Sundays. My brother was at least 6″ taller and 30 pounds heavier than I. He’d hit me with both fists, and I couldn’t say anything, because–here we are again, back to tantrums. When my folks and siblings got home, after I got to rest for an hour, my mom would wake me up and send me off to church. Sometimes I was so tired, I’d fall asleep in church. At age 9, or so, I was a pretty good kid, but had to go to confession each week. I noticed that I was making things up, because you couldn’t just say *nothing*! I asked my mom if it was ok to tell lies like this. She said, “Don’t worry about it. Everyone does that.” So I realized that I was lying to the priest. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the church was lying to me. Although I had to keep up the formality of observance til I went away to college, that realization that eventually made me into the atheist I am today.

  • dcinDC

    SMH… I have seen AWANA on the sign of our First Christian Church (technically my church but I gave it up long ago) and just now looked it up. Oh, my! They are persistent, aren’t they! Get ’em young before they can think. Sad. Funny, while I’ve been reading this, I’ve been listening to The Atheist Experience clips on YouTube. Mildly entertaining, but mostly annoying. There’s just no arguing faith against science. It’s just never gonna work. Cheers!

  • Wow! That is a lot of responsibility for your family to put on you at such a young age!

  • Is that my official “welcome to the club” If so, I am super glad to be here!

  • Dang, that sounds like how the Pentecostal churches are up here!

  • LOL! Well the Faithful will tell you – “it’s just a feeling they have” 😉

  • They have to get them young while still impressionable. My kids, for example, at 16 and 18 think religious stories are no different from any other stories (Harry Potter, DC Comics, etc) but less entertaining. We have offered to take our kids to religious services to explore, but as they say, “We don’t need it, we don’t want it, and if you want it, knock yourself out but don’t involve me” ( direct quote from my son).

  • Good for your son! I wish I would have stayed away. After I left the Catholic Church in High shool – I didn’t go back until my son was very sick – and I got “Love Bombed”

  • Yeah, Southern Baptists don’t speak in tongues but they do a lot to indoctrinate children. As a kid, there were fun games and crafts. As a teen there are retreats and lock ins and concerts. Lots of small group time talking and appealing to teen angst about how they can be warriors for Jesus, set a great testimony and witness, eschew the “world” to show how awesome it is to be saved and “living for the lord”. (Barf)

    In reality there is a lot of judgmentalism.

  • I spent a very short time in youth ministry at my non-denom rock back church – and OMG the way they cater to those kids and love bomb them – it’s bad. I had to leave because leaders always took the kids sides in any disagreement they had with their parents

  • They prey and pray on the most vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of sweet, loving people there. But there is a lot of ugliness rooted in doctrines of sin, hell, guilt, brokenness, low esteem. Bigotry reigns supreme, cloaked in “the bible says it is sin” and “love the sinner, hate the sin” where one must change who one is. I had many friends whose fundy families abandoned them for being gay.

  • Love bombing is an apt description. Many kids feel starved for love, but they don’t understand the religious strings attached.

  • OMG “Love the sinner hate the sin” was literally my most hated thing said by our pastor. And I am not broken! Nor is my kid.

  • Very much so. And the staff preyed on that vulnerability. The same way I was preyed on when I needed support dealing with my very sick son.

  • anxionnat

    Yeah, I know. When my youngest brothers were infants (when I was 8 and 10 years old respectively) my mom just breast-fed them, and then plopped them in my arms. She’d go off to deal w/ my older brother, saying over her shoulder, “His diaper needs changing.” I was the oldest kid–er, girl–other than my older brother, who was disabled, as I’ve noted above. By age 13 I knew I didn’t want kids. Some of my partners, over the years, tried to talk me into having “just one” kid, but I never changed my mind. The nice thing about parenting now is disposable diapers. It took real skill to fold and put on a traditional diaper, and there are some tricks to getting it right. Another old skill that’s dying a deserved death. And, I don’t mind being an Auntie, but never did or will have one of my own.

  • I hear that! We are all human, with all our unique qualities. Sometimes we make bad choices, but the concept of original sin is abhorrent to me. As a kid I questioned it and was told I couldn’t understand god’s ways and satan was tempting me. I thought the logical thing for an all powerful God would be to start over after Adam and Eve sinned. Why put millions of people through inevitable suffering? But apparently 11 year old heretics don’t know what they are talking about.

  • Yes. That makes me sad.

  • My son has no qualms about eating a meat-loaded taco on Fridays during Lent in front of his Catholic friend who is eating a cheese quesadilla. As my son said, “Matt’s religious rules aren’t my problem, they’re his. ” I have no argument there.

  • God forbid you actually question anything! That is Satan in your ear!

  • I do not blame you! I wouldn’t want kids either. I only ever wanted 1 and that’s what I have

  • I kind of want to be friends with your son 😉

  • Morgan Lefaye

    The only way I could tell which co-workers were Muslim would be the ones who didn’t eat pepperoni on their pizza. Of course, if someone objected to my eating something because of their culture, I would apologize and throw the offending food away and remember to never eat it again in their presence. I would feel I was being a bigot otherwise.

  • Morgan Lefaye

    And the fruits of all that are often mental illness, self-harm, and suicide.

  • Morgan Lefaye

    Wait a minute! Isn’t that unbiblical?

  • Sonyaj

    Wow, what a nightmare childhood you had – I’m sorry :(. That was unfair to both you and your brother to shove the responsibility of his care onto you. My childhood sort of sucked, but for different reasons (mostly relating to having an ignoring narcissist for a mother), and thankfully, being saddled with raising a DD sibling wasn’t part of it. Nonetheless, like you, I also knew at an early age I didn’t want kids, and TBH, it was the single best decision I’ve ever made.

    I grew up in an atheist household, so the obligatory Sunday church crap was never part of my life. However, at some point, probably in Jr. Hi, since it seemed like all my classmates did go to church, I asked my mom if I could go. She had grown up Methodist, so she took me to Sunday School….for a while, until I realized that it was boring as hell, and the stories were not real. As I was just relating in another Patheos comment section yesterday, that sort of began my never-look-back path to atheism.

    Interestingly, my boss is a recent deconvert from LDS. She used to spend a good part of her Sundays attending whatever sort of stuff Mormons do (not just sitting around listening to boring, contradictory sermons), and between the way the church was dealing with her trans-gendered son (hint: not well), along with stuff she sorting out on her own, and a post of the CES letter I forwarded to her, she finally called it quits. Like Katie, she now finds Sundays to be a glorious day of doing what SHE wants. She told me that yesterday, for example, she gardened. The church keeps trying to claw her back, but she is 100% done.

  • which part?

  • That is so polite and kind of you!

  • You would have to like baseball, soccer, bowling, cheeseburgers, and Fortnight.

  • You are nicer than I am. I just don’t offer my Muslim and Jewish coworkers pork or my Hindu coworkers meat products.

  • Hmm, I don’t like soccer and I’m not sure what Fortnight is…But I’m cool with the other stuff. But my favorite sport is tennis

  • Yeah, true. One girl at my church at 15 years old put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. Of course, we didn’t know what else was happening in her life. Such a waste.

  • Andrea Fitzgerald

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  • You are so welcome! Thank you for commenting 🙂

  • Fortnight is a video game. He will watch tennis. His passion is baseball – he wants to play in college – he is on a college showcase team (his choice, we never pushed that – told him if he wanted to pursue extra training, etc, we would see how we could swing it). It is good for him to have goals, and we leverage it for grades lol.

  • Sonyaj

    YESSSS! Welcome to the “I can sit around in soft pants, drink coffee and play with my kid/pets” Sunday club. It’s truly glorious, especially since you have a family: spend more time with them + save money + be in a better mood = 100% WIN.

    My unmarried partner of 13+ years and I are both atheists, no kids, so he spends a good part of his Sunday reading, doing gardening, or playing his guitar. Or, we are on a hike. I also work 2 Sundays a week, which is fine, because it’s only 4 hours, and I love my job. Yesterday, he was driving back from a Teton family trip, and I went on a 9 mile hike/run in the Church of the Great Outdoors, and it was glorious. This coming Sunday morning, I will be waking up in a backpacking tent somewhere in the southern Rockies, near or on the Continental Divide trail. By myself. It will likely be sublime as I watch the sun rise over the mountains and make some coffee as I wait for the night time frost/condensation to evaporate off my gear.

    Cheers to Sundays!

  • Sonyaj

    You have clearly raised some awesome kids; your son’s quote made me LOL.

  • Yes!!! So much! I love the not tithing anymore part – that’s maybe my favorite 😉

  • that quote is why I want to be his friend!

  • Sonyaj

    I want to bitch-slap people when they say that bit of garbage. Sin is nothing more than a made-up human construct, used by religions to control their flock members. Oh, and let’s not forget that you can sin, ask Jesus for forgiveness/go to confession, and do it all over again. What a bunch of bullshit that is! The idea of not doing something because it is morally wrong, or because it would cause harm to another, seems to be lost on a lot of these super-religious people. See also: Catholic priests molesting children; “pro-life family values” Republicans cheating on their wives and getting their mistress a quiet abortion, etc., etc.

  • I never, ever understood that you could sin and then continue to sin – and be good with God. oh wait, and horrible serial killers can kill a bunch of people, find Jesus in prison and go to heaven? Say What?

  • ‘The direction of our church started moving in a direction that was opposite my families needs.”

    “It never seemed to be enough for the church.”

    BINGO this is why people leave anything, that thing wants you to GIVE GIVE and GIVE, when you need them they are nowhere to be found.

  • Sonyaj

    I know – how exactly does that work? It makes absolutely no sense. I don’t steal, lie or use people, and I generally try to be nice to everyone unless they give me a reason not to be. It’s really pretty easy. If someone is only motivated to NOT do something out of fear of eternal punishment, they aren’t a very good person to begin with.

    The brainwashing of people in church to suggest that atheists are inherently immoral or that you need god/a bible to have moral values is why these same people believe what they hear on Fox news, and why we have such a sad joke of a president.

  • Only time I went to church services was in US Army BCT like three times and I sat there thinking, that is the big deal about this shit? While other soldiers all were taking notes like it was college.

  • Correct! When my son was in the hospital after a brain surgery – not one person from our church was at the hospital. Our pastor dropped off a single meal – that was it. But then it was constant requests for money. We even got a flier asking for money from our reserve accounts like stocks and 401ks

  • I agree with everything you just said. I can’t tell you how many times we were told we needed God to be Good. I have always been a good person. Now I am just a lot less judgemental of other people’s choices.

  • Aw, thank you! Proof that kids don’t have to be raised in religion to be awesome. In all seriousness, we have tried to teach our kids to be kind and respectful of others. We have traveled other countries so the kids can see how, as humans, there are cultural differences but we are all human. We live in a fairly diverse area so their friends are from a variety of backgrounds, religions, no religions, etc. My daughter’s best friend is 1st generation Japanese and my daughter visited Japan with her friend’s family last summer.

  • I love all the exposure your kids are getting! My son doesn’t leave the house much due to his health. We are lucky to have a nurse that is an immigrant from Cameroon, Africa. She teaches us about their food, culture and animals. He loves it.

  • That is awesome! I hope he makes a team for college. I coach middle school girls tennis. It’s fun

  • Sonyaj

    Exactly this. I prefer to devote my energy and time to things involving my own life and its direction, and I genuinely do. not. care. what other people do with their personal lives as long as it doesn’t impact me or the rest of society in a negative way. The only time I judge is when people are raging hypocrites, like all the evangelicals supporting the amoral, lying, narcissistic excuse for a president we have. See also: scumbags like Roy Moore.

    I cannot stand those people, although it’s not because they are Christians, because, really, they aren’t. It’s because they and their actions are truly harming others.

  • Sonyaj

    Honestly? Hearing stories like yours gives me hope for the future of our society. I wish more parents were like you, raising kids that don’t think they are the center of the universe, and develop compassion and understanding outside of their immediate bubble. Good on ya!

  • OMG so much! I agree with you so much on every single point!

  • Yeah his mom sounds beyond awesome. Maybe even Awesomesauce

  • Morgan Lefaye

    The part about taking the kids’ side over the parents.

  • Morgan Lefaye

    I’ve never run into that situation personally, but I’d do that. If the person demanded that I not hold my wife’s hand out of respect for their religion, however, then it would be on!

  • Morgan Lefaye

    I had no trouble eating pepperoni in front of Muslims. Then again, I’ve never been told off for eating something, either.

  • Oh yes, that was crazy and a huge part for me leaving. It was extremely unhealthy.

  • Morgan Lefaye

    I’m thinking the girls were probably being groomed for sexual abuse, and possibly the boys as well…

  • So funny you would mention that – there were concerns one from a few parents about one of the leaders grooming kids for some purpose – they weren’t sure what

  • Thank you! I didn’t want my kids to suffer from the cognitive dissonance, fear, and lack of education in evolution I suffered. I didnt want them to think asking questions is bad.

  • That is great – and I am sure the nurse loves sharing her culture! Win win!

  • I love that! My number one pet peeve is when families see us out, and my son is getting fed via his tube. He is stared and ogled at. I would much prefer a child come up to us and ask us vs stare and make us uncomfortable. I will always answer questions!

  • Thank you! It has taken decades of reading, searching, questioning, and overcoming fear. Fortunately I went to a secular university and met a diverse group of folks from whom I learned a lot.

  • She really does. Her boyfriend is from Liberia and loves to cook. So she always brings over stuff that smells amazing. My son loves to cuddle with her – she’s soo maternal and loving with him.

  • 41 no wife mo kids, I had someone at work as me “How can you live without Kids?” my reply was easy. “you could of had them 20 years ago”, did not want them then and do not now.

  • Weekends are for me to do FUCK ALL, I did nto ahve church but Soccer was what ate my weekends, because my Dad had some delusion I was going to be some High School varsity champion. I had other plans as like religion sports well most of them BORE me to death. At 12 One day told my mom, tell Dad I do nto want to do this anymore.

  • LDS there is a religon that is just dripping with more sheer bullshit than scientology. Con Man with magic seer stones, Native American Space Jew wars, people lving on the Moon and the Sun etc. To think my current musical obsession at the moment Linday Stirling is a mormon.

  • Victoria Strab

    Oh yeah, I know those Sunday blues. I’m still in the closet as an atheist and Sundays are bad in our family. My dad is the pastor of our tiny little church (we’re a satellite church of a bigger one, so basically it’s just our family and various visitors) and every Sunday he is in such a terrible mood because of the stress. He just orders everyone around, which in turn stresses out my Mom and then they fight, who then stresses out the rest of us. Then we arrive at church and we’re the perfect smiling poster family. I also have a disabled sister, who we need to wash and feed before church, and we only have one bathroom for all six of us, so it’s quite stressful. Our family does everything in church. I lead the singing before the service, my other sister plays the piano and my brother does the sound system. We have to make sure the church is tidy and lay out the singing books, set the coffee table, etc. Then after service, we have to be courteous to our visitors, my sister and I especially when there are young people visiting (which I always dread, since I am a very shy introvert). Then my mom cooks at the church (because my dad expects us to have lunch together). Then we have to clean everything up. I’m often so depressed on Sundays, but I have to keep smiling and pretend everything is okay. And this is just Sundays. During the week there is a lot to do at the church (it’s in an old farmhouse): cleaning, mowing the lawn, fixing stuff, welcoming visitors (who vacation at the farm), etc. We also have a Sunday school once a month, and it all falls on our family to do the work. Recently, I’ve been trying to bow out of the work, because I just don’t feel it’s my responsibility, but then I see my mom working so hard and I feel guilty for not helping. And on Saturdays my dad always expects us to keep busy with work as well, because God created the earth in six days, not five. I’m really looking forward to soon having my own place, where I can just destress during weekends.

  • I’m glad your friend left! I’d garden too if my thumb wasn’t black

  • That sounds like a tough spot for you to be. I’m glad you have an outlet to share that here. It sounds like your life has been more about working and serving others – than being a kid. One day when you are able to step away, I promise it won’t be easy, but this world is amazing.

  • Clancy

    Before my wife and I married, we agreed in advance to have only one child. Of course then we got the “but you can’t let her be an only child” crap. One time I asked what was wrong with only children, and got the standard litany of defects. I then truthfully replied, “I’m an only child, and my mother was an only child. Are you saying all those things were wrong with my mother?” End of discussion.
    ETA: My daughter has said that, if she decides to have children, she will have only one.

  • RichardSRussell

    Sunday mornings! Atheism’s secret weapon!

    And one of my favorite cards to play whenever Pascal’s Wager comes up.

  • Daffodil

    “Sunday had become a day I dreaded every single week.” My husband and kids knew when Sunday was getting close because my moods would darken my temper shorten. I am a pastor’s kid, so unlike my husband who didn’t start going to church until college, I had a lifetime of bad feelings about church that would color my Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings are amazing now!

  • My church was happy to let me and my then-husband nearly go homeless. He’d been a volunteer and so had I for years, and we’d tithed of course – but when we needed a garage to crash in or whatever, NOTHING. We ended up scrambling and finding something thanks to the kindness of strangers, but the impact on me was incredible. We’d needed them, and in our greatest hour of need, our “church family” was nowhere to be seen. It sure solidified a few things in my mind.

  • Stories like this are all too common. I am so sorry you experienced the same pain.

  • I love that you enjoy Sunday now! That is what matters most!

  • I didn’t even know it was our secret weapon until recently! I love it!

  • I love having my son and only my son. He’s my everything. I’m an introvert and spreading my love is hard. So this works for our family!

  • Same – I’m sad for every person who discovers the hard way that all that “love on you” and “church family” BS is just that: BS. Churches are businesses, and they exist only if customers pay regularly into the till. Ultimately they exist to take and consume, not to give and nurture. Whatever someone might sometimes find there that nurtures them, it’s incidental to the purpose, not integral to it.

  • OMFSM, you reminded me of the notes people took in sermons back when I was Christian. Everyone in my little friends group did it. I did too at first, till I realized I never referred back to those notes at all during the week. It was very embarrassing, that said, when a friend who attended a different evangelical church came to my Pentecostal church for a near-Easter service. Any sermon delivered around Easter is all but guaranteed to be torture-porn in Pentecostalism, and this one was no exception. My friend was offended that his notes pretty much consisted of the word “BLOOD!” written over and over again–and when I saw his notepad, I felt embarrassed that our sermon hadn’t been more intellectually rigorous. That’s about when I realized how pointless it was to take notes during sermons anyway–it’s not like he’d be referring to those notes, so why even write them down? For that matter, I wasn’t either, even during more intellectual sermons. I guess it gave people something to do while they listened to stuff they’d already heard a bunch of times.

  • those notes are always such a waste

  • Lambchopsuey

    Growing up, I dreaded Sundays. Our mother and father had joined a small SBC church, so we were on the Southern Baptist treadmill: Sunday morning Sunday School and service; youth activities some Sunday afternoons; evening Sunday School (“Training Union”) and service. Wednesday nights were bible study and choir practice; my mother signed us up to clean the church one Saturday morning a month. And Saturday mornings were the ONLY time during the week that cartoons were on! Plus, my mother dragged us to every “revival” within a 2-hr drive – even on school nights. Notice that all this stupid church meant precious little time left for homework.

    I loathed church. I detested Christianity. I outgrew Christianity at around age 11, right after outgrowing Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, but because my mother was a devout Christian, I was forced to remain on this treadmill even though she knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I hated it – ALL of it.

    So now I’m an anti-theist – I speak out wherever possible about the many evils and irrelevancies of Christianity, how toxic it is, how it ruins lives and destroys families. One cannot even say that Christianity is benign; it is POISON. Christianity HARMS people, and that has been the case since its inception. But, fortunately, we in the developed democracies no longer allow Christianity the power to coerce people into joining/remaining, and without coercion, Christianity cannot survive. Praise be.

  • Lambchopsuey

    That’s utterly despicable, and unfortunately not at all uncommon as an example of how Christian parents expect the children to do everything so they can just go swan off to church and pretend to be perfect. I hate Christianity so much… I’m so much happier now that I’m an atheist, and we NEVER did horrible things to our children in the name of God and Christianity. Thus, our children are happy and successful. Funny how that works, eh?

  • Lambchopsuey

    Children tend to pattern their adult family structure on what they themselves had growing up.

  • Lambchopsuey

    My mother and her mother (my favorite grandmother) loved me because I was so precocious at memorizing bible verses when I was 2 years old.

  • Lambchopsuey

    Actually, when I was a kid, we had Sunday morning services, then went home a few hours, then returned Sunday evenings for Training Union and another church service – we really only had about 4 hours not devoted to church on Sundays

    Us too. Notice that this leaves little time for homework/being a kid. It’s a rotten abusive thing to do to children.

  • Lambchopsuey

    When I was being forced to attend “Training Union” (which was supposed to be for high school and I was only in Jr. High but it didn’t matter – I still had to attend), it was simply evening sunday school. Nothing more. Boring as fuck, tiresome, SUCH a waste of time. And it wasn’t even air conditioned! So in the summer, in Kansas, with the humidity and the heat. Church is the worst.

  • Exactly. Sunday, the supposed day of rest, was exhausting

  • Clancy

    My daughter says I’m not telling the truth when I say I’m an only child because I had half-siblings. I say I’m an only child because the youngest of them was 25 when I was born.

  • 100% truth. Church families are conditional based on your service and what you pay to be there. What “family” requies you to pay to be a part of it?

  • anxionnat

    I was just commenting on another blog that when my dad was out of work, and we were literally starving to death, it was our *nonreligious neighbors* who brought boxes of food for us. We got no help at all from the church and its members.My younger brother, then about three years old, observed the boxes of food and started dragging one box toward the the kitchen. He yelled, “Groceries, mamma, groceries.Grab ’em and hide ’em.” Yes, we were that poor. And our fellow church members and the clergy did fuck-all to help. By that time, I was about 3 years from becoming an atheist, and I am sure that that situation played some role.

  • It’s amazing how little the church does when you need them. It’s an elaborate lie to make people feel as though they have a community. It’s built on the condition that you believe and remains in the community. If you leave or can’t be there, you are expendable.

  • kingdietrich

    Oh, you brought bad memories. I loathed church and Sunday school with a passion as far back as I can remember. We didn’t have to go in the summer so end of summer meant going back to school and Sunday School, which was always a double buzz kill for me. And we’re talking a vanilla, moderate to liberal mainline denomination, not the fire and brimstone, Satan’s gonna get you variety. But I just hated it…the goody goody and often creepy stuffed shirts who formed the it-crowd/power structure/teachers and the more devout who were really into it all. They totally came across as fakey, judgemental, humorless and kind of mean. I was very keen to that early on. I hated the smell and sound of churches and especially the sappy organ music. (all churches…we sometimes visited my grandparetn’s church when we’d visit them). Most of all, I hated the scratchy wool dress clothes I had to wear. I was a non-believer early on and came to that about the same time I found out there was no Santa.

    And it wasn’t just church and Sunday school, I had to also do Confirmation Class every Tuesday night of the regular school year from fifth to ninth grade, plus all the field trips, weekend retreats, etc, which those could be fun since they were barely about religion anyway and my best friend from school was in my class. I was fortunate because my parents gave us kids the choice to continue going to church or not once we were confirmed. I haven’t been back to a church for other than a wedding/funeral since that wonderful day in 1980 at age 15 when I was freed from church forever. Still get the creeps when I attend a church wedding/funeral. I’ve savored every church-free Sunday since.

  • good for you for getting out young!

  • kingdietrich

    Ha, you sound like me (see my comment above), only my parents, though they were believers, weren’t holly rollers. Church was just something good families did, and well-rounded kids were to get a part of their grounding through it. My dad is pretty irreligious and my mom is a quiet and strong yet very liberal Christian, so no revivals. Our church was mainline moderate to liberal Lutheran, which requires (or at least used to) that kids go through a long confirmation process which in my case included evening classes, weekend retreats (which could be fun since we’d stay in wooded lodges), community outreach such as visiting the inner city, soup kitchens, etc., which was good and not the part I hated. Part of Confirmation was also attending ten or so regular services a year and then filling out a multi-page, multi-question review of the service to turn in for a grade, which I remember being really tedious and I just hated it, like I hated everything else to do with church. Then, to graduate, we had to take a really tough test akin to the SAT or something, so I had to study and memorize all the doctrinal and buybull hooey (one I recall was memorizing every book of the buybull). Just. Hated. It. Was so glad to be done with it once confirmed, which ironically means that you’ve confirmed your commitment to the whole stupid story. I also quit believing early on at 10 or 11 a bit after finding out Santa was made up too (which I mentioned in my post too!).

  • Damien Priestly

    If I am hearing correctly…you don’t like Christianity !!

  • no, Sir!

  • Sandra

    Congratulations on your newfound freedom!

  • Sandra

    Wow. That is way too much responsibility for a kid! As an adult, I would dread such responsibility!
    You’d think the church would be helping out with your brother, seeing that your family was so devoted, but I guess not

  • anxionnat

    Talk about not helping out! When I was, maybe, ten the church had these “healing services” and my mom took my brother to them. After they had been going for several weeks, the priest told my mom not to bring my brother any more, as he was too disruptive. He would get antsy because he didn’t understand what was going on. He and mom would sit in the back pew, and he’d get restless, so he would slide down to the other end of the pew from mom. If there was somebody sitting there, he’d start hitting the person, making loud inarticulate noises. If not, he’d slide out of the pew, find the wall, and start walking around the church. Also noisily. Sometimes someone would come and escort my brother back to mom, and sometimes not. This was all very loud, on his part, so the priests decided he was too disruptive. In any case, the healing services didn’t help like mom had hoped.(BTW he was almost mom’s size and was heavier than she was.) I remember that my dad and I had *told* mom the healing services wouldn’t help, but she believed they would, and ignored us. Dad had grown up non-religious, and I was in the process of de-converting.

  • Ugh I hate when priests and pastors prey on mothers and families – looking for a cure or relief. No healing can be done with prayer. Only science. And even then – not everything can be cured.

  • anxionnat

    After she retired, mom went on a “pilgrimage” (that’s what she called it) and stopped at Lourdes. (I think that’s right–the one with the “healing” water?) Anyway, before she left she got a bunch of vials to bring Lourdes water to the family and her friends. Which she duly did. None of us kids (all of us were, by that time, one stripe or another of atheist/agnostic/humanist/whatever) wanted the vials, but she forced them on us. I poured mine in the toilet. The next month, she and my dad went on their regular trip, about an hour away, to visit my older brother, who was at that time living in a group home with three or four roommates and their caregivers. Mom took the vial of “Lourdes water” with her, and while she was there, had the caregivers run a bath for my brother. Yep, she poured the Lourdes water into the bath. She really did believe that would do him some good. Makes me tear my hair out when I recount this and the “healing services.” Mom was normally a really centered and rational person–but when it came to Catholic miracles–all that rationality went out the window. At least she wasn’t ripped off for indulgences or whatever. I don’t know how much she paid for the “Lourdes water.” We all *told* her it would be a rip-off.

  • This makes me sad for your mom. She should spend her time accepting him. Her life would have a lot less pain that way.

  • P. McCoy

    It is being noted that the Catholic Church has a lot of intolerance for disruptive “normal” children, agitated, fidgety children, let Alone ones with special needs. The latter are routinely denied Holy Communion.

    Now, your parents were very selfish in not getting an adult, MALE caregiver who could have done the diapering and well as physically handle your brother through his tantrums and physical violence.

    Not to mention cheating YOU out of your Own life, dreams and wishes.

    I don’t blame you for your decisions.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    I grew up christian. I meditate now. Not on *the lord* or on *the bible* for me its about examining my inner self, dealing with the problems and the world around me. Christianity is NOT my cup of tea, especially when watching close friends and family fight over jesus, and one friend even told me my beliefs were wrong because i didnt believe in jesus. I did NOT appreciate that, it was her right to believe that, but it was also my choice to cut ties with someone like that, because that was toxic.

  • Good for you! Toxic friendships are awful.

  • Otto

    My wife and I had struggled with our faith for a number of years, we skipped church as much as our conscience could muster. The final service we attended was on Palm Sunday, we were expecting a sermon about something spiritual, or morality, or something to do with Jesus. What we got was 20-25 minutes about how the Church needed more money…we never went back.

    It wasn’t long after that that I realized I did not believe anymore and my wife and I spent Sunday morning discussing why I didn’t believe, then she stopped believing. Now we spend Sunday morning having coffee, talking about the week and politics, religion or whatever else is top of the mind with us. This has been going on for close to 10 years and out marriage has never been better. Sunday Mornings are ‘our’ time and more ‘sacred’ than they ever were.

  • I love that!!!

  • Angela G

    Fantastic! Loved every word of this! Thank you!!!!