To Church or Not to Church? That is the question.

October 30, 2013

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We have been living in Langley for the past few years and one thing you will notice out here (besides the plethora of big box stores, jillions of young families and horses) is a LOT of churches. Like a crazy number. Churches on every corner, of every denomination – even churches that run out of the local elementary school gym or movie theatre each Sunday.

I didn’t grow up particularly religious. Both of my parents were put through the Catholic school ringer as youth and both decided as young adults that they just didn’t want to march to that drum anymore. I think my Dad might have been carrying a fairly large grudge against the nuns who literally beat the left-handedness out of him in school, and my mom maybe just decided that taking the bus a long way into town alone to go each Sunday just wasn’t for her anymore. Fair enough.

As parents, they decided to not expose my brother and I when we were young, but to allow us to make our own decisions about religion as we got older. However, as a teen, my religion turned out to be worshipping Duran Duran/Corey Hart/Platinum Blonde etc etc.

A few weeks ago we were invited by a lovely family to an evening kids program at a church in Fort Langley. This particular program is religious, though done in a child-friendly and fun manner. Coincidentally around the same time we were invited, my eldest son started asking me questions about god, who he was, how old he is and does he exist. Heavy stuff for a heathen like me.

So we went. And the program was well run, with the nicest, most well mannered kids and teenage staff. The regulars were very welcoming and my boys had a great time (especially doing the connect the dots Jesus on the cross – gulp!).  I stayed to watch the boys play some games and then finish the evening with the Youth Pastor in the service area (is that what it’s called?). The pastor told a story from the bible (very cool – history is good), sang a few songs (sort of cool with the exception of the heavy duty praising parts), and talked about good values (again very cool).

So my verdict is out on this whole religion thing. Do I continue to expose them to the bible via a program like this, or plead ignorance until they are older? My eldest wants to go back mostly because you get to wear a super cool vest, which makes me think we could probably just put him in Scouts instead?

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  • Reply Carolyn October 31, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Haha – well, as a Christian OBVIOUSLY I’m FOR church. I think it’s great that you don’t want to ‘force’ your kids into a belief though. If they have questions and they genuinely want to go then I think that’s great 🙂

    • Reply Christine October 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks Carolyn! I think I will let them explore if they are curious, there are definitely questions I can’t answer for them….

  • Reply Jose October 31, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Christine: you must read (or listen to in Audible) Sam Harris’ book “Letter to a Christian Nation” before you decide. I can lend it to you next time I see you or get if from the Library. It is short, concise and really well written.

    • Reply Christine October 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Cool. Thanks Jose. Will give it a read!

  • Reply Shawna October 31, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    What a good question! I’m with Carolyn on this one too. It is really cool that you are letting them explore this for themselves, no pressure, just learning with them.

  • Reply Lynn @NomadMomDiary November 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Can you let me know when you figure this whole thing out? I’m in a similar boat…except that I have heavily religious parents (as does my husband) and neither of us are religious at all. I just wouldn’t be bothered except that I feel like it is a slap in the face to the grandparents if we don’t somehow expose the kids. My big problem is that I really don’t want them to make up their minds on their own. I want them to follow my guidance. Ugh, family or values, family or values……..

    • Reply Christine November 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Thinking that I will expose them through the kids groups for awhile and let them feel their way from there. Luckily one of the mom’s from school ahs offered to take them as I think she senses my own discomfort with being there 🙂

  • Reply Amy November 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    As a mom in a Christian/Agnostic parent home I’m always for the exposure to the church. Everyone has to make their own choice eventually and I want my son to see both sides of the fence.

    • Reply Christine November 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      I totally agree. And my kids think its fun so I am totally open to it. In fact some neighbors have offered to take them in our absence 🙂

  • Reply Kim November 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Christine!

    I just happened to read your article, and part way through thought; “I should tell Christine to check out the Messy Church program at St. George, Fort Langley” which is the church I attend, and obviously the one you visited! I began attending St. George’s for all the reasons you cite in your article – wanting to expose my children to ‘options’, never having attended any church as a child.
    The Messy Church program is only intended to give visitors a ‘taste’ of what happens in church without committing to anything. I know we are always happy to see people join us, as they wish. No pressure.

    • Reply Christine November 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Kim,
      So honoured that you read my blog and thanks for the info, we will check it out! Hope you are doing well!

  • Reply Jess April 12, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Oh, baby, do I have your answer. Godless churches. Everything you love without the praisey stuff… xxx+o

  • Reply HCC February 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

    A great place to start is finding out what God is really really like …for yourself then you can make an informed decision for your children. I recommend the following:

    “The Nature of God” by Graham Cooke

    Hope that encourages you to want to know more about this God who is real, is good and Who cares.

    • Reply Christine February 15, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Reply Maureen December 7, 2015 at 4:59 am

    I was raised in an Anglican family where Church was just a natural part of our upbringing. I have to say I have some great memories of. Sunday School and youth group! However when it was time for confirmation both our priest and parents encouraged us to explore other churches and faiths before we choosing to be confirmed in our Church! Now sadly as an adult my experience with my Church has kept me away for almost three years and I really feel like something is missing.

  • Reply Laura June 23, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I’m probably very biased as a children’s minister and as someone who grew up with a dad as a pastor. So feel free to take this with a grain of salt. But I feel like the whole “we won’t introduce our kids to any faith but let them decide when they get older” is actually not the neutral stance, but one that encourages a life without church. Which isn’t something I’m negging, but important to note that perhaps allowing them to choose when they’re older includes introducing them to faith when they are younger as an option. Some people walk away from faith later in life, so I don’t think you need to worry that putting them in a kids program at a church will make that faith decision for them once and for all. It will give them a positive social experience, help them answer some questions, and as they grow, allow them to have faith as an option if it fits with them.

    These are good questions to have as a parent, for sure! Way to go for being open to this as their question begin!

    • Reply Christine June 23, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

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