Deconverts - What part of Christian culture do you miss the most? Is there a worship song or hymn you find yourself humming? Do you miss the after church coffees and potlucks? Do you get sentimental about an author or children's book?
I realize there is plenty to NOT miss, but for those who were in the faith longer than out, I'd be very happy to hear about the cultural soft-spots you have since leaving the faith.
I don't really miss much, although like Christine said, having an excuse to dress up would be fun - our church was pretty laid back though so we could just wear jeans or whatever if we wanted to. Still on days like Christmas or Easter the excuse to dress up was pretty fun and nice.
Honestly I never believed any of it, so my life now really isn't all that different. My First Communion was ruined by my mother but otherwise it might have been a fun celebration. I liked knowing all the words to the religious Christmas songs and getting pleasure out of understanding the stories they told... but I can still do that nowadays. I was always jealous of the Jewish Community Centers and people who had huge special Bat Mitzvah celebrations... and jealous of people who got to eat delicious Challah bread after every Friday evening service at their synagogue. Sure I can go to a bakery now and get some Challah myself, but seeing how enjoyable Friday nights seemed to be for my Jewish relatives did make me jealous. I wish I had been able to believe that praying would work. I would do the sign of the cross and say to myself, "In the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit - yes, I believe, amen" before and after any prayer I said. The prayers were asking God to make my mother not be mad about something or to stop yelling... or praying that my grandmother would be planning to make something that I liked for dinner instead of something gross like she usually made... but usually I didn't pray. I just prayed when I found myself really really wanting something. I didn't expect anything to happen but I'd try to convince myself that I believed by saying that I did to myself even though I obviously didn't believe. It would have been nice to trust that God really was on my side. But I never had that. I was also jealous of people who found a sense of community at church, made friends there, joined Youth Groups, etc. I didn't have any of those experience but I did find myself a little envious of them.
When we were about 10, my best friend and I used to go up the sacristy and meet the head altar boy. No, nothing naughty like that :) but it was very naughty nevertheless. We'd give him money, about 25 cents and in exchange, he'd give us a whole big plastic bag of "unblessed" wafers! My friend and I would then run out, find a secluded place, and giggling maniacally, eat the little buggers!
Well, thank you very much, dear Zoolady and *high fives* back to you!
I was extremely shy as a young girl that my older siblings' friends assumed I was mute. People thought I was such a well-behaved little girl and even my family's nickname for me was Angel ! Little did they know, doing naughty-impish things have always been my forte!
The food! :) every sunday after service we would all gather round and eat together. i'd be at church with my family up to 3 hours sometimes. and it was mainly because of the gatherings after church. it was great because we all ate & as a kid i was able to play with all the other children. other than that, there really isn't much else i miss.
Not much that I miss, all I can really think of is a poem:
Footprints In The Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”
I definitely still enjoy a lot of hymns as well as other sacred music by composers like Bach and Palestrina, but I don't "miss them" because I still give them a listen whenever I'm in the mood - I just don't attribute the same meaning to them that I once did. I occasionally attend church services because as a musician, they are my main avenue for performance; so I am still part of some "fellowship" gatherings.
I think that what I really miss the most is feeling like I was included. I see Christian couples getting married and using their beliefs to draw closer to each other. I see Christian friends going on relaxing retreats together to beautiful forested church camp grounds. I see people praying together and actually believing that it does them any good, drawing closer to each other through hopes, and part of me wishes I could delude myself into believing again.
What would be better would be finding a secular organisation in town that provided the same sort of community and retreat activities, but without the religious tones. Unfortunately, however, I don't think such a group exists where I live.
I don't miss much. We once had a missionary come pray for my deaf brother and I got really excited in hopes that he would be able to hear again. Obviously he didn't. I guess I kinda miss that excitement, but the disappointment more than neutralized that.
I still go to church on Christmas and I often come visit my local church to hear the music there. It's quite beautiful. But really nothing that I have to be faithful to enjoy. In fact, I find these things even more amazing with the belief that we actually accomplished it ourselves, rather than a magic man in the sky.
I grew up christian, all my family are christians. I can honestly say I miss nothing. I don't miss going to church, I don't miss singing their stupid songs, I don't miss forcing myself to hug people at the pastors request (did anyone else get this? I hated it). I stopped being a christian long before I stopped believing in god.
I guess if I were to miss anything it'd be the holidays, but thats because I like eating a lot of food and getting presents, not because of anything that might have been christian about them. Although I don't really miss them because I still celebrate the ones I liked (Like christmas and easter) and just don't worry about the holidays I don't like, lol.
The "Peace Be With You" thing my Catholic church did was just handshakes, not hugs... but it was never all that pleasant and usually way more awkward than anything else... we weren't a very tight knit community so it's not like we knew each other lol.