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 miss the social interaction, it was nice always to have someplace to go where there were people that believed the same way that you did. Also I miss the "god has a plan" cop-out, i know totally horrible but I do. When I was young and lost friends to the streets or cancer or etc. It just felt better sometimes to just believe that the controls were on auto pilot. Of course I know that ignorance is sad and annoying but I miss that instant "it's all alright" feeling. I work through things now the hard thoughtful way, and help a lot of my friends through the same; but there are times I wish there was a way to instantly soothe us with some stupid platitude.
You know, I've found it more comforting that there isn't always a reason why something is happening. Like, one of my friends was practically having a nervous breakdown and her boyfriend was being a douche on top of it. She was crying and asking, "Why is this happening?!" as if God were trying to teach her something. I sort of tried to explain what I thought... that there wasn't any reason; it was just happening. She wasn't being punished and there was no lesson to be learned (except for paying attention when your future significant other is being abnormally insensitive and dense). The reason it was happening was cause and effect, nothing more. This and this happened, so this happened. In order to avoid it in the future, don't do that again. Not you've been bad in ways you can't remember so you're being punished until you get it... or... not.
Anyway... I like that people just die because that's the cycle of life and not because there's some plan being implemented. Instead of trying to justify why God would let some little girl get raped and murdered, I just realize that people are cruel and barbaric. Not that THAT is a good feeling, but... at least God isn't allowing it. I feel more peace knowing things just happen. I dunno... whateve'.
I'd forgotten all about this until your thread, Christine...but one of my Sunday school teachers used to bring in cupcakes for us. They had biblical verse numbers on them, and when you ate the cupcake, you had to read the verse aloud. The were GOOD cupcakes! (Now that I think of it, she always chose the mildest, most innocuous verses, too...no firey fingers, dire curses or pillars of salt.)
ACK! You remember! She's probably dancing in her grave AS WE SPEAK!
I had an excellent memory as a child and won several events which required us to recite passages...I once memorized the entire second chapter of Luke and won the prize. I'd worked hard on that, thinking it'd be some really GREAT item.
Know what they gave me? A little flashlight with a paper banner that said "Let your light so shine among men....."
Let's see... I still hum/sings certain hymns because the tune stirs up a lot of emotion.
It's definitely frustrating now knowing that I can't "intercede" on behalf of my loved ones to protect them from something bad happening. Not that I was ever in control, but I did feel more in control. It has left me feeling somewhat helpless to change certain things that I thought I could at least slightly alter before.
I also miss sneaking around church during prayer meetings or choir practice. I'd always slip into wherever they were stashing the piano and play in the dark... <3
And yeah, the community... everyone going to lunch after church or having after-service parties or, like, Frisbee-football. *sigh*
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!