Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby Sam Vara » Tue May 29, 2012 9:13 am

Puppha's situation is obviously very sad and there are a lot of difficult issues to work through. I haven't the skill to offer any specific advice, but I thought I would just share what happened in my family on Sunday as a way of addressing the underlying theme of children in "mixed" families.

On Sunday, our daughter Mai, who is four this Thursday, attended the local cathedral with her mum as usual. It was Pentecost Sunday which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit to those apostles who Jesus left behind. I don't think she understood much of the finer points of theology, but she gets the general message that even when people have gone away, it is not the end of hope. That there is something bigger than our attachment to people which we can meaningfully relate to. And she also made, in the creche, a nice cardboard crown with paper flames which represent the Holy Spirit. That done, the family caught up with me - I had cycled to the local monastery for their Wesak celebrations. Mai turned up as I was circumambulating the Stupa with the monks and the other lay supporters, and so she joined in. Fascinating stuff! Ajahn Sucitto's chanting is quite impressive. I think she liked the idea that baby brother was excluded because he might poke himself in the eye with the incense offering, but mainly she just liked the calmness and solemnity of it all. She stood quietly while I made my offering, and then we all stood in the sunshine around the stupa for the Paritta chanting. I, of course, tried to focus on the Triple Gem, whereas she sometimes tried to stand on one foot, or tried to catch the eye of the friendlier-looking monks so she could smile at them. Later, time for chasing baby brother around the bamboo grove and relishing all our friends telling her how much she has grown.

Thus, Mai learns that there is much that is utterly beyond our present understanding, and that adults do some really odd things. But if you keep an open mind, and join in a bit, and copy the more relaxed and dignified in one's world, then things are nice, and there is not too much to worry about...
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby hanzze_ » Tue May 29, 2012 9:19 am

Not sad, a great opportunity for a challenge many would not have.
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby Sam Vara » Tue May 29, 2012 9:29 am

Not sad, a great opportunity for a challenge many would not have.


Of course. Thoughtless of me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby hanzze_ » Tue May 29, 2012 9:41 am

Not thoughtless, to much thoughts (bond in future and past)
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby Sam Vara » Tue May 29, 2012 9:52 am

Not sad.


Not thoughtless.


Thanks for the corrections. I don't know how I coped without you.
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby hanzze_ » Tue May 29, 2012 9:58 am

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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby puppha » Tue May 29, 2012 10:47 am

hanzze_ wrote:Not sad, a great opportunity for a challenge many would not have.

Yes, I do try to take it this way. But it's not easy...
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby puppha » Tue May 29, 2012 11:12 am

Dear Reductor,

Reductor wrote:Your wife sounds like a deeply conflicted person; you and your daughter have my sympathy.

Thank you!

Reductor wrote:About that quip of leaving you and your daughter to your "things". When I read that in conjunction with the "brother-in-christ" and the past infidelity, you know what comes to mind?

I understand where you are going, but maybe the way I wrote my post gave some wrong impressions. She is calling all born-again christians brother/sister in christ... A way to bond the group, probably.
It appears to me that the form of christianity she is practising is really not that different from pagan/shamanic religions. If you look carefully, you can see striking smiliarities.

With Metta
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby hanzze_ » Tue May 29, 2012 12:21 pm

puppha wrote:
hanzze_ wrote:Not sad, a great opportunity for a challenge many would not have.

Yes, I do try to take it this way. But it's not easy...

Good things are never easy, but make easy. Don't forget, you have the support of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha if you fail for a moment. Just remember them. You daughter, your wife, will find their good ways as well. Stay where you are and take first care of your self.

When ever you have doubt, there will be somebody who lift you up. Sometimes we think that sleeping a little would be good for regeneration and doubt it's benefit to come back into the present.

Just came to my mind: You can focus on the virtue section. There is not much different in both religions. Invite you wife to work simply on that in the area of the family. You can help each other to gain the best out of every understanding and your daughter will have all freedom having established good virtue later. Just be creative, real goodness underlies every religions propose, so maybe you can define in this way a common aim.
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby Reductor » Wed May 30, 2012 6:33 am

Hey puppha,

I hope that things aren't going in that direction.

My own wife often used to use the 'brother' and 'sister' tags for her fellow christians, although she does it far less now-a-days. Some people in our life will always be 'brother' and 'sister', though ('brother' is short for 'brother in the law', she says :shrug: probably means the same as 'brother in christ').

Though lately she's taking a bit of a mystical journey that is probably not in accordance with the usual dogma. Kind of scary, and frustratingly irrational.

Here's hoping she doesn't join a cult and go all jones-town. :lol:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby puppha » Wed May 30, 2012 7:57 am

Reductor wrote:My own wife often used to use the 'brother' and 'sister' tags for her fellow christians, although she does it far less now-a-days. Some people in our life will always be 'brother' and 'sister', though ('brother' is short for 'brother in the law', she says :shrug: probably means the same as 'brother in christ').

Is your wife a born-again christian as well? For how long?
Mine has been a born-again for almost a year and a half now. She is still quite in full swing of a rediscovered faith. Maybe it will wear out with time...
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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby Reductor » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:58 am

puppha wrote:
Reductor wrote:My own wife often used to use the 'brother' and 'sister' tags for her fellow christians, although she does it far less now-a-days. Some people in our life will always be 'brother' and 'sister', though ('brother' is short for 'brother in the law', she says :shrug: probably means the same as 'brother in christ').

Is your wife a born-again christian as well? For how long?
Mine has been a born-again for almost a year and a half now. She is still quite in full swing of a rediscovered faith. Maybe it will wear out with time...


I have you beat, my good man! My wife has been a born again Christian since before we met. She has, however, recently renewed her enthusiasm both for the religion and for knowing god. It is almost as if she's been born-again, again.

We met about eight years ago. At that time she was going to a church here in town where the members of the congregation called themselves "Bible Believers" (adherents to this guy's teachings); when possible, she would attend church twice or three times weekly. Not surprisingly, she insisted that I attend, and that her pastor meet me and approve of me.

He didn't.

Luckily my wife was a transplant Christian from another country, who had previously adopted doctrinal positions counter to those of her then current pastor. This allowed her to justify leaving the Church. According to her she had long-standing misgivings about their insistence that she needed to be baptised yet again (she wasn't baptised properly, according the them).

Anyway, born again Christians are very common up where I am. My sister is one, and she can be pretty annoying (always assuring me of the struggle for my soul, and that I am sure to see the light and accept Jesus). My mother is one, I suppose, although she doesn't attend any church or show much outward sign. But just get her onto a religious or spiritual topic, and she'll blather on about Jesus and God much too long.

Add to those my younger brother and his wife, and you'll see that I'm swimming in this stuff. (granted, my younger brother well earned the moniker "Drewcifer", which I gave him some years ago -- but he professes the right thing, so, you know, he'll enjoy heaven while I burn in hell.)

So for me, the possibility of my kids becoming Christian isn't at all small.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Help! How to raise a child in an inter-faith marriage?

Postby puppha » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:37 am

Reductor wrote:I have you beat, my good man! My wife has been a born again Christian since before we met.
---snip---
So for me, the possibility of my kids becoming Christian isn't at all small.

Wow! You are truly immersed in the thing!
I wonder how you are able to cope... :hug:
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