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Religious Differences In Relationships


clinen
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Anyone have any thoughts on how one can manage differences in theology/worship preferences in relationships (ex. one partner is a conservative Christian and prefers a more conservative denomination, while the other prefers a more liberal/progressive denomination) ?

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Anyone have any thoughts on how one can manage differences in theology/worship preferences in relationships (ex. one partner is a conservative Christian and prefers a more conservative denomination, while the other prefers a more liberal/progressive denomination) ?

 

Clien, First I would suggest being tolerant of the each other's theology. I don't think religion should be a one-size-fits-all proposition. Each of us has different backgrounds, psychological and social needs.

 

As to worship, if the preferences are too much at odds, would it be possible to attend separate churches? I know of several situations in which the spouses worship separately and apparently with full acceptance and understanding.

 

Just some thoughts.

 

George

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We could worship separately, but we have children involved... so schlepping them from one church to another could become problematic. My problem is that, as a progressive Christian, I find the theology and politics of the Christian right to be intolerable....

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Back in the old days.................. My wife was Baptist and i was full gospel. To keep us all together including children, i agreed to attend her Baptist church for a year if she would give a year to mine. I did both for a while but Sundays was always Baptist. After a year it was her turn and we all settled in to the Pentecostal tradition which after she made friends she was willing to stay with until we both outgrew it.

 

Worked out fine for both of us and of course the children are now all grown, married were exposed to both and now on their own. I do not force any beliefs or opinions on them . If they are interested they have my published books to read and if they have any questions, i am happy to address them. One is married into a Baptist family and attend regularly and the other has no label and is a free spirit. Doesn't matter much to me where i attend which is mostly nowhere except when grand-kids are performing at their church. Programming and conditioning in people runs deep and until one is ready their mind will remain closed until the time is ripe which seems to be different for each of us.

 

Joseph

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Thanks for the input, Joseph. I think this issue would somehow be easier if the two denominations in question were remotely similar theologically and politically, and just differed in worship style.. but in my case, all three factors are quite different. I'm willing to sacrifice the way I experience God (worship style) by moving out of my comfort zone, but to expose myself to a theology or political message that I find repugnant is another matter (i.e. issues regarding homosexuality, women in leadership roles, etc. etc..)

I'm very appreciative of this dialogue though.. keep it coming!

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my family and I attend a church which is has traditional christian beliefs but is laid-back and informal. I don't adhere to much of the theology, but i get something from it and there is a friendly and uplifting atmosphere. I am happy to go because my wife and kids enjoy it and i think for me to attend a different church would cause too much upheaval and confusion for the kids. If the church were of the hell-fire and brimstone homophobic type then it might be a different story. Besides, i am not particularly interested in going to any other church, as my faith is personal to me and something that i am working on over time, and no matter how liberal or progressive the church, i feel i would be subjected to someone else's version of God. I love what Joseph wrote about his kids, and i am in line with this, in that i don't believe in telling them 'this is right, and everything else is wrong'. if they go down the route of trad christianity then that is fine, but i want them to be aware that they are free to believe/not believe whatever they want. I didnt have this reassurance myself, which cause me much torment when i started having doubts.

Jonny

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clinen said:

 

We could worship separately, but we have children involved... so schlepping them from one church to another could become problematic. My problem is that, as a progressive Christian, I find the theology and politics of the Christian right to be intolerable....

 

Being in a relationship with someone of a very different outlook and background, I tend to look wistfully at couples who look more unified...

As for moving children from one church to another, it could actually be preferable to the other options. Children are exposed to the diversity of modern society in other areas from an early age, and knowing about different faith traditions is hopefully part of the path to greater tolerance. Learning that Mom and Dad have different beliefs, but still love each other and their kids, is part of this too.

I hope you and your family can find a good solution.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would think a mixed faith tradition marrage would be very difficult if one views faith traditions in exclusive terms. If I felt the only way to heaven was through Jesus or the Koran then it seems to me that problems are bound to happen. After all who wants their spouse or children going to hell. If on the other hand both spouses admit that God can be approached through Jesus, Buda . Koran ....... with equal ease then mutual respect begins.

 

 

steve

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