My father was Jewish. My mother was Catholic. One of my sisters, from my father's first marriage to a concentration camp survivor, was raised Jewish but married an ex-commune dweller - turned Jew - turned Buddist - turned Zen like self-actualizing guru. They are now divorced. She is currently dating a non-practicing Christian. My other sister was raised Catholic, but then converted to Judaism.
Rex was raised nothing and now practices nothing.
I am a practicing Catholic who enjoys the traditions of the mass, the spiritual connection to a community, and having God in the center of my life. Raising faith filled kids is one of my top priorities. Luckily for me, Rex does not oppose my spiritual pursuits.
But he does not contribute either, and that's my beef.
And the fact that I have a beef about it is an even bigger beef than my first beef.
You see, despite deriving amazing peace from my religion, I am not an unwavering advocate for Christianity. Being raised like I did, around amazing artists, talkers, workers and soulful human beings in their own right, who am I to say that Jesus is the only way to go? For many Good Testament followers, this attitude defines me as a watery Christian. "One must take a stand," many people have told me. And I see their point. But on the flip side, by being open minded to others' ways of living life, isn't that the greatest act of love there is?
I married Rex for his very human qualities, not his spiritual ones. I didn't say "I do" to him in front of a priest. I said it in front of my family and friends in my parents' backyard. Since I didn't make God an issue at the beginning of our marriage, it is unfair that I make it an issue now.
And yet I do.
I desperately want Rex with me at church on Sundays. Not so much to pray piously like so many other couples do, but to stand in unity with me as a family.
"Can't you just suck it up and do it for me?" I asked last Sunday. "No. I can't. I'd be miserable," he remarked. (I also married Rex for his honesty.)
I was furious. How many times have I had sex when I wasn't in the mood, but I knew it was important to him? And yet, once I got started, I was into it. Couldn't he give me the same courtesy? Maybe, after a little bit, he'd be in the mood, too.
"Sex and church are not the same things," said Rex. I tried to argue that there were, indeed, similarities, including lots of kneeling, sitting, and frequent "Oh, God's". He wasn't biting.
So that night, when he wanted a little Sunday servicing, I wasn't biting either. Not my most mature moment, but, to use a Christian term, I'm banking on his forgiveness. Just as soon as I give him mine.
Posted by Andrea Frazer
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