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TexasMadness Profile
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My first experience


I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now. I recently met a man from India and he asked what religion I was. I said that I did not have one and he was very confused. He sees religion as something that you are born into – like race, nationality, etc. He is Hindu and you must be born Hindu, you cannot convert. I told him that my parents were not raised with a religion and I was not either, but my maternal and paternal grandmothers were Christians (not the grandfathers, though they were likely raised that way). He said that made me a Christian. I was a little weirded out by that! Anyway, it got me thinking about my first experiences with religion of any kind. It started with my great grandmother Mamba.

Mamba has been one of my biggest inspirations in life. She was a homesteader, and as a child, I was convinced she was a witch (and as a kid, I had a very Disney view of witches – but Mamba was a good witch). My conviction that she was a witch was likely do to the odd things she did as she got older. I now see them as manifestations of her increasing senility, but the image of her as a witch has always stuck with me. She lived a few hours away from us and had a cow, a truck garden and a cellar packed with more canning jars than I will likely ever see in one place again for the rest of my life. She had no electricity and we ate watermelons on the front porch every time we went to visit (which was always in the summer). She lived like this until she was 90 and finally had to have assistance. Mamba always gave me some object when I visited which I always figured had a hidden meaning. The objects were otherwise worthless – a ticket stub, a broken necklace, an eraser. But I kept them all in a little jewelry box (which I still have). I knew that they had a magical meaning.

She died when I was 11. She was the first person I knew that had died. I was scared. I didn’t know what it meant. We went to the graveside funeral and the people there scared me more. They were all dressed in the same strange clothes (I had never seen a suit before – hippy parents!) and they held their heads down. I was lost in thought throughout the service and didn’t notice my surroundings until everyone started chanting. I really got scared. It was such a strange chant. I kept looking around to see if anyone was reading from something, but they all had it memorized. I couldn’t understand all of it because everyone was speaking so low and it was terrifying. I began to get nervous that everyone would notice I wasn’t chanting. I suddenly had the idea that everyone there must be a witch and that they were all evil and somehow I was wrong about Mamba being good. That chant could not have come from good people! I was terrified that they were going to try to do something awful to me because I wasn’t one of them. When the service was over I ran to our car crying and stayed there until it was time to go. My parents probably figured I was just sad. It took me several days to muster the courage to ask my mom about the strange chant. My mom explained to me that they weren’t witches, they were Christians and that was called the Lord’s Prayer!

Ever since then, I’ve found Church services a bit eerie. I have never gotten over the “costumes” and “chants” that are involved with their worship. The first time I heard about Wicca, I wondered if Mamba would have considered herself such if it had been known in rural Texas. Although I logically know that she must have been a Christian, I still wonder to this day. I cannot erase that childhood imprint on my perception of her.
4/6/2007, 4:24 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Firlefanz Profile
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Re: My first experience


No wonder you were scared!

I can imagine how terrifying this must have been, especially the chant. (I know the feeling of hiding during it - I've mumbled the Lord's Prayer in English, or tried to, when visiting a friend's church as a kid. And I never got the hang of that Flag thing! Ahem. emoticon )

The thought of being born into something and not able to change that is also a little foreign to me. On the other hand, much of India's society rests on this assumption, I suppose, no wonder the poor man was confused.

---
- Firlefanz

Writing: "Kiera und der Gauklerjunge" - novel


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Saijen SilverWolf Profile
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Re: My first experience


Oh [sign in to see URL] Texas!! emoticon

I can only imagine how you must have felt while observing all of that.
Since I grew up Christian, it's a bit odd to me for a funeral not to be that way (though I rarely have heard the Lord's Prayer at a funeral)...it's usually songs, and then, usually Amazing Grace (which I've had to sing at funerals as part of a special [sign in to see URL] my tears).

Isn't it amazing how other cultures view religion? It would be neat to talk to my lung doc, or my regular doc about what religion they were born [sign in to see URL]'re both from India.
I'm glad that we are free to choose how we wish to [sign in to see URL] IF we worship at all.

---
Blessed Be,
~*~ Saijen ~*~

~~*~~ .~~*~~
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TexasMadness Profile
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Re: My first experience


I have since grown more accustomed to Christian funerals (unfortunately), since I’ve only attended one non-Christian one (my grandfather’s). But Amazing Grace still found its way into that one! It’s such a traditional funeral song, it must be hard to get away from – plus my grandmother is the uber Christian and she requested it (and since we had already denied to her that the ceremony happen in a church or be presided over by a minister – my grandfather’s wishes – we gave in on that one).

I wound up attending an Episcopal high school and was so intrigued about being “forced” into the religion yet not really being “allowed” in. I had to attend chapel service everyday and for certain holidays, we had HOURS of services instead of classes (not sure what was worse, class or chapel!). While I was “forced” to attend all of these events, I was not “allowed” to actually participate in them since I have never been baptized. So I never took Eucharist, or got blessed or any of that. I think I would have eventually warmed up to the Christian faith had it not been for attending that school (which my grandmother paid for in the hopes that I would convert!).

Honestly, anything “new” is frequently scary and I probably would have been just as scared sitting through my first funeral conducted by Witches or Hindus or anything. I’ve just heard so many people describe their first experience with “the Lord” as being so full of warmth. Guess I missed that part!
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Re: My first experience


My first "experience" with the Lord was a bit daunting. Having been born into a Christian family, I really didn't know much else, but had always heard 'Fear the Lord thy God'..[sign in to see URL] he's so loving and forgiving and all [sign in to see URL] should I FEAR Him. MUCH later in life, it was explained that the word FEAR and REVERENCE were one and the same in these instances. I'm [sign in to see URL], then why didn't they just SAY that in the first place?
At the age of 8, I knew things weren't all that, as a Christian. I also knew I was different. I saw things no one else saw, I heard things no one else heard. I honestly thought there was something bad wrong with me, but at the same time, it was kind of exciting. No one in my family knew about this until much, much [sign in to see URL] was married and had kids of my own before I ever mentioned it.
Had I said anything as a child, I would have probably been dubbed demon possessed or some such. Chrisitan rituals can be as scarey as the alternative!!! No matter how mundane (funerals, church services, etc.)

---
Blessed Be,
~*~ Saijen ~*~

~~*~~ .~~*~~
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RantingHobbit Profile
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Re: My first experience


What you describe is not an experience with the Divine, but rather an experience with members of a religion. It is an imporatnt distinction not to confuse the religion, with the clergy or memebers of the religion.



TexasMadness
Honestly, anything “new” is frequently scary and I probably would have been just as scared sitting through my first funeral conducted by Witches or Hindus or anything. I’ve just heard so many people describe their first experience with “the Lord” as being so full of warmth. Guess I missed that part!



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