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Faith and the Family: When Our Beliefs Differ

When loved ones challenge our deepest beliefs, is it even possible to agree to disagree?

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 My nephew joined me in church for the first time on Christmas Eve 19 years ago. During an episode of major depression, I’d found my way back to the Episcopal Church of my childhood, and I wanted to share with him the faith that had brought me such comfort—and what better way than through candlelight and carols? He asked so many questions—about the lamp hanging behind the altar, the priest’s gestures, the big shiny cup everyone drank from—that I shushed him, uncertain of how to make sense of the Eucharist to a four-year-old. A few days later, standing on his chair, he’d raised his sandwich overhead and broken it in two.So when, at 16, he asked permission—by now, I’d become his legal guardian—to convert to Roman Catholicism, I wasn’t too surprised. When your primary parent practices liberal Episcopalianism, why not choose Catholicism as a step toward adulthood and individuation? Not the route most teenagers take, but hardly a fringe cult. If this marks the extent of adolescent rebellion, I told friends, bring it on! The Episcopal and Roman Catholic traditions share so much, after all. And the rest? …

This entry is tagged with:
ReligionSpiritualityFaithFamilyDissentChallenging Beliefs

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