All of the members of my family practice some form of Christianity. I come from a lineage that includes various denominations of Catholics and Protestants, covering nearly the entire spectrum of Christian belief. The contemporary family members are a blend of mostly Lutheran and Baptist. There is no doubt at family gatherings about the identity of the god being addressed in prayer. As one of my cousins put it: “The God. The Only God. Our Lord God in Heaven. The Holy Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Ahem… yes, well, there is that God, the God of my family, the God of my childhood faith. For me, though, he is not the only god. My beliefs are polytheistic, with an accompanying host of revered spiritual teachers. Jesus Christ is an incredible example of the embodiment of the divine spirit within a man, someone whose lessons are of great value. However, I do not view him as my Lord, redeemer, or savior. He is not the God of my adulthood, even though he remains the God of my family.
When a person leaves their family’s faith, they must make the decision of whether or not to make the family aware of the departure. I have made the choice to not discuss my path with my family. I respect the faith and beliefs of my family, but I know that there are members of my family who would not respect my choice to follow my own path. Rather than create ill-will and divisions in my family, I chose to focus my conversations and time with family on our common interests, on the things that bind us together. There is, on my path, always room for both family and faith.