I am an unfundamentalist catholic parent

Cindy Brandt is a self-proclaimed “unfundamentalist Christian”. She started an online community for other parents who view and live their Christianity through a lens other than black and white certitude. In an article for Huffington Post she describes the

10 Signs You’re An Unfundamentalist Christian Parent

The article had me nodding in agreement over and over. I proudly proclaim that I am an Unfundamentalist Catholic Mom and Grammy! Hubby and I both love our faith, but have rejected the dogmatic, judgmental, self-righteousness of certain fundamentalist forms of Catholicism.

Here are some of the signs from Brandt’s article that resonate with my own Catholic experience.

faith is fluid and evolves

I came to this realization in my thirties. Certitude in belief can be comforting. Apologetics, with its black and white answers simplifies defending your faith. But, it can also make faith mechanical and soul-less.

Faith needs to be wrestled with before it is fully embraced in mind and heart. And the wrestling never ends. Yes, this is dangerous. Brandt readily admits that leaving room for doubts can lead to “moments of weak faith and perhaps even loss of faith”.

I’ve experienced this several times in my life, even recently. I cling to the belief that faith, like love, goes through a “romance, disillusionment, true joy” cycle. Faith can, and often is, strengthened through the dark times of weakness, questioning and doubt. (That’s not to say that the dark times don’t suck!)

reject hierarchical parental authority

While Brandt is referring to the parenting style of many fundamentalist Christians, more and more Catholics are also rejecting this style of leadership in our church. We need to promote a church of adult believers, not child-like blind obedience. We need servant leaders, not bullying father figures.

promote gender equality…fight against homophobia and racism…

Gender inequality, homophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination may have been part of the fabric of history but they have no place in today’s Catholic church. These are issues we’ve discussed with our children many times, and continue to do so. We refuse to defend the teachings and actions of our church if and when they are discriminatory.

build a larger table not a higher fence

This is a great image and motto. (And, no, we’re not talking about a certain President-elect.) Some continue to promote a smaller, purer Church. Would it really be a better Church if all doubters, questioners, and lukewarm Catholics were finally shown the door?  If you insist on booting out all the sinners, you’ll find precious few saints left.

Despite woundedness for some of us from the religiosity of our past, we still find beauty in rituals and desire to cultivate spirituality in our children.

This past weekend, we celebrated the baptism of our two newest grand-babies. The celebration took place in our home parish, where all our children were baptized. The wee lads were wearing the baptismal gowns worn by their parents. The sacrament was lovingly celebrated by a kind, hospitable, big-hearted pastor. No lectures. No hoops to jump through. Just a wonderful warm welcome into the Body of Christ.

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