Why it was easy for me to stop going to church (Part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on July 17, 2015
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There is actually a crazy long reason as to why I so easily stopped going to church despite it being all I had ever known. Let’s be real. Ain’t nobody got time for all that! So, I offer them up to you, one at a time. Here goes:

Reason #1: I was only going out of habit (i.e. obligation).

I”m not sure about some of these kids nowadays, but when I was coming up, you went where your parents went by default when it came to religion. There weren’t options! Growing up, I went to church with my grandma because I lived with her. When I lived with my mom as a teen, I went to church with her and my stepdad. Why? I lived there and it was their church.

While some habits are hard to break, this wasn’t one of them. When you’re doing something that you’d rather not be doing for numerous years, it’s rather easy to stop and never look back. This is especially true if you know that you’re not having the same experience as those around you, which leads me to my next reason.

Reason #2: I was emotionally invested but not spiritually connected.

There’s nothing like good church music! With just a few notes, you can feel good about everything in your life or feel bad about everything in your life. It was joyous seeing people excited, praising, and worshiping at every service. It was depressing seeing (or sometimes being) the person at the altar snotty, wailing, and broken. How can I say that I was emotionally connected but not spiritually connected? I was always in the moment. After the moment passed, I didn’t feel a thing. I didn’t feel like my life was headed in a new direction. I didn’t feel burdens being shed. I felt like I’d had an experience for a few hours and that experience was now over.

I might as well have gone to the movies.

(I’ll leave it at this for now. What made me decide to talk about this now? I’m trying to write about other things, and this is taking up mental space. Besides, a little reflection never hurt anybody. I highly suggest it if you don’t do it already. I think it helps to know why you do and don’t do things. How about you?)


Ramadan: Observation 2

Posted in Life,Random Experiences by Ashley Franklin on August 13, 2010
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Do you know how early 5am is? Well, think a little earlier than that, and that’s how early I’ve been up the last couple of days. I try to make sure that my husband eats breakfast before it’s time to start fasting. It’s the least I can do, in my opinion. It makes me feel involved. Well, if only I was a morning person. Unfortunately, I’m just not.

Despite having set my alarm clock, for 4:15, I managed to sleep through it and until 4:55. I jumped out of bed wondering how I could make a filling breakfast in 15 minutes or less. I turned all the burners on high and the result wasn’t that bad.  I managed to fix fried potatoes, oatmeal with pecans and raisins (not instant), and egg & cheese (with onions and peppers of course).

Dinner last night was equally as frantic. My husband and I had been scouring the land searching for curtains in the heat. It was well after 6pm when we got back, and dinner was still frozen. I conjured up a mini meal so he could break his fast–grapes, nuts, dates, grilled cheese. Around 8:30pm the real dinner was done–bbq chicken, green beans & potato salad.

Punctuality is obviously going to be key to me helping my husband. I don’t want him to have to worry about the source of his meals while he is fasting and working, especially since I work from home. I doubt that he is worrying about such things. It’s most likely me worrying if I’m going to be able to pull off a meal in a good amount of time on a hectic day. I’m sure everything will be fine with a little planning on my part.

The highlight from yesterday was that I started watching a movie called “The Message.” It’s about the birth of the Islamic faith. I watched about half of it yesterday and hope to finish it up later today. I’m really enjoying it.

Ramadan. My first observation

Posted in Life,Random Experiences by Ashley Franklin on August 12, 2010
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This is the first Ramadan for me and my husband. Actually, what that means is that it’s our first Ramadan together. Last year, we were apart. He fasted. I fasted. But, we were separate. This year, we’re together-we’re married. Yay! I get to witness the intricacies of his faith firsthand. He’s taught me many things, shown me many things, and directed me to different resources so that I can come to understand Islam on my own. But, I’ve never been around him during Ramadan.

I’m trying to be a great support system this week to my husband. I couldn’t fast at this time even if I wanted to. Yesterday was the first day of fasting. I was so sad when my husband was without water for the majority of the day and it was well over 100 degrees today. (Sidenote: I have much respect for people of the South for living through this type of heat. I have not adjusted yet.)  What amazed me was that he did not complain once of being hungry or thirsty! Now, I’m a Christian; I’ve fasted before. I’ve been around people who are fasting on numerous occasions. I’ve never been around someone who hasn’t complained while fasting. (Again, this is from my own experience as the daughter of a pastor and being around numerous fasting church members at one time or another.)  This was brand new to me.

I’m not even going to attempt to quote or grossly paraphrase the Bible, but there is a part where the concept is that you’re not supposed to look all twisted in the face when you’re fasting. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen this done. I, myself, haven’t been able to fully pull this off. I remember one fast where we were also forbidden to eat sweets. I have a horrible sweet tooth. So, no sweets for three weeks in addition to daytime fasting was over the top for me. Oddly enough, I was still living with my folks at the time, and the cookie jar was  still full of cookies-my favorite cookies. I literally broke out in tears one day because I wanted a cookie so bad. Obviously, I’m not the best at fasting, but I’ve improved since the cookie incident.

Another thing that I got to see was a sense of brotherhood/ community. Though we hadn’t planned for it, one of my husband’s brothers in the faith came over. I got to see them break their fast together and the good spirits they were in at having a successful day. Honestly, it put me in a good mood. I have great respect for those who fast without needing to alert the world of their hunger woes.

Maybe that’s the key to fasting. Maybe you’re supposed to fill your spiritual hunger to the point that your physical hunger becomes not so important. That seems logical to me. What do you think? I know different faiths have different methods of fasting, but how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of the fast? Is there a right or wrong  (good or better) way to fast? Maybe that all depends on the individual or the faith.