Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Religious Foundation Comment

Religious Foundation Comment

OVERVIEW: Religion is as old as humankind itself. Because of its incredible age religion has been in a constant state of alteration and adaptation. In addition to this we also have what theist refer to as the “individualist effect”. An individual’s exposure to religion can be as varied as the religions themselves.

PURPOSE: The goal of this activity is to give me a better understanding of your own individual exposure to various religions of the world. This activity, if done properly, should give me a fairly lucid understanding of the foundation of your religions knowledge to date.

DIRECTIONS: Create a two to three hundred word comment to this post that summarizes your own personal exposure to religion. Please be as specific and detailed as possible. To post your comment please go to the bottom of this post and click on "Comment".  Create your comment by either signing in to your SCHOOL google account or by creating a "Name/URL" comment.  Be sure to include ONLY your first name and last initial.  Never leave your last name on an assignment for this class.


I was born and raised in the small town of Hortonville. This small town provided a unique setting for my childhood years. It provided the warmth, safety and familiarity that are often associated with “small towns” and yet its close proximity to Appleton allowed me to experience many of the beneficial factors of a large metropolitan area.

I was born in the summer of 1971 to Larry and Judy(Griesbach) Klitzke. My parents are a loving couple who are still deeply devoted to each other and their family, even after 40 years of marriage. I was the third out of what would eventually be four children. I have two older brothers (Scott & Todd) and my sister, Kari, is the baby of the family.

In many ways my life was fairly typical of many children growing up in rural Wisconsin. There was, however, one unique distinction; my mother was Catholic while my father was Lutheran. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “So what? It’s not like they’re that different”. I would agree with you. However, this was a different era. Today, we see the majority of Christian religions showing general tolerance towards other Christian religions. However, this was not always the case. There was a long period of animosity between Catholics and Lutherans. This was especially true in Hortonville.

I ended up starting my earliest years as some sort of freakish cross-bread between Catholicism and Lutheranism; I was a Catholeran (I just made that word up). My two older brothers were baptized Catholic while my sister and I were baptized Lutheran. I spent my earliest Sundays alternating between Catholic mass and Lutheran services. I distinctly remember how confusing this was. You see, the animosity that these two faiths had towards each other was not covert it was openly, and proudly, displayed.

I clearly remember listening to Father Daniel spouting hatred towards the “lost” believers of Lutheranism. He informed the congregation that there was only one true church and all others would either burn in eternal damnation or spend centuries in Purgatory (he even referred to Limbo for the protestant babies). The next Sunday I would be sitting in the pews of Bethlehem Lutheran listening to Pastor Fry (a real “fire and brimstone” preacher) warning us of the evils of the Catholic “idolaters”. I clearly retain the image of Pastor Fry’s face becoming a darker shade of red as his emotions flared while describing the misguided idolization of Mary by the Catholic Church.

As a young child I came to only one irrevocable truth; my whole family was doomed.

When I was 7-years-old my parents decided that it was important that their children received a religious education. My siblings and I were pulled out of public school and we were sent to Bethlehem Lutheran – Go Spartans! I stayed at Bethlehem for the next six years, becoming educated not only academically but also spiritually. Bethlehem is a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). It is one of the more conservative branches of the Lutheran church.

As I entered my teenage years I started to openly question some of the more rigid rules of my church. I especially had difficulty understanding what I viewed as a lack of tolerance and understanding of others. I met with my pastor numerous times to discuss my concerns. After a period of time I made the decision to leave my church and I started to look for a new source of religious guidance.

As I entered college and then obtained my first teaching job I found myself moving quite frequently. During these transient years my attendance at church dropped. In 1999 I became a father for the first time. With the birth of my children I found myself being drawn back to the church. However, this time I wasn’t looking for spiritual guidance for myself, but for my family. I wanted my children to be raised with a strong Christian belief of love, compassion and forgiveness. After several years of exploration I found myself feeling most comfortable in the “Non-denominational” setting of many new churches. My family and I are currently members of a large non-denominational church; however, we all love to explore new churches.