Author Topic: Spirituality of houseguests  (Read 5333 times)

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snowdragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2013, 10:24:55 PM »
I find it interesting that so  many of these responses are so "protective" ( not the precisely correct word, but I can't come up with something better right now) of the guests rights are not so tolerant of the hosts right to be comfortable with what happens in his own home. What about the OP's DH? Where does the responsibility of the guest to honor the host's wishes come into play? Or are the hosts the only one with a responsibility here?

White Dragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2013, 10:30:18 PM »
DH and I have no issue with Kyle praying, meditating etc in the privacy of his room.
If he has some sacred items, they are his personal property and certainly not ours to take!

I am not sure I'd be comfortable with him setting up an altar, and I know that would exceed DH's comfort level.

It's possible none of this will be an issue, but I wanted to give the matter some thought so as to handle it well if it comes up.

Goodness

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2013, 10:31:50 PM »
Bless you, OP, for your kindness, generosity, and attempt to understand what to you are weird beliefs & practices.

If the next ritual occasion for this young man is spring equinox, he's some sort of NeoPagan. Were I in his shoes, I would not be comfortable substituting battery-operated 'candles' for real ones in my ceremonies, as the presence of live flame has deep spiritual meaning for us, as it does for many other religions. If you're worried about fire, I suggest requiring him to use enclosed candles rather than tapers, and (a safety trick I use) setting the candle glass in a wide, shallow dish of water. Should the glass break or the candle get knocked over, the water quenches it instantly and also prevents hot wax running all over the furniture.

But I also understand your reluctance to have Pagan rituals going on in a Christian household. Not exactly compatible. Banning his practices outright might drive him away and into possibly risky lifestyles, but you don't have to cave completely. Your willingness to have him do them outdoors -- even in a Canadian winter -- is commendably broad-minded, and the suggestions others have made, such as building a snow shelter, are brilliant, especially considering that Paganism is largely about nature. Instead of a candle, a big fire in the firepit is even more traditionally Pagan, and has the added bonus of keeping him warm.

You may also, though, have concerns about your own kids being curious and attracted-to your guest's exotic practices. Most kids who first encounter Pagan rituals are fascinated, not so much for spiritual or religious reasons, as because it's just so *different.* You have only two options, I'm afraid: to keep them from seeing/smelling/hearing what he's doing, or to come up with some satisfactory explanation that'll quell their curiosity. A frank talk with the young man, as others have suggested, may help a lot, as -- if he's smart and at all sensitive -- he could have some good ideas in that regard.

I hope this helps, and again, bless you for your kindness to a young man in a bad situation.

Firecat

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2013, 10:34:37 PM »
I find it interesting that so  many of these responses are so "protective" ( not the precisely correct word, but I can't come up with something better right now) of the guests rights are not so tolerant of the hosts right to be comfortable with what happens in his own home. What about the OP's DH? Where does the responsibility of the guest to honor the host's wishes come into play? Or are the hosts the only one with a responsibility here?

The host has the option of not inviting the person to stay long-term if he/she is uncomfortable with the person's beliefs and the practice thereof. If the invitation is made and accepted, then the host has an obligation to be gracious...especially in a situation like this when the young man will essentially be a resident of the home, but is not the child of the OP and/or her DH.

snowdragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2013, 10:34:53 PM »
DH and I have no issue with Kyle praying, meditating etc in the privacy of his room.
If he has some sacred items, they are his personal property and certainly not ours to take!

I am not sure I'd be comfortable with him setting up an altar, and I know that would exceed DH's comfort level.

It's possible none of this will be an issue, but I wanted to give the matter some thought so as to handle it well if it comes up.

It needs to be handled to your and Dh's satisfaction before Kyle moves in. You need to have hashed it out with each other so you can support each other in the boundaries that you are both comfortable with.

Firecat

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2013, 10:39:11 PM »
DH and I have no issue with Kyle praying, meditating etc in the privacy of his room.
If he has some sacred items, they are his personal property and certainly not ours to take!

I am not sure I'd be comfortable with him setting up an altar, and I know that would exceed DH's comfort level.

It's possible none of this will be an issue, but I wanted to give the matter some thought so as to handle it well if it comes up.

I would like to point out that what a pagan would consider an altar can be very small and discreet. Something like a small dish of salt or a stone or two, maybe a feather, a shell, items along those lines. So it may not be obvious that it's an altar, per se.

The next holiday observed by many Wiccans would actually be Imbolg (or Imbolc), which basically celebrates the longer days and the very first stirrings of spring. It's at the beginning of February, and is often associated with Brigid (who was a goddess, later adopted as a saint by the Catholic Church).

snowdragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2013, 10:44:55 PM »
I find it interesting that so  many of these responses are so "protective" ( not the precisely correct word, but I can't come up with something better right now) of the guests rights are not so tolerant of the hosts right to be comfortable with what happens in his own home. What about the OP's DH? Where does the responsibility of the guest to honor the host's wishes come into play? Or are the hosts the only one with a responsibility here?

The host has the option of not inviting the person to stay long-term if he/she is uncomfortable with the person's beliefs and the practice thereof. If the invitation is made and accepted, then the host has an obligation to be gracious...especially in a situation like this when the young man will essentially be a resident of the home, but is not the child of the OP and/or her DH.

 I believe the guest has a responsibility to honor the moral values of the host, too. And has the right to decline the housing if the host's values conflict with the guest's beliefs. But this needs to be ironed out before any guest comes over. but you don't get to accept hospitality and dishonor and disregard the host's beliefs.
 
Firecat said
Quote
I would like to point out that what a pagan would consider an altar can be very small and discreet. Something like a small dish of salt or a stone or two, maybe a feather, a shell, items along those lines. So it may not be obvious that it's an altar, per se.


  Does not matter the host is not comfortable with altars being set up in their home - they should not be set up. period.

Yvaine

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2013, 10:57:05 PM »
I believe the guest has a responsibility to honor the moral values of the host, too. And has the right to decline the housing if the host's values conflict with the guest's beliefs. But this needs to be ironed out before any guest comes over. but you don't get to accept hospitality and dishonor and disregard the host's beliefs.

But what constitutes dishonor and disregard? Personally, I don't feel dishonored or disregarded if a guest, someone I care about and have invited into my home, prays privately in my house to their deity of choice, as long as they don't expect me to pray to that deity too. From the OP's latest post, she also would not see private prayer as disrespect or a problem. I'm sure there are people who feel differently, and in those cases, either the host or the guest should probably think better of the person staying there. You really can't make people stop believing in their own religion inside their own head, and they're not meaning to disrespect you by believing in it. If it bothers you that much, you have the option of just not inviting people of other religions to visit you, but you can't dictate their inner thoughts once you've invited them.

DH and I have no issue with Kyle praying, meditating etc in the privacy of his room.
If he has some sacred items, they are his personal property and certainly not ours to take!


I am not sure I'd be comfortable with him setting up an altar, and I know that would exceed DH's comfort level.

It's possible none of this will be an issue, but I wanted to give the matter some thought so as to handle it well if it comes up.

Good to hear the bolded.  :) I think you're coming from a good place, one of trying to make this work to everyone's satisfaction, and I think that bodes well for you guys' ability to come to a workable arrangement if anything comes up.

Firecat

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2013, 11:06:03 PM »
I find it interesting that so  many of these responses are so "protective" ( not the precisely correct word, but I can't come up with something better right now) of the guests rights are not so tolerant of the hosts right to be comfortable with what happens in his own home. What about the OP's DH? Where does the responsibility of the guest to honor the host's wishes come into play? Or are the hosts the only one with a responsibility here?

The host has the option of not inviting the person to stay long-term if he/she is uncomfortable with the person's beliefs and the practice thereof. If the invitation is made and accepted, then the host has an obligation to be gracious...especially in a situation like this when the young man will essentially be a resident of the home, but is not the child of the OP and/or her DH.

 I believe the guest has a responsibility to honor the moral values of the host, too. And has the right to decline the housing if the host's values conflict with the guest's beliefs. But this needs to be ironed out before any guest comes over. but you don't get to accept hospitality and dishonor and disregard the host's beliefs.
 
Firecat said
Quote
I would like to point out that what a pagan would consider an altar can be very small and discreet. Something like a small dish of salt or a stone or two, maybe a feather, a shell, items along those lines. So it may not be obvious that it's an altar, per se.


  Does not matter the host is not comfortable with altars being set up in their home - they should not be set up. period.

One can honor someone's values without sharing them. It's one thing to agree to separate bedrooms for unmarried SOs for a weekend out of respect for your host's sensibilities. It's entirely another to be asked to give up one's religious beliefs or to refrain from practicing them long-term. If it's going to be that big an issue, then don't issue the invitation; it's not fair to use such an invitation to attempt to impose your values on a prospective guest, either. Particularly one who is already in a difficult situation.

And really, I'm a bit insulted by your dismissive response to my comment about the altar. You could simply have asked for clarification rather than getting snippy. But since I'm on the topic, my intention was to provide the OP more information to assist her and her DH in making a hopefully more informed decision. Because "altar" to some people means huge elaborate setup, and in this instance, that's simply not the case.

Ladybugs

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2013, 11:08:48 PM »
I agree with above post that if I have a guest with a difent religion I would not feel right asking them to refrain from their personal religion (the whole candle, incense thing aside which is a general safety thing)

If it makes a host that uncomfortable, it might be better to just not have guests of other religions, although at the same time i question how that might actually work in real life as opposed to theory.........For example, you invite cousin Cathy to stay for a week in summer. After she arrives you learn she recently converted to x religion, different than the one she had which was the same as yours. It would be awkward asking her to refrain from her beliefs while she stays over

I Know this is a hypothetical I'm just wondering how a no guests of other religions could play out in real life...a guest comes who has always been Christian. After they arrive you learn they just converted recently to x religion ...now what?


Firecat

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2013, 11:20:57 PM »
I agree with above post that if I have a guest with a difent religion I would not feel right asking them to refrain from their personal religion (the whole candle, incense thing aside which is a general safety thing)

If it makes a host that uncomfortable, it might be better to just not have guests of other religions, although at the same time i question how that might actually work in real life as opposed to theory.........For example, you invite cousin Cathy to stay for a week in summer. After she arrives you learn she recently converted to x religion, different than the one she had which was the same as yours. It would be awkward asking her to refrain from her beliefs while she stays over

I Know this is a hypothetical I'm just wondering how a no guests of other religions could play out in real life...a guest comes who has always been Christian. After they arrive you learn they just converted recently to x religion ...now what?

I think there's a difference between someone who is staying for a week or so and someone who is going to be more like a long-term additional resident. In the case of a short-term guest, I think it's simple enough for the guest to do any praying/meditating/reading in his/her room and for the host to turn a blind eye, and to avoid discussing religion in general for a few days or a couple of weeks.

In the case of a resident, I think things need to be a bit more explicit, hopefully with a spirit of mutual respect. I think the host should make an effort to have a basic knowledge of the other religion and to decide on some kind of compromise, ideally with the guest's input. If only because it's difficult to make decisions about something when you really don't know what it is. (I really applaud the OP and her DH for thinking and talking about this, by the way.) 

I think things such as "don't burn anything in the house" is reasonable. "Don't talk to our minor children about your religion. Please send them to us if they ask you questions, and please don't leave your books lying around the house. We will keep the kids out of your bedroom" is also fairly reasonable. If it's relevant, the OP might also ask Kyle if he has any thoughts on deflecting questions from any kids - sadly, many Pagans get used to doing this fairly quickly, and he may already have had to figure out how to deal with the issue.


Sharnita

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2013, 11:23:05 PM »
I think that if your belief system includes one true deity,whoever/whatever that is, it means walking a fine line.  On the one hand you can't mandate thought ot belief - and faith would be pretty meaningless if you could.  On the other hand, actively contributing to somebody's worship of other than one true deity could be dishonoring deity and potentially endagering the soul of the individaul, according to your belief system.

snowdragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2013, 11:30:12 PM »

And really, I'm a bit insulted by your dismissive response to my comment about the altar. You could simply have asked for clarification rather than getting snippy. But since I'm on the topic, my intention was to provide the OP more information to assist her and her DH in making a hopefully more informed decision. Because "altar" to some people means huge elaborate setup, and in this instance, that's simply not the case.

 Your post still comes off to me as dismissive of the OP's husband's beliefs - he does not want altars in his house. That is his belief, so he should not have to have them, no matter how small they are, what they are made of - or to whom they are offered.  It's his home
 That's why I am continually saying this all needs to be ironed out before Kyle moves in.   

   The host has the option of inviting, the guest has the option of declining to stay under X conditions,,,but both share the obligation of making sure that all expectations are out on the table before the visit/extended stay.
  OP did you know that your husband felt this way before Kyle was invited/disclosed his religious preferences.

   It might interest folks to know that I am of a religion that has home altars and not Christian, I am an ordained member of the clergy in that religion, and I have stayed in home where I was not welcome to put up an altar. I was there for a summer while studying at an adult music camp - so from May through September, no you can't dictate what someone thinks, but it is absolutely a hosts right to say "No rituals or altars not of my religion in my house" --as long as that is disclosed before hand.

Aluminum

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2013, 11:31:26 PM »
I think that if you'd be okay with someone of another different religion, for example, praying to their (not your) God at bedtime, it would be hypocritical to tell him what he can and can't do religiously in "his" room if it won't physically affect anyone's ability to breathe and/or safety. I think you're totally in the clear to tell him that the household rule is "no burning anything in bedrooms" and to suggest that he could do it in the garage. But if a cousin who was, for example, a Buddhist, would be permitted to perform devotional meditation while spending the night in your guest room -- and I would have a hard time believing that you'd make a specific rule forbidding this, though I could be wrong -- then I think questioning Kyle in detail about his anticipated religious practices while in "his" bedroom with the door closed would be out of line.

I agree with this completely.

Also, the concern expressed about the OP's kids' exposure to this alternate path is a bit confusing to me.  My understanding is that the "children" are between 16 and 21 years?  I'm not sure that it's reasonable to suggest that at that age, the tenant should be denied the ability to practice his spiritual path for fear of introducing new ideas to them*...I suspect they're already at least marginally familiar! ;)

*This is not aimed at the OP; I believe another poster made this suggestion, and the ages of the offspring got lost in the discussion, although I could be wrong.

Firecat

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2013, 11:31:53 PM »
I think that if your belief system includes one true deity,whoever/whatever that is, it means walking a fine line.  On the one hand you can't mandate thought ot belief - and faith would be pretty meaningless if you could.  On the other hand, actively contributing to somebody's worship of other than one true deity could be dishonoring deity and potentially endagering the soul of the individaul, according to your belief system.

So what, exactly, is "actively contributing"? I would offer that buying him books or items that are explicitly ritual supplies might be considered that, or looking for community groups for him, could pretty definitely be considered actively contributing.

But what about simply providing living space in the home and a degree of privacy (it will, after all, be his home too) (with the exceptions of no burning, maybe no drumming or other noisy activity), and turning a blind eye otherwise?

That's a decision everyone has to make for themselves...and if they decide that they can't offer at least space and some selective blindness, then I think it would be kinder to not allow the young man to move in, and to perhaps assist him in finding other arrangements if they're so inclined.