Author Topic: Spirituality of houseguests  (Read 5705 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2013, 11:33:54 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.

You've mentioned the "contributing to the worship" thing earlier in the thread, too, and I'm curious what you mean by it? Is it just letting him stay there while believing other beliefs? Because from your post it sounds like we're expecting the OP to buy him supplies for his religion, which we are not expecting and which wouldn't be the least bit necessary.

Firecat

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2013, 11:38:15 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.

No, I'm not dismissing the DH's beliefs. I'm saying that he and the OP might not have information that I do, and that informed decisions are usually better. If the OP's DH is still not comfortable once he has the information, then he has the right to make that decision. He has the right to make that decision without bothering to be informed, of course, and goodness knows lack of information doesn't stop quite a few people from making all kinds of decisions and assumptions...

Sharnita

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2013, 11:38:50 PM »
I kind of get the idea that for OP's DH it would be having an alter set up in his home - regardless of what the alter consisted of.

White Dragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2013, 11:39:42 PM »
I'll try to provide a bit of context.

We have been aware of Kyle family situation for some time as he is Son's friend.
Kyle's mom is deceased and his dad often works out of town.
This means that Kyle is home with his older sister.

Kyle is not currently is school and he works to support the family.

Kyle's sister is experiencing some issues that make her very hard to live with. These include both mental health and lifestyle concerns.

This culminated in her kicking him out. (She has since withdrawn this, but this anger-lash out-repentance cycle is very wearing and Kyle isn't really keen to go back to it.)

Kyle was brought to our door at midnight after DH and son went to get him. His worldly possessions and soiled bedding (sister's doing) were in garbage bags.

This a long-winded way of explaining why spirituality was not the first thing on our minds when we gave him a room. Also, it explains why we want to find a way to make this work for Kyle. DH feels very protective of Kyle and wants our house to be safe and welcoming.


snowdragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2013, 11:41:19 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.

For some "actively contributing" can mean allowing it in one's home.

   This is not the first time the morals thing has come up, here .  When I was lurking there was a thread awhile ago about a cohabiting couple staying for a visit with a relative that wanted them to sleep separately and a wild one about a visit to Ireland (?) where people  who were not married in the hosts church were expected to sleep apart from their partners, men were to share a room, and  women with women.   I don't share the latter view but if I visited there, I would absolutely honor the hosts beliefs, if  I could not I would leave.  I think in all of the threads like this people who don't necessarily adhere to the belief being discussed believe that the hosts belief/comfort level/wishes trump the rights of the guest.

snowdragon

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2013, 11:48:40 PM »
I'll try to provide a bit of context.

We have been aware of Kyle family situation for some time as he is Son's friend.
Kyle's mom is deceased and his dad often works out of town.
This means that Kyle is home with his older sister.

Kyle is not currently is school and he works to support the family.

Kyle's sister is experiencing some issues that make her very hard to live with. These include both mental health and lifestyle concerns.

This culminated in her kicking him out. (She has since withdrawn this, but this anger-lash out-repentance cycle is very wearing and Kyle isn't really keen to go back to it.)

Kyle was brought to our door at midnight after DH and son went to get him. His worldly possessions and soiled bedding (sister's doing) were in garbage bags.

This a long-winded way of explaining why spirituality was not the first thing on our minds when we gave him a room. Also, it explains why we want to find a way to make this work for Kyle. DH feels very protective of Kyle and wants our house to be safe and welcoming.

  I hope Kyle is as concerned with DH's rights as DH is protective of Kyle.  That is the only way this will work.  My heart goes out to Kyle - for a long time my place was the one kids went to when trouble struck at home....so much so my house rules were posted on the door.
  One thing that might help with this could be Kyle making a place for worship that is his alone, not in your house. Maybe a special place in the woods or such - if there is such a place nearby. Or he could make himself a "bachelor pad" type fort someplace .  If Kyle is the sole support of his family - then he could conceivably get his own place and have you and DH nearby for support, and he'd have his own place for his practices that way.
  I do hope it works out for you all.

Margo

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2013, 06:36:07 AM »
Kyle is lucky that he has good friends like you & DH to help him out.
I think it is absolutely fine for you to have house rules which include 'no burning, no naked flames, no alters' inside the house. I think that trying to come up with options to accommodate his needs, such as letting him perform rituals in your garage/garden (if you feel comfortable with that) is considerate but not required of you.

I think it is also reasonable to discuss with him what you feel comfortable with. You've made several comments in this thread which show that you respect his spiritual/ religious views and are not seeking to convert him, so I think if you approach the conversation with him with the same attitude then you should be able to have a discussion about what he feels is needed to meet his spiritual / religious needs, and what you and DH feel comfortable with.

I think it would be sensible to start with something similar to what you said here , that you know his religion is different to yours, and respect that, and that you are in no way seeking to prevent him from whatever prayer/meditation he wishes to use in his own room, and then go on to discuss what things you are and are not comfortable with, it is much less likely to be perceived as critical or prejudiced, and you are much more likely to be able to discuss the options and come up with a compromise everyone is comfortable.

Be open to the possibility he may also have queries about your expression of your own religion (do you say grace before meals, for instance, and is he comfortable joining in with that? Are you comfortable with him eating with you and *not* joining in?)

I think the suggestions about trying to help him find other individuals or a place which is not part f your house to set up an alter or sacred space are very sensible, and again, raising these early in the conversation will hep reassure him that you're not attacking his beliefs or his expression of them, which is likely to make him much more receptive to the house rules you do decide on.

I think it would be sensible if you and your DH can speak to Kyle together - that way, you don't have any misunderstandings about anyone's level of comfort, and you can all hear any new information/clarification which might make a difference to your views.

Dr. F.

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2013, 08:33:06 AM »
What does Kyle's dad think about all of this? After all, Kyle is still a minor. (I don't mean the religion aspects, but him staying with you/his sister's behavior.)

Yvaine

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2013, 08:39:43 AM »
What does Kyle's dad think about all of this? After all, Kyle is still a minor. (I don't mean the religion aspects, but him staying with you/his sister's behavior.)

Kyle staying with the OP is ok with his dad per the OP. I'm assuming the "parent" in this post is dad, since mom is deceased. My guess is that he sees it as a workable solution to the sister problem esp. since dad is often out of town and not able to rein in sister.

This question is purely etiquette related and I do not want to get into religious specifics.
I am going to be as general as I can while trying to provide enough information to address the issue.

BG
We have a houseguest who will be with us for an unknown duration, but I think it may be several months.
Kyle's home is not a good place for him to be right now. (Not for legally actionable reasons, just family dynamics mostly related to family mental health issues.)(Please refrain from medical or legal comment.)
Kyle is 17 and yes, we are making sure his parent is okay with this.

ettiquit

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2013, 08:46:50 AM »
I personally would never restrict anyone from practicing their religion in my home (barring any safety concerns).  Of course, I have no religious conflict because I'm an atheist. 

This is an unfortunate situation because it doesn't sound like Kyle has many options, so while he would technically be making the "choice" to stop practicing his religion in order to live with you, I doubt he'll feel as though he has much of a choice considering the alternative.

I second the suggestion to learn as much as you can about Kyle's religion before making a final decision on this.

Yvaine

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2013, 08:51:52 AM »
This is an unfortunate situation because it doesn't sound like Kyle has many options, so while he would technically be making the "choice" to stop practicing his religion in order to live with you, I doubt he'll feel as though he has much of a choice considering the alternative.

To be fair, I think the OP is willing to work out something that will work for everything--I think all the dragon usernames have just gotten confusing.  ;D

Tea Drinker

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2013, 09:31:11 AM »
One more question: would your DH be uncomfortable simply knowing that there was an altar to other gods in your home, or would it only be an issue if he saw something that was obviously an altar (rather than something like few shells on a dresser)? Neither is the wrong answer, but it's relevant to what approaches are workable here.
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MorgnsGrl

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2013, 09:44:00 AM »
One more question: would your DH be uncomfortable simply knowing that there was an altar to other gods in your home, or would it only be an issue if he saw something that was obviously an altar (rather than something like few shells on a dresser)? Neither is the wrong answer, but it's relevant to what approaches are workable here.

I think this is an important question. If it was SEEING the altar that was the problem for the OP's DH, Kyle could keep it covered with a cloth when he wasn't in the room/at worship.

Winterlight

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2013, 09:50:31 AM »
I know a number of neopagans who do not have permanent altars up, so that may not be an issue. I recall reading about one person in boot camp who had drawn an altar on paper and would use that when he wanted a moment of reflection. So there doesn't have to be a permanent altar, so long as he's allowed to keep his sacred objects.

Second, the live flame issue is one college kids have been dealing with for years. Battery operated candles, electric burners, sage oil spray rather than smudging with smoke- heck, I went to a ritual in a hotel last year where they used glowsticks instead of candles and it worked just fine.

I think you need to sit down with Kyle and determin what his needs are and what you can accomodate.
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RebeccainGA

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Re: Spirituality of houseguests
« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2013, 10:12:39 AM »
I know a number of neopagans who do not have permanent altars up, so that may not be an issue. I recall reading about one person in boot camp who had drawn an altar on paper and would use that when he wanted a moment of reflection. So there doesn't have to be a permanent altar, so long as he's allowed to keep his sacred objects.

Second, the live flame issue is one college kids have been dealing with for years. Battery operated candles, electric burners, sage oil spray rather than smudging with smoke- heck, I went to a ritual in a hotel last year where they used glowsticks instead of candles and it worked just fine.

I think you need to sit down with Kyle and determin what his needs are and what you can accomodate.

This. Most certainly this. I was a practicing neopagan for a decade or so. You aren't tied to any one way of practicing, but you may have ways that are more significant to you. This young man seems to be finding his own way in a lot of things, and will, likely, be grateful that you're not trying to exorcise him! Give him some space outdoors (my parents made me sit on the driveway with my candles) or in a garage if possible, or help him to find non-flame based ways of dealing with the ritual requirements. Just being open to the idea, that he can worship how he wants/needs to, is a big one. And by all means, help DH feel comfortable too! If DH needs him to not chant/burn things/walk around in robes/etc. then make those things part of the ground rules.

I hosted a Zen Buddhist woman for a few weeks once upon a time, who was utterly inflexible in her requirements that I keep no meat in the house, that I not disturb her chanting (upwards of three hours a day) by doing so much as playing music on my computer with headphones, and that her GIANT personal altar had to be in the living room (it was the size of the altars at many churches!). We parted ways much earlier than she'd hoped. This young man doesn't seem like this type of person - he seems like he's just grateful for a roof over his head. I suspect, with your tolerant spirit, his willingness to be flexible and your DH's, and a little luck, all will be well.