In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World

In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World

by Maria Polonchek


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Part memoir, part cultural exploration, this book covers the author’s journey as she grows up in an evangelical Christian home, leaves religion behind as a young adult, and goes on to raise children in a family outside of religious belief. Maria Polonchek weaves a personal story with up-to-date studies and philosophic exploration of what it means to raise secular children in an otherwise religious world. Offering careful and respectful advice for other parents who are raising their children outside of a particular religious belief system, she explores the many other ways of instilling identity, belonging, and meaning into our lives and the lives of children.

Honest and irreverent, the author admits to her religious “baggage” and searches for better understanding of such topics as religious education, morality, awe, death, purpose, and meaning, and tradition from secular perspectives. She interviews experts, looks at various studies, and turns to a variety of sources for answers, while maintaining a casual and personal tone. While she ultimately argues for parents to let their children shape their own beliefs, she encourages families to tend to existential and social needs that sometimes go unnoticed or unconsidered in life outside religion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442270664
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Pages: 206
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Maria Polonchek is a Kansas native living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has published award-winning poetry, short stories, and essays and began writing extensively on the motherhood experience after having twins in 2005. She now has three children and has written for the literary magazine Brain, Child, contributed to the anthology Have Milk, Will Travel, and has chronicled her experience parenting outside religion for The Greater Good Science Center, The Friendly Atheist, and Brain, Mother. In addition to thinking, reading, and writing about parenting, she is passionate about wellness, mindfulness, the outdoors, music, art, and the way all of these things relate to issues of social justice. 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: On Making It Personal 1

1 Baggage Claim 9

2 Religious Education 31

Interlude: Boston 47

3 Morality 51

4 Awe and Wonder 71

5 Death 87

6 Meaning And Purpose 105

Interlude: Palo Alto 127

7 Family 131

8 Holidays, Traditions, and Rituals 153

Conclusion On Needing Community 173

Notes 179

Bibliography 185

Index 189

About the Author 193

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