A major element of the readings that resonated with me this week was McGuire’s discussion of “The Individual’s Religion” (McGuire 55), specifically how children may become exposed to religious worldview before actual involvement in a religious community. McGuire describes this as, “Especially for women and children, the family and home are central religious sites.” (McGuire 55). This was interesting for me to read because it is incredibly similar to my own religious experience growing up. While my time actually spent in church was limited, the basis of my religious experiences are rooted in private religious activity within my family. As a result, my self-identity was mostly based in my early childhood and family, rather than community. My religious identity was mainly developed through the desire of my mother to provide the religious environment that she grew up in, this was largely reflected in McGuire’s reference to religious studies where, “the most memorable aspects of growing up religious occur within families, especially through the daily routines and sacred objects, the holidays, and the intimate relationships of which families are composed” (Wuthnow qtd. In McGuire 54).
In this sense, I definitely connected my mother’s experience with religion and her subsequent choosing to expose me to Catholicism with McGuire’s observations of the development of self-identity. My mother’s experience in a Catholic Filipino family intersects with McGuire’s comments on ethnicity and religion, and the options for people to choose “which cultural elements to make personally meaningful” (McGuire 57). Ultimately, the readings this week were particularly interesting for me because I could really easily apply my own experiences with religion to McGuire’s understandings of how one cultivates a self-identity. Furthermore, McGuire’s discussion of ethnic self-identities was interesting to apply to my understanding of my mother’s interaction with religion, and how her self-identity influenced my initial exposure to religious life.