Monday, June 17, 2013

Answering questions - My faith journey

I started reading your blog back when you were leaving your church.  I wonder if you have ever considered returning to church and/or where you are on your faith journey.

At the time I was kicked out of my church, I was already detached from most of the “Christian” aspects of church.  I no longer recited the creeds, I no longer believed in Christ as savior, or god incarnate, or the resurrection.   What I loved about church was the sacred space where I found it so easy to connect with that loving energy I perceive to be “god.”    Someone once explained their sense of sacred in a church as being able to feel all those prayers that had soaked into the walls and woodwork.   I feel that.

And going to church was a good spiritual discipline -  having a weekly routine to exercise that connection.   I also enjoyed some of the people there, having easy volunteer opportunities, and hearing the stories about the life of Christ, who I still think was a pretty cool and radical thinker.  And not a bad role model to set the bar for.

I did, for a while, shop around for another church but I realized early in that process that as much as I liked the sacred space of a church, I was never again going to be able to call myself a “Christian” and really didn’t like the institutional aspects of religion.  So I began to figure out how I could still make that spiritual connection without the aid of a place or routine. Or someone else’s prompts.

I have likened this move away from an institutional church, for me,  as similar to moving out of my parents house.  I lived very happily within the walls of my childhood home, protected and sheltered, learned valuable life lessons . . .but always within my parents rules and boundaries.  Once I left and lived on my own, I was exposed to other traditions and vocabularies and cultures and I grew as an individual.   In much the same way, I have moved out of the controlled, confining environment of a church and I am looking for ways to expand my spiritual life.

That is where I am on my journey now.   I know the places where I easily feel that connection - particularly out in the woods, under the stars.  Volunteer work.  Working in my garden.  Laughing with a friend.   I know that the easiest way for me to feel that connection is to become very aware - of my center, and particularly of nature.

What I am striving for is being able to see and feel god (love) in everything and every one.  I am enjoying exploring new traditions and options to take me in that direction - including the very earthy, native American kind of spirituality, and some of the eastern practices.   I will always rely on Judaic traditions for forgiveness.  And I will still use those things I learned in the christian church - particularly gratitude and prayer - that help me keep centered.  

So I guess that's my journey - a blend of different faiths and traditions - but a very strong belief that love is everywhere and is the answer to everything.   I just need to stay connected to it.

Easier said than done.


8 comments:

  1. I love this post. It's making me think deeply about this.

    I have been on my own path for a long time and yet spirituality and my connection to it is one of the major forces in my life.

    This is also bringing up for me the idea that it would be nice to have a time of the week put aside just for spiritual thought. I meditate, but it would be nice to have a time when I do something more.

    Thanks for this.

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    1. This is one of my biggest challenges - to set aside time for spiritual practice. Much like going to the gym or playing the piano, showing is the hardest part. And when I do, I feel so good afterward I wonder why it is so hard to get started.

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    2. Add writing to that list instead of piano and ditto for me.

      I'm in the midst of trying to design a schedule. So this was definitely food for thought.

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  2. I love this post too!

    We are often taught about the underlying similarities of faiths and beliefs. It is an interesting concept to think about using different aspects of different religions for different needs instead of the one-stop shop that is our current paradigm and obviously not fulfilling most people's needs.

    Your analogy of church being like living with your parents made me both laugh and cry in recognition.

    Thank you for answering my question, and in return, creating more questions for me to ponder. I suspect, 8thday, that you will be very successful on your journey because there is so much love (God) in you.

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    1. I read a number of religious blogs and they all seem to think their's is the best. (Humility not being one of their strong points : ) And yet they are all wringing their hands that their numbers are shrinking. It would be fun to create a new religion taking the best of all of them and see what happens.





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  3. Well said, 8dp.

    I've always felt that the best, most authentic, place to feel 'god' is in the cathedrals of nature. Trees, canyons, mountains, rivers, sky, stars... and in the little places, like a blade of grass, the wing of a butterfly; those miracles that we see everyday and sometimes forget to marvel at.

    xoxo

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    1. I am so with you e.

      I have often wondered why people go inside man made buildings to worship a god of creation. Seems rather backwards to me.

      One of the things I am most aiming for is not to forget to marvel. It is way too easy to be distracted by all our "stuff" I think, and we often miss the wing of a butterfly. Sad.

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  4. Isn't it ironic that the foundation for most religions is love, but then they go around hating? And taking pride in their hate. I like what most religions have to say - its just their hypocritical members I can't abide. And you know who I mean . . .

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