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.