Sunday, July 18, 2010


I had a breakthrough/breakdown today. I was driving home and (rather helplessly) trying to figure out how to reconcile the God of my youth with my newer revelations. Suddenly I found myself in tears, talking out loud. I was replaying a moment I had a few weeks ago at my bookclub (which isn't spiritually based but happened to read a book about the bible last month). I was trying to help my friends, who for the most part had never been Christian, understand my thoughts. I found myself in tears on that night as well, explaining that I had believed so many things and that I felt like Dorothy spying the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. It was a betrayal but also frightening because if Oz was just a man then how would I get home. Today, in the safety of my own company, I dug a little deeper and discovered that I felt more than betrayed and scared; I felt as if I'd lost a friend.

I grew up believing not in the Jesus that non-Christians see- the poor son of a carpenter who died 2000 years ago. I grew up believing in a personal friend. When I had troubles he would let me lean on him. When I needed help he would guide me. When I needed anything, he would be there. I also believed in his personal, unconditional love. I believed that when Jesus died on the cross he did it for me. Yes, for the whole world but also just for me- we all needed saved and he stepped up but even if I'd been the only soul that needed saving he'd have done the exact same thing because he loves me that much. Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. I didn't just believe it, I felt it. I questioned a lot of things about the religion of my youth but never that Jesus was my friend.

But now I see him in a different light. I see him as an enlightened being, a great teacher, and someone who died for his convictions. Someone to learn from but not worship. A person in the past to study but who can't be my friend because he died a long time ago. I realized in that moment that I needed to grieve the loss of my friend just as if he'd been a living, breathing person I used to call on the phone and spill all my deepest fears and greatest joys to but no longer could. I needed to treat it like a death. So I cried- sobbed really- allowing myself to mourn. And when I had no more tears a weight had been lifted.

I think I'm ready to move forward wherever my spiritual journey takes me now without feeling the need to somehow make it fit with Christianity. I'm sure there will be times when I'll grieve some more, Christmas and Easter especially, but I know that this will get easier with time because I'm not holding on to a corpse anymore. I can finally let go.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Magnificent God

These posts are scattered and short because my feelings don't have names yet. I have let go of the Christianity of my youth. I see now that my own spirituality is deeply personal and cannot be confined within religion. In addition to my traditional Bible and books by Christian authors I have turned to Buddhist writings, the Tao, new age writers, and pagans. What I've found is that none of them feel 'right', none of them are expansive enough to define my truth. One of my favorite quotes from my favorite book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert comes closer to expressing my current state than anything I can articulate on my own:

...when the question is raised, "What kind of God do you believe in?" my answer is easy: "I believe in a magnificent God."

Friday, June 25, 2010

I've been avoiding this place because I have no easy answers. I recognize it as avoidance in the psychological sense but yet I do it. Its easier to push these feelings aside than to confront them. I think I wanted to find answers and the more I dig the more questions I find and it is unsettling to say the least. My questions about prayer have led me down a path of wondering who exactly I'm praying to and what role this 'who' plays in daily life. In short, I don't know. And this depresses me to no end.

Logically I can't deduce a better argument for belief than non-belief. When I say 'someone' had to start it all, the star stuff we are all made of had to come from somewhere so that must be god. But then the non-believer asks but where did God come from. When I say he just always was then the non-believer says but why couldn't the star stuff just be if God could just be. A valid question. There is no answer so it comes down to faith. Some days I have it, some days I don't.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Still stumped about prayer so instead.. God and Religion

I am still pondering the complexities of prayer and finding my way to a truth that I can be comfortable with. But it is a twisted and complicated path which I can't seem to lay out in words at the moment. So instead I'd like to talk about something else that has been bothering me lately. Religion as a weapon against spirituality.

I have encountered many people on my quest who are angry with the church. Many of them rightly so. They feel lied to, manipulated, and angry. There are some valid points to be made about the history of the church and the abuses of power that have caused pain and suffering 'in the name of god'. But the church is not god.

It seems contradictory to me to acknowledge that an institution is corrupt and then use that knowledge as proof of the non-existence of the power they were seeking. We don't stop believing in democracy when greed and unchecked power lead us into war. We don't stop believing in love when a person full of selfishness breaks our heart. We don't stop believing in science when new information proves old theories incorrect. So why do we hold god responsible for the shortcomings of religion?

This is exemplified most clearly for me in the use of the bible for proof there is no god. If you believe the bible is a book created by man how can it prove anything about the existence of god? Using inconsistencies and questioning the time the bible was written can be used to prove that it isn't an inerrant document set down by god but it doesn't prove there is no god. Understanding the history of how the works were written, collected, selected, and excluded helps us understand the men (and no, I don't mean this in the universal mankind sense, women weren't allowed) who were part of it. But you can only use the history of the bible to point out its own flaws. You can't discredit a document, or more precisely a collection of documents, and then use that very discredited document(s) to prove your point.

People also love to talk about the pain and suffering inflicted on humanity by religion in the form of war, oppression and shame. Again, the evidence of these events is overwhelming but it only condemns the religion, not god. The same is true for the wanton wealth some religions use in the creation of holy places while people starve. A symptom of religion but still not god.

When I hear people using these examples to discredit or disprove god it confuses me. That's like blaming your body for lung cancer after years of smoking. Your body didn't cause your cancer and god didn't cause the ills of religion. I haven't found a particular religion that I find without fault or flaw but I don't need to. I don't confuse religion with god and therefore don't need to reconcile the two.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I haven't posted much lately because I feel stuck on this prayer question. A friend lent me several books on the topic of visualization, manifestation, and communicating with God. However, I still feel at a loss. Perhaps if I define my specific difficulties...

1) Why are some prayers answered and others not answered? If prayer really works then it shouldn't it work for everyone, every time?

2) If the answer to question # 1 has to do with belief or some other flaw in the asker then we have essentially blamed a person's hardships on them. This doesn't sit well with me.

3) If the answer to question #1 has to do with us not knowing what is best for us then why bother asking? Shouldn't we just let things unfold in their path and trust that it is all for the best?

4) Isn't it selfish to ask for anything more than strength and understanding? Why would selfish prayers be answered?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


It seems with each answer comes a new question. I'm making peace with my beliefs about God, Jesus, and traditional holiday but now I'm struggling with prayer.

I told my aunt that my doctor was concerned about my thyroid and she said she'd put me on the prayer list at church. Friends on Facebook post problems and difficulties in their lives and ask for prayer. My husband was recently waiting for word on a new job he really wanted (which he got, yay!) and a part of me wanted to pray. Or send it out to the universe. Manifest it. Whatever, the word isn't as important as the practice.

I'm not sure what I believe about the power of asking or visualizing. I'm not sure what I believe about God or the Universe intervening on our behalf. I think it's time for more books!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sidenote from our usual topics...

I had an amazing day at the UU Fellowship today. Everyone got to share how they had become a UU and it was so moving to hear everyone's story. At one point one of the ladies referred to her husband as a miracle who'd saved her and he just couldn't hold back his tears. It was so special and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.

I myself don't really identify as a UU per se. I have recently decided that I'm "living without labels" so I'm not ready to adopt this one. If I were to adopt a religion though UU would be it. Where else can the Christian, pagan, atheiest, agnostic, and questioning seeker come together and find a loving community. I am in awe of the openess.

When it was my turn to share I told a bit about my past, what made me question the religious models of my youth, and the fact that I believe some questions are unanswerable but I still think it's important to search for those answers.