Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Religion is a weird subject for me. I was born into a small Church of God in Alabama. By small, I mean about 100 members including all of the staff and unborn children. It was the type of church where everyone knew each other or was related and no one ever missed an event for fear of being shunned. I'm talking almost cultish here people. I don't really remember much about going there as a child, we moved away when I was three,  but we have been back to visit yearly because its where my mother's family holds its reunion. Its a creepy, dark kind of place. The kind of place that has always made me feel dirty and cheap. You feel the pretense in the air thick like the grease in the elders hair. Complete with big stained glass windows and pipe organ. The graveyard out side keeps the graves of Native Americans from when they owned the land and that always creeped me out too. This was the church both my sister and me were born into though so I suppose I can't really say much.

When we moved away, we attended mostly Methodist churches. They all had their particular brand of crazy. It always amazed me how much one church would vary from one to the next. Granted they were all in different states so I guess that might have had something to do with it.  I always felt so confused how if they were all worshiping the same God and reading the same bible with the same rules, how they all had different guidelines. Even when I attended a Baptist church for a year or two, it seemed they spent all of their time contradicting themselves. Its not like they were all picking different passages or different aspects even. They all had their views on seemingly the same handful of issues.

Now, I'm not knocking it. I understand that their are different views and different interpretations and all that jazz. I'm just saying that for me it made things very difficult. I am very much the kind of person that needs a definite answer on things like religion and the like. I've mentioned before that I like research and statistic type things. I like to know. I like for their to be a definite answer. So, you can imagine the idea of religion is kind of hard for me to grasp. I do believe in God. I believe in a spirit that guides us if we let it. I believe in karma and miracles. I have seen them in action. I believe that there are some things in the bible that have a good moral message. I don't however feel like it is always relevant and complete for a manual to modern life. We deal with issues that just weren't an issue when it was written. I also have a hard time with the concept of prayer. Maybe that makes me a heathen or a bad person. I don't know. It doesn't bother me I guess. That is not to say, either, that if I tell someone I will pray for them that I don't, I just don't say it often.

I think most of it for me is spiritual. Its about finding your place and doing the best you can. I think most people are born with an intuitive sense of whats wrong and right. I also feel like its part of my responsibility as a parent to help shape my kids into the kind of people they need to be. They may eventually want to go to a church and that is absolutely okay with me. I want them to be able to find their peace with God because that is so very vital. I think some people need to be told what to do or validated. Churches are perfect for those types of people. We occasionally do go to a local church. Its a nondenominational type thing and we go there mostly because we like the music. I do have to say that it feels more real to me than the churches we attended as children.They focus more on today's issues and loving each other and God than pushing the bible and expecting us to live by rules that are centuries old. Its a teaching tool to them which is more how I can relate to it than a set of do or die rules for life.

Maybe it changes as you age. Maybe we aren't supposed to know.  Maybe there is no ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.


  1. Yes, it changes. No, we aren't supposed to know. But more than I know anything, I believe that there is meaning...

    And, what I believe, and feel connected to, is too powerful for names or labels or guidebooks or even congregations, because faith is a personal thing that you can never truly share letter for letter with another person.

    (And would you want to? I would think it would only breed doubt for some...)

    I mean, you know me better than ANYBODY and this is the closest we've ever come to talking about our beliefs. I, for one, don't think what I believe should subject to the input/judgement/interference of others, which is why I've resisted jumping back in at this point in my life...

    The truly pious people we've known weren't always the ones in the middle of the swarm. (I think it was an advantage to hearing our gay uncle talk about his church.)

    But regardless of the reason that any of us were there, we got to know some very good people in some of those churches.

    I feel tuned into something greater and I don't think anyone/thing should shape my power to do what it is that I will for this existence. But: I personally deal with it everyday. It's a huge part of my life.

    Do I miss the social aspects? Sure I do. It's even called "fellowship" and it's an important part of faith for some, just like for some who feel closer to the truth on their own. But I'm lucky that enough of my friends have values that coincide with mine. And they respect that our individual beliefs are more important than ritualism or social indoctrination, which are all things borrowed from centuries of human nature, and therefore fallible.

    Your need for a "definite answer" will hold you back in that way. I think a more open minded church is the right thing for you, and for me when the time is right. But don't "settle" in this department...

    (So, I wrote a response that was longer... I've cut it down some and am off to close it a bit strangely, perhaps... But: boldness points to you for posting about religion on your blog....)


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