Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not the Christian I Used to Be

I said the sinner's prayer when I was four years old.
I had to. I was adopted at that age and my adoptive mother said she couldn't have a "heathen" in her house.
Bad start, I guess, but I learned to love and value my faith.

It's not my mother's faith.
And I don't really practice my mother's form of religion, but after all these years, I do feel a spiritual connection.

I'm not the christian I used to be. I can't stand cheerleader church--that's what I call people jumping up and down and screaming out what you should then repeat.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against emotion in religion. If you can scream your head off at a football or hockey game, you should certainly feel free to lift your hands and cry, pray, or even scream--in the name of God.

But do it from the heart and not because you're being told to.
And yes, I do understand "mass emotions." Feeling what the masses feel. Doing what everyone else is doing even though you're not sure how you got there.

But I have a broader perspective today. I'm in my mid-forties and I've been in a lot of churches, and I've even spent a few years sitting out of organized religion. I've studied various faiths and philosophies and theologies--and even asked if I needed to do any of this at all--the whole "dust to dust" thing.

And I choose to believe.
Believe something, anyway.

Is there a God in flowy robes?
I don't know, but I do believe there's something beyond us.

Was Jesus a real person--and the Son of God?
I think so. But even if he's a metaphor, or part of his story is metaphor, (people freak out at this, but it helps reveal even more teachings and gain even more insight) I still choose to believe because his words touch me on multiple levels. I "get" the part about loving your neighbor, kingdom of heaven is within, blessed are the merciful...

I've become comfortable with the ambiguous, and I still have a handful of "this I know's" left.

Enough to give me hope.

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

No comments: