Friday, September 30, 2011

Let Go of My Soul (Spiritual Journey Part 1)

I think I’ve been avoiding talking about God on my blog. I don’t want to misrepresent myself. My beliefs change almost every day. 5 years ago I was a fundamentalist, yesterday I was an atheist, tomorrow I may be a Buddhist. This journey has been painful, liberating, intriguing, and confusing, and it is far from over. Part of me wants to wait until I know what I believe before I write about it, but it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else who has ever walked this path. So I’m finally going to write about the things that are bursting the seams of my mind, and the events that led me to where I am now.

My brother in law graduated high school in May of this year. Husband and I were at the grad party late into the night sitting around the bon-fire with Brother and his friends. These guys had just graduated “Someplace Christian High School” and their conversation represented everything that upsets me. They were chatting about how they “hated fags,” and “dikes in the military.” They used inappropriate derogatory terms to describe the girls they know. I’ve spent enough time around guys to know how they talk, but some of the things these boys said were just too much. I was angry at their senselessness. The undertone of their conversation was pride. They were great kids and they knew it. They talked about everybody else they were dirt.

Obviously these boys don’t represent the entire Christian community, but their attitude of self- righteousness was all too familiar too me. I started to see it everywhere; pastors, relatives, friends, all these Christians who judged and labeled and ignored. This was when I began to see that religion and personal morality did not go together. I believe it is wrong to hurt or discriminate against people. But if I chose to be a Christian like my friends, I would be forced to ignore my belief and vote against the repeal of "don’t ask don’t tell." 

Why is God so judgmental? Why is he so cruel? It wasn’t long before words like “Holy” and “judgment” “sinner” started making my skin crawl. I was angry with God. For the first time I was able to say it out loud. I would rant at my bewildered Husband about how selfish and vile God was. As my anger died down, I began to hope that maybe he just didn’t exist…

When I first started admitting that I struggled with the concept of God, it was very hard on my husband. God represents everything good in his life, and here I was bashing Him on a regular basis. We fought about it a lot at first. He pressured me a little, sometimes a lot, I think he felt like I was running headfirst off a cliff. It hurt me more than anything to think that my struggles with God were driving a wedge between us. We spent many nights hopelessly holding each other and crying, neither one knowing how to fix all this hurt. Slowly however, I learned to be sensitive to him and not so aggressive. He learned to let go of my soul and just hold on to my heart.

In church one day, the pastor talked about growing up in a home where God is used to hurt. He talked about his own struggles with faith. With tears in his eyes, he promised the congregation that God loved them and wanted to know them. That God was patient and empathetic. I cried through the whole last 20 minutes. I couldn’t stop myself. The tears just kept pouring down my face. Not because I felt particularly close to God, but because another human being had been where I was now, and he was telling me that it was going to be okay. That day I made a deal with God. If he would be patient with me, and love me, and show me who he is, then I would listen, and I would let him teach me.

And so I made peace with my “god” and peace with my husband. And for the first time in years, I was able to rest. I read a little, I blogged a little, and I let my heart rest. I stopped trying to fight my feelings of anger and sadness. I stopped trying to ignore the things that I secretly thought were good. I stopped forcing myself to think, and finally let myself feel. Of course anyone who knows me, knows that I can never rest for long…………

…………To Be Continued

(Next time I’ll talk about where I’m at now and what has helped me get here!)




    All Christians aren't homophobic jerks. My daughter is in the military, and 70% of the rank and file told command they have no problem with gays serving. Many if not most of those people are Christian by self-definition. Some Christians are gay themselves. Some, like me, are just anti-hatred and bigotry, and that's what turned our opinions away from following the religious right.

    Evangelical Christianity is a big business in my country. The last thirty years the church has been sleeping around with money and politics, and in doing so has become very unfaithful to the teachings of Jesus.

    I don't want to be a Christian who votes anti-gay, but even worse, I mourn that people have come to believe (and teach) that being a Christian demands you vote anti-gay.

    I just want to follow Jesus. Maybe that needs a new name to distinguish that from what Lewis calls bibliolators. If you think of an appropriate title, let me know.

  2. this made me cry.

    i'm glad you chose to write the journey, even if you change your thoughts tomorrow.

  3. I used to get very upset with Mark for saying he hates God. Not even because I thought he had no right to; I've struggled with hating God for what Mark has been through. It was more that I was afraid something awful would happen if he talked that way.
    Lately I don't get upset any more. I have come to the conclusion that God can handle being hated; He doesn't need me to defend Him. And Mark has to work through this with God on his own.

  4. It is so scary to sort through it all. I'm proud of you for doing it.

  5. "He learned to let go of my soul and just hold on to my heart." There's a real man. That is the absolute hardest thing on earth to do...possibly because it's the best. I truly believe that's the clearest and highest form of the love of Christ that a person can ever show to another. Well done!

    Somebody mentioned it already, but reading this made me cry as well. It was like looking in a mirror. Well written; fantastic translation of thoughts to paper here.