I cant remember the last time i went to church.
I have a lot of reasons why; the laziest and most pathetic is my inability to be a ‘morning person’. As in: ‘Please dont talk to me’. 😉
Not to make light of the situation though. Words cant express my admiration for those people, even slight jealousy towards those that believe the Bible to be a word-for-word truth; I really sincerely wish I did. And to clarify, Im neither a secular person with a cynical bent towards any form of religion. Listening to a preacher reminds me of the grade-school game of sitting in a circle and passing a whisper around till it reaches its origin completely misconstrued. Im not at all implying that this is exactly what has come about, I just can not see myself in a congregational setting. But I do admire the Bible for its metaphors more than the literal; I even receive daily passages in my email inbox in order to read it for the great book that it is.
I used to be very consistent and devout in my habits of prayer and practice. In many areas of my life Ive maintained this without the Sunday ritual of driving to a communal place of worship.
As a child i was so serious in my conviction and simultaneously ashamed of my tomboy rebellious behavior, I was baptised twice, because I thought the first time didnt work! No joke. Let me reiterate: tomboy.
I was also a precocious child and wasnt raised in a religious household; so going on my own foresight I did seek out church early. My first youth director was some reborn Goth dressing, heavy metal listening, devil worshipping freak; of course completely converted to straight-laced suit and tie. He went about teaching through fear. This is the worst type of practice that exist. He also turned out to be the first person that ever let me taste beer and smoke pot. (along with a few others. I know! screwed up right?!) There wasnt a lack of innocence that made me more malleable to a ‘message’ though. Ive always been a skeptic; and Ive always gone by my gut feeling. Something was wrong with this. It only took me two weeks before I stood up in Sunday school to proclaim I’d “never return. Youre a liar. All you teach is the Book of Revelation to scare people into believing.” And I never did go back. I was 11.
I have been to other churches and various places of worship over the years, running the gamut of religious beliefs and practices. I own The Book of Mormon, The Koran and The Boddhisattva, etc..
When i was 12 I remember sitting in meditation. It wasnt anything I read about or heard about or thought too much of prior to the minutes and moments that it occured. I took this as a good sign. It meant to keep the faith. I recognized that I was a spiritual being separate from an outward human shell. Maturity has taught me that these two aspects need to coincide and be as one as much as possible. We should use our lives to show our best selves. I do believe Jesus walked the earth, as well as all the other religious historical figures; and I believe he was the greatest example of this cohesion. We should behave in the like-ness of this God-ness.
Because of human frailty and my own insecurity surrounding my ‘path’, Im hyper-conscientious when people drop the ‘Im a spiritual person’ card; I call them out on it. Oh really?! What do you do in your daily life that puts you more in tune with this? I rarely get a straight answer.
I might not go to church. I might have a big ego that runs most of my days. But i also know where I stand.
My cynicism stems from a logical place. If I were born in India, Id be Hindu. If I were born in China Id be a Buddhist. If I were born in Israel Id be a Jew. This is my argument for stretching ourselves beyond the habit of ‘going to church’ to really Be-ing, behaving and thinking as spiritual BE-ings. Goodness is at the heart of them all.
I dont believe science and religion conflict with one another. A humble physicist will admit that there really isnt a beginning, just as an intellectually honest Christian will admit that the world didnt come about in 7 literal days.
Obviously with this passing Seder and present Easter, Im honing in on these feelings.
May your own best self be with you, Be-ing as God-ly as possible.