I grew up Catholic…I was baptised as an infant, had my first communion in second grade, had my confirmation in 8th grade, and was very involved in my high school youth group and served as a youth group servant leader. Then I went to college and my eyes opened up to a whole new world of ideas. I realized that I never really questioned much, that I just accepted everything for face value. I also realized that my Biblical knowledge was extremely surface based and the prayers had become just things I memorized but didn’t really feel and understand.
I started to study religions of the world as an adult. I took courses such as Native American Studies where I learned about the Spirit world in a much different way than I did when I was growing up. I learned about Eastern Religions; Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, Judaism…I learned more about Christianity through my History courses…It was crazy how much violence and destruction was done in the name of religion. I learned about Martin Luther and John Calvin, about the power placed in the hands of the Pope, and how Church dominated the government for so many years. It started to make me rethink my religious upbringing…instead of just swallowing everything I had been spoon fed, I told myself I would start thinking for myself and forming my own ideas about what I was learning and reading…
This led me to a very interesting phase of my spiritual life, I felt very connected to God, without the confinement of explaining what that meant…it didn’t have to fit into any religion, but it was inevitable to me that there was a creator watching over me. I do remember my Eastern Religons professor telling me that I couldn’t just choose a little bit of each religion and make it my own sort of thing, that I should choose one and just try to follow it as well as I could. I didn’t like that response…and it kind of caused me to be in a bit of a spiritual slump.
Then I worked for a Christian company when we lived in Portland and felt more pulled to my Christian roots. I enjoyed the sisterhood I had with my female co-workers, having morning prayer, being able to have people around me who didn’t gossip, who had similar values, who were simply put good kind people. We didn’t go to church and we weren’t involved in any couples small groups, which tends to be very common in Christian circles. Then it seemed that the closer I got to being that hardcore Christian woman, the more I felt myself creeping away again…I don’t know really how to explain it, but it felt so structured and like there was a mold we as a family had to fit in and we didn’t really fit it. I started to read more about Buddhism again and trying to simply focus on being a good person, kind to myself, kind to others, kind to my environment and kind to the world as best as I could.
Since then, we have moved back to California and my Spirituality is still somewhat hard to explain. The only thing I have always known in my heart to be certain is that their is a God, and that there is a greater plan out there. I believe in Jesus, but I prefer to pray to God…I feel like the Bible is an extremely valuable text but at the same time, it sometimes causes me a bit of confusion. I learned about how there were many books that could have made it into the bible, but that only certain ones did…that these were the ones chosen at the time to be the most beneficial for mankind to use as a guide. That in itself causes me to think twice because religion was partly a structure that was in place to control the people…just research the Crusades and Roman History…The Dead Sea Scrolls and the lost gospels of Thomas also make me look at things a little differently…I guess, to make wrap this up, the Bible is an extremely useful tool, but I don’t feel like I need to know everything about everyone…I just have faith that there is a God who loves me, who has given me a certain purpose in this life…all religions in general have many core principals, and they all tend to surround the golden rule of treating people how you want to be treated.
I feel like I am beginning to ramble a bit? I want to be open minded…I want to feel like all people can know God and have a relationship with God, that they can all feel loved and then continue to radiate that love outward. I am not sure if there is only one direct path, or if my professor from way back was right when he said just pick one and try and follow it as best as I can…in that light, my path is Christianity, but in a less structured more Buddhist inspired way…That might not make much sense…but I will elaborate more later…