I’m not a big church person. I pray, I believe in miracles, I believe in wonder and that unexplainable, unimaginable awe exists above the creational abilities present solely in the minds of men.
I do not believe that there is nothing more once we die. Maybe it’s because I can’t. It’s painful to realize that I will leave Tucker, permanently, one day. I much prefer the idea that I’ll be there, if only in spirit or energy.
I have doubted religion and been disappointed by the fanatics that reside within them for years. For longer than I remember, probably. I recall being in Confirmation class and feeling uncertain whether I was worthy because I did not understand the difference between the Bible saying that Jesus is God’s son and it saying that all of us are His children.
I still don’t completely get that.
I have gone to church. I have felt the connections to one another, and the blessings that come from sharing beliefs. When I found out that my pregnancy was in danger, we went to church. While I was too shy to raise my hand during prayer request, I prayed, and felt that simply being in church gave those prayers an extra boost of volume.
I have been humbled by the community that church can provide.
And been equally appalled by some church’s beliefs. Some have beliefs that focus on hate, judgment, and man presuming to know what God thinks due to a twisted interpretation of a single sentence written in the Bible.
That people use religion to judge fellow man and other religions goes against the whole point of worship the way that I learned it. Certainly Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists all believe in celebrating God, life, and kindness. There are more similarities among these religions than there are differences. Those similarities are what I hold to be the truth. The differences are less significant to me and, in fact, the more detailed the difference, the more fanatical it becomes.
When Presbyterians branch away from other Presbyterians to create a new church that discriminates against gay people is when it’s not working. When any religion focuses on hating a group of fellow humans is when I have to shake my head and feel like we just don’t get it.
My mother-in-law attended a church that I’d dismissed as ignorant and horrible, because they do not believe that God loves gay people. I disagree. Strongly. I think they’re wrong. But they also got some other things right. When she was dying, I witnessed unparalleled acts of kindness. Her multi-cultural community went above and beyond providing prayer and meals. One of her church friends was able to borrow a wheelchair, walked to my mother-in-law’s house, and pushed her to service when she was too weak to walk there on her own. Her funeral was the best that I have been to. It was miraculous and confounding to witness members who truly believe that homosexuality and alcohol are the devil’s tools come together without judgment, hate, or racial discrimination. People who I find to be ignorant, conservative, and prejudiced celebrated her life in a way that I’ve never seen before or since. It was, in its entirety, beautiful.
I suppose my point is that even within religious groups that I do not agree with, there can be overwhelming kindness, compassion, dignity and community. Perhaps that is what is meant by the expression “the duality of man.”
It’s confusing. How can people, who rallied around a congressional member when she was so ill and show such immense acts of kindness, also go to their place of worship and “pray” for the “afflicted” (gay people) to redeem? I don’t get it.
It’s beyond me how any single person or group is able to justify righteousness when all of us are interpreting His word, no matter the book from which we interpret.
We may feel God in our daily lives. Some of us may even feel that we know what he wants us to do with ourselves while we celebrate life on this crazy beautiful planet. But I don’t buy it if you tell me that what he wants you to do is to right the wrong of homosexuality.
In church, I learned that God loves all of us. In life, I learned that judging fellow man will not make you feel more complete. It’ll hollow you out and leave too much room for despair and darkness.
Like I said, I pray, I believe in miracles, I believe in wonder and that unexplainable, unimaginable awe exists above the creational abilities present solely in the minds of men. But I don’t always believe in church. And I certainly don’t believe in hate.
That’s what I learned in church.
That, and that on any day when the pews are crowded and the air conditioner struggling to keep up, somebody near you will fart. It may even be you.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “I learned in church/my place of worship…”
Your lovely hosts:
Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic (Twitter, Facebook)
Can I get another bottle of whine? (Twitter, Facebook)
Mommy, for Real (Twitter, Facebook)
Dawn’s Disaster (Twitter, Facebook)