Sometimes I want to blow the lid off this blog; be so brutally and blatantly honest, that even my A.A. compadres would blush. And the blushing would not be due to raunchiness but because of the ‘rawness’ of it. I feel like such a fraud these days, writing of a faith I am struggling to hold onto, saying I believe things that these days are not always so.
I want to be authentic about my life and where I am spiritually, yet I fear judgment; from where I do not know. Indeed, I am but flesh and blood.
I want to say that the faith that has been an intimate part of my life for 30 years sometimes feels like it’s slipping away, that it is not something I hold either tightly or dearly. Or that the Catholic Church that I entered just five short years ago, along with most Christian doctrine, is leaving me wanting and empty. The faith I profess is 2,000 years old. The Creeds I quote are less than 1,700 years old. The rituals from the Mass, well some of them are less than 600 years old. All things have changed in those time era’s but not religion, not much at least. My faiths seems outdated and dead. In the last few years alone I personally have changed drastically. I change…my mind, my heart, my jobs, my friends, my addictions for recovery, and yes, some of my beliefs.
But God, well, God I know is timeless.
I am wanton to share that most Christians offend me, somewhere along the way the American version of Christianity became a marriage of conservative politics and social causes ensconced in fundamentalist tenets. That is not my faith. But I am also left empty by liberal politics that have all but abandoned their religious inspirations for protecting both the poor and the vulnerable. In truth, the poor and the abandoned, the imprisoned and the broken are the sole responsibility of Christians. But it seems Christians these days are known more for their hate than their love. I fear Jesus would not recognize the people that call him “Lord” if he were reading the papers and visiting the churches.
I am saddened and sickened by most religions these days, if I am to be honest. It seems my faith is fed more by what is outside of its bounds than what is within it.
I am not alone in my disillusionment. A recent NY Times’ bestsellers was a book by Frank Schaeffer (the son of one of the “fathers” of the rise of Conservative Christian political viewpoint) entitled Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God. Then there is the rise of the religiously disillusioned, the “Nones” who according to the Pew Research Centers: “[are a group of] people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics” as well as those who have left the church of their youth while still holding to a deep faith in God, just not in organized religion.
Some days I feel like a “None” – I believe in God, and madly so, but I find most organized religious expression to be pedantic at best, ruled and run by angry zealots who are milquetoast concerned more with doctrine and dogma than compassion, justice and mercy (the weightier matters of the Law according to Jesus, see Matthew 23:23).
I am rambling.
But I am seeking clarity and honesty.
I love Jesus. I mean I am really into (and in) Jesus and the words we have for him on record. You would not know it by stepping into most churches these days but Jesus spoke more about helping the poor, money, loving your enemies and forgiveness than about heaven or hell. And not once did Jesus ever condemn my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Jesus never said “love the sinner but hate the sin” – a diatribe I have a hard time with because I am not so skilled at separating the “sin” from the “so-called sinner.”
The long and the short of it is I am seeing the cracks in the mirror.
My faith is old, and dry. My prayers are empty and seem worthless. The God I professed years ago is no longer the God I turn to in times of trouble or joy; when I do in fact turn to God at all.
The man I see in the mirror, although I know to be a child of God and made in God’s image, is cracked, faltering, burdened with a sense of giving up the faith and on the verge of quitting the ‘good fight.’
Maybe what I am going through (and not around) is a deeper, more authentic way of living; a birthing into the death of childish faith into the reality of the Real. Or maybe just maybe I am spiritually lazy and perpetually defiant, needing to reject something in order to feel powerful about anything.
I don’t know, I just don’t know. I still believe…but I don’t. I have faith, when I don’t. I am one with a God I know longer believe in. I am in the light even more so when I am in this darkness.
I find comfort in the words of the German mystic Meister Eckhart who said it best when he said the following statements (that almost got him burned at the stake!):
“I pray God to make me free of God…”
“If I had a God I could understand, I would no longer consider him God.”