In the past my religious beliefs were focused on what was right and what was wrong. When I was a fundamental Christian I thought I was right because I believed the Bible was 100% right. When I realized the Bible wasn’t 100% right, my Christianity melted away into unbelief. I then started considering other worldviews, but was still viewing them through the lens of right or wrong. I began to realize that I couldn’t nail down any view as 100% right or wrong. I discovered the term spiritual but not religious and clung to it because it allowed me to embrace my spirituality without subscribing to any particular brand of belief. As time went on I began to hone in on certain aspects of spirituality that were important to me, but I found those aspects in a broad spectrum of religions. Earth-based spirituality particularly resonated with me, as I have always been an earthy sort of person. I felt free to explore spiritual practices that had previously been labeled as evil; I learned much from this exploration and benefited greatly from what I learned. Later I introduced myself to the concept of Unitarian Universalism and felt at home. Again I was not locking myself into any one brand of belief; here I was able to benefit from all beliefs. Over time I languished in the broadness of Unitarian Universalism, though. I will always be a universalist, because I do believe that all people are one and the Divine loves us all the same, but I crave a more specific spiritual path. This is what has led me back to Christianity, albeit a form of Christianity so unlike my previous faith that I hardly recognize it.
Why do I crave this return to Christianity? My reasons are not strictly religious and will probably make many people cringe.
So be it.
Onward. As I explained in my previous post, “If I was willing to look for the Divine within the framework of other faiths and their myths/sacred texts (without the binders of fundamentalism), why am I not willing to do the same for Christianity?” Christianity brings a lot of baggage to the table, including my previous experience with it. I have not forgotten my previous issues with Christianity, but I have worked through them to the point that I am content to move past them. Christianity brings many benefits to the table. It’s no secret that the majority of Americans identify as some form of Christian. Christian churches of varying denominations are found wherever there are people. By contrast, Unitarian Universalist congregations are usually much fewer and farther between. The local UU church does have several young families and a good children’s program, but (as I’ve mentioned before) it hasn’t been quite what I’m looking for in a church. If I choose a progressive Christian church I believe I’m more likely to find what I’m looking for, since church is truly a place of worship in Christianity.
Christianity is the norm, not the exception. I’m familiar with the imagery and the sacred text it’s based on. There is much about Christianity that is beautiful to me. It’s comfortable. As someone who tends to end up on the fringe of society, I’m tired of being the odd man out. I have multiple food restrictions that make eating out almost impossible; I have multiple chronic health conditions that restrict my lifestyle options; and I’m raising a child with special needs who makes getting out very difficult. For once, I just want to be almost normal and able to be involved in an average community of kind, spiritual people. If I need to return to viewing the Divine through the lens of Jesus and Yahweh, that’s fine. For the sake of my boys, I want a distinct spirituality to embrace and a community of people to share the experience with. I’m comfortable with teaching them how much Jesus loves the little children and reading Bible stories together. I won’t be teaching them an inerrant view of Scripture, though. I will teach them a universalist version of Christianity that focuses on love and peace. When they ask why the God of the Old Testament was so violent and harsh, I’m comfortable explaining that that was how people lived when that text was written – all the old mythologies from around the world tell of similarly behaved divinity. When they ask me questions I can’t answer about the Divine, I will not feel the need to say “God’s ways are not man’s ways” or any of the other cliched lines I heard as a fundamentalist. The Bible is not the answer to everything and it doesn’t need to be.
That’s all for now.