I guess the benefit of having been ‘around’ the church circuit is that you come to see that everyone has a “way” of expressing their spirituality. I searched high & low for truth. It started when, upon my eve of my confirmation in the Catholic Church, and under the influence of a friend’s family at the time, I decided to walk away from my family’s church and seek real “salvation” through a pentecostal experience. It was difficult, but my family was always very supportive of my decisions. The seemingly ultimate truths of the Pentecostal experience didn’t stick, truth wasn’t there… I found myself at an interdenominational church. By then, I’d seen both ends of the christian continuum, it only made logical sense – if Christianity can be so widely expressed, a all accepting approach must be where truth is. Then the pastor put his hand upon my shoulder (I have a neurological disease) and told me to stop moving in the name of Jesus. When I tensed up, he reiterated “now you stop.” Sitting through a alter call was seen as inappropriate. If you didn’t feel to go, you were publicly guilted to the front. And, did you know that tithes are an indicator for good health? Interdenominational… still no truth.
After a lengthy break, a colleague introduced me to a church who she described as avant-garde, willing to accept progress, with a woman on the lead pastoral team. It sounded great, and I was surrounded by well-intentioned people who look really happy on Sundays. But it felt like church suburbia. Lots of the pretty, not so much truth. When I tried to discuss a feminist principle about the value of women’s work, I was shunned, in a small group setting. Bahhh, truth?
Having bounced from one spiritual experience to the other, I’ve come to understand – the only truth I can feel… humans are connected, they need each other and they need to feel like there is something bigger than themselves (most of them!). The unfortunate thing about religion (not excluding Christianity) is that it takes what “is” truth – every human being is divinely created and has a story and it divides it all up. Even Christians can’t agree on how to celebrate their divinity. And it’s exclusive. You’re either in or out. When I was christian, there were only 2 types of people, Christians, and those who aren’t Christians yet. So you’re either like me, or not.
This is the truth that I have discovered, for myself. The only religion that recognizes the divine in everyone is no religion at all… then I started feeling God’s presence like I’d never felt her before.