Sep 7, 2007

Stumbling around in my soul

Ok, I was going to post this in my own blog, but, eh- that seems like alot of effort when I could post it right here, right now.

One thing that has spurred me personally on this journey to simplicity has been questioning my beliefs. At first it was just questioning the things related to material things. But it has been a deeper rabbit hole than I first expected.

I've found myself for the first time in my life surround by people who don't believe as I do. I would have, in my old thinking, called them simply, NON-Christians. Thus implying somehow that they were non-people. Because thats what I thought.

Why wouldn't you be a Christian? What could possibly be wrong with the way I believe, worship, live?

Well, theres a lot for me to say about all this, but I'm going to give you the Cliff Notes version as I'm just plain tired right now.

Being surrounded by people who haven't been raised in COnservative Christian families has really shaken me. Because they are often much more Christ-like than the Christians I've been around all these years. There is so much honesty, so much ease, so little legalistic drama and ego.

It's freaking me out.

What have I been doing all these years?

Now, don't hear me wrong- I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I know the Spirit dwells in me every moment. I want to follow Christs teachings.

But the whole American Christian culture thing is left me with a resounding "yuck".

So, what am I reading? Where am I headed?

I've read everything Rob Bell has written so far. I feel like Velvet Elvis really started this transformation for me. And his NOOMA videos remind me of whats still RIGHT about Christianity.

I read Dance of the Dissident Daughter, by Sue Monk Kidd. Amazing book. Disturbed me profoundly. She makes some great points, and I was really inspired (or enabled) to search deeper into the roots of what I believe. But, I have to say, I'm still processing a lot of that book as, it was very troubling for me in some ways.

I talked to a Pastor last month about whats going with me. I told him a lot of my friends are Pagan, or at least, kicking the tires on becoming Pagan. I feel like a lot of the Pagan belief resonate with what I've always felt or "known". So, the Pastor suggested I look into the early Christians in Europe- the Celtic people.

I didn't look exactly where he told me too. I read a book called Listening to the Heartbeat of God. It talks about the time where the Celtic people were evangelized and at what point the earth based beliefs where abandoned and the church based beliefs became standard. Very interesting. And still....disturbing for me.

I also read a book called Pagans and Christian by Gus DiZerga. It's written from a Wiccan point of view (yes....GASP...Wiccan). It compares and contrasts Christianity and Pagan beliefs, calling for unity between the two. Very informational. The jury is still out on this one...but it helped me understand what the HECK Wicca is. And I think that's important, since I have a few friends who consider themselves Wiccan.

So next I'm off to read Celtic Christianity. I haven't started yet- I'll let you know.

Some scary territory for a nice closed minded Christian girl. But I know at the end of the day that I'm together with the Holy Spirit. And I am comforted by the songs I've known all my life. Whenever I feel sort of lost I sing:

I life my eyes up, unto the mountain
Where does my help come from
My help comes from you, maker of heaven
Creator of the earth
Oh how I need you Lord you are my only hope
You're my only friend
And so I'll wait for you to come and rescue me
Come and give me life

The photo I submitted here is of a drawing I did for my old church. I have always liked this one in particular. My Jesus. I just want to know who he is.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this entry. It was encouraging to me! Mark and I also have many discussions that sound like this. We still cling to our beliefs in God and His Word. Yet sometimes we question what the "church" is doing and why. Is it so wrong to try a different approach to reaching out to our friends? Or how we live-what does christianity look like?
I usually cringe when people ask me if I am a Christian or even talk about "those Christians." Who knows what they think a Christian is. The church (myself included) has polluted the name and what Christ is all about--love-love Him, love others. Keep following after Him and His truth!
Debbie W

SJ/ The Simple Family said...

I know what you mean. I was raised conserv. Christian (Baptist) and was surrounded by Christian friends growing up.

Now, most of my friends are Athiests or just non-believers. I've become much more liberal in my thought process to the point where I don't feel like we fit in at most churches here.

I'm not too familiar with Paganism or the Celtics, but I believe that you can have a belief in nature and God. God created nature, right?

I just try to live my life and be good to others. Do onto know, all that. I try to be kind and be happy and respect the world.....

I hope you'll find what you want on your journey.

Caren said...


Thanks for sharing some of your spiritual journey with us. I, too, am on a spiritual journey away from conservative Christianity, one that was begun by my parents (my dad rebelled against his fundamentalist upbringing and found out about Christian social justice initiatives such as Sojourners) and my husband and I have continued. I am always encouraged by the Rilke quote, "Live the questions," and that is what I am trying to do. I am always encouraged by reading your blog and knowing that my dh and I are not alone in our journey!

On the Celtic Christians note, I once recommended a book to you on an MDC thread that I'll offer again here: Celtic Daily Prayer by the Northumbria Community, or anything that they have put out. I actually haven't read it, but I have friends who are part of that community who are amazing. Here's the like to the community's website:

Peace to you on your journey, and keep the posts coming!


Anonymous said...

Wow, it's comforting to know that others are on the same journey as myself, trying to figure it all out. I was raised in a conservative christian family, and my family remains this way. I married a catholic, who was strong in the christian faith, but over the years his beliefs changed as he started to question things more, and this caused some marital problems between us. I started to read some books and really work at trying to figure out what I believe, and I'm struggling. I feel almost as though I was brainwashed throughout my childhood, and now the veil is lifting and I can see a little clearer. I believe in God- I know there has to be someone out there. But I'm still discovering what I believe- thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Vicki

Anonymous said...

What a great post, Carolyn! I was raised in a non-religious household, and I have struggled with these same issues for years. I found comfort in something Gandhi said: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians." This is how I feel so much of the time. Good luck to you on this journey.

Matt said...

I love that quote from Ghandi- because I've heard the same from friends. "I like Jesus- but Christians scare me." Someone told me that once- it really shook me.

Anonymous said...

Just be careful that you don't lose your truth, it is easy to be seduced by the other religions of the world such as Paganism and to lose your way from God. Look at Solomon for instance, he was given full wisdom but fell from God. I too hate so much of the hypocrisy I see in many Christian churches but there are many true Christians within them too. Jesus made himself known to me as a teenager. In a moment of terror I heard "Fear Not" and I knew God was with me. I recommend reading the parable about seeds. Some with be choked by the cares of the world, some with have little root, etc. The Bible is truth. Jesus is all that matters. Soon God will come back and all that will matter is our faith in Christ. God bless you!