Dear lovely people. This is something I have wanted to write about for months, but just haven't had the guts to. I'm writing it now because there are assumptions made that I am tired of, and I don't want to have 300 separate discussions about a decision I have made in my personal life. I don't want your pity, your worry and concern, or your tears. All I want, for me and for anyone who will read this, is to have open minds, be accepting and loving, and respect my life choices.
I am no longer a 'Christian'.
That is not to say that I do not believe in Jesus as a divine manifestation who walked this earth 2000 years ago.
That is not to say that I do not believe in Grace, and Mercy, and Integrity, and Faith.
And it is not to say that I do not believe in a way of life that says "love your neighbour as you love yourself, give to the poor and the needy, look after this planet that is a gift we must protect".
I am not a Christian. Because I believe all of those things and more. Because I believe that if you can believe in people being raised from the dead, and oceans being turned into roads, then you can't draw a line. Well I can't anyway. I can't draw a line between this and that and say that I'll believe all of these supernatural things that I was brought up to believe, but not believe anything else.
To call myself a Christian would be a straight-out disservice to myself, and to those who are Christian. THAT would be something to take offense over.
I believe that we are all flesh and blood, sacs of organs and bones, and at the same time, I believe that we are divine beings, that we are fundamentally made of that same stuff that the very stars and moon are made of, and thus we are powerful, magical and limitless. Our minds, which can be explained and deconstructed down to the smallest cells of brain matter, are capable of both monstrous and miraculous things. Humankind is inherently good, not evil, and we have a spark of starlight in us all that lights our paths and shows us our own way to go. I don't believe in God any more, I believe in gods. I believe in Mother God(goddess). I believe in Spirit and in light.
I can not go to church any more because that building is too small for me. My personal problems with church stem from not only hurts suffered at the hands of people I believed in and loved(yes, yes, I know I should have been believing and loving God instead, but when you can't hear, see or feel a thing, you believe and love the representative of that, eg your church leaders and mentors), but from hurt as a woman, as part of womankind, suffered by all women throughout the history of the church, and indeed most religious, patriarchal societies. 'Church' and all similar religious institutions, categorically continue to impose stereotypical gender roles(which oppresses not only the women, but the men, and of course the entire LGBTQ+ community) that brave women fought to overcome many years ago. Even our modern-day Western, secular society still perpetuates these oppressive ideals through many many layers of cultural conditioning and media, but 'church'(and temple, mosque etc) are even a few steps behind that. I would love to write a whole essay one day on how the church hates women, but that will have to wait.
When I say I can not go to church any more, that is not to say that I am afraid of churches, or angry at them. If you invite me to your child's dedication, baptism or bar mitzvah I'll be there with bells on. Don't be afraid to mention church, God, or your faith, in conversation with me. This is about my personal journey of belief, not about any condemnation or judgement of you. If you are genuinely happy and joy-filled by your church attendance, and genuinely feel a sense of connection to a Judeo-Christian God, don't get me wrong; I am so happy for you!
At this present time, I don't want to belong to a religion. I am so tired, bone-weary tired, of being told what to believe and what to do and how to feel. I am so over being the odd one out, the outsider, loner and weirdo, standing at the back of church shifting from one foot to the other, wondering why I didn't feel anything that everyone else felt. And now that I've realised that I don't have to keep pretending that any more, it's incredibly liberating.
Now I am on my Own Heart's Journey. I am actively looking, seeking, hearing. I have both eyes wide open, and it's exhilarating. The world is in the palm of my hand! I am finding all the things that resonate with me, that fill me with pure glee, and make my heart sing! And they are not things that I could ever find in a religion that was laid out for me by someone else, by a man or men who have dictated how my life should be. I am seeing things that I would never have seen, if I didn't know there was more to life!!! More, more, more! I am greedy now, consuming books and texts and articles, gazing at pictures that light up parts of my brain that were never allowed to light up before! For the first time since I was a child, I am allowing myself to explore faith and belief and spirituality from all different angles.
(Yes, it's mostly buddhist/new-age/hippy stuff, if you want a name to it. I just don't want to jump from one box into another right now, so I'm not putting a name on it.)
It is a miraculous journey, and I am truly happy to be on it. My only fear is that those who love and care for me will be hurt, angry or hurtful in their reactions.