Brief, this will not be. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can make a short story, long. Also, I cannot simply assign a label to appropriately define what I am. I am a product of the sum of my experiences, personality and the pull from the core of my being.
I was brought up to believe in God. Prayers were requests and wish-lists, praise was few if none, and when things went wrong God was at fault. For reasons too many to list, my parents did not belong to a church much past adolescence. So, during my childhood we ‘tried on’ several different sects of Christianity. My parents felt it was important to get my sister and I baptized and they kept trying, but they were repeatedly denied/rejected each time simply for not being and refusing to get married. My sister (age 10) and myself (age 12) were finally baptized at a Catholic church, which we chose because our friend attended there. As a family, we stopped attending within the year when my mother became tired with the Sunday morning arguments preceding Church. My biological father would quote the bible in ways that would suit his purposes and even placed curses on our family using God’s name. As a teen, I wasn’t sure what I believed. I still possessed some basic framework of God and Jesus. I knew I believed in something but what I felt was true, was not the entire plate of what I had been spoon-fed in childhood. The hypocrisy and exclusivity that I observed in the church has always been troubling. But really, who isn’t a little hypocritical and judgmental from time to time? I have been turned off by men of the cloth who answer my questions about finding a church that accepts homosexuals with, “Satanism.” I still tried to go back, trying a Baptist church (based on children’s amenities) but chose not to stay when they ‘Thank(ed) God for the same sex marriage law being over-turned in California.’ Through an outreach program I was lucky enough to find an awesome church family at an awesome United Methodist Church that my family and I could call home for more than 6 years. Currently, I work for another United Methodist Church.
I AM a member of two United Methodist congregations and I call myself a Christian because I do believe in the teachings and miracles of Jesus Christ. I believe in the possibility that the entity we call God embodied Jesus throughout his life, death and resurrection. I believe that the Bible contains a significant number of truths, life-applicable parables, poems, songs, perspectives and historical contexts. I agree with and see immense value in a great majority of Buddhist teachings. I can see wisdom of the histories of the Native peoples of several cultures. I find great peace and solace in the breathing, stretching, and meditation practices of the Eastern hemisphere. I also believe that some of the mysteries of God can be observed (in some way) through science and the observation of the natural and super-natural world. If you must place religious/spiritual labels on me, then I would be a Christian-Methodist-Buddhist-Native-Mystic-Universalist-Scientist.
But most of all, I believe that we were created by an undefinable energy that encapsulates and permeates everything that is, was, or ever will be. It surpasses all human understanding and cannot exist merely within the constraints of the filter of the human brain. My spirituality is the result of years of experience, searching, learning, soul draw, and the resonance of my perspective of what I perceive to be the truth. I believe that we are all connected by the energy that is NOT ONLY our composition but also our connection to one another and the Universe. I AM A HOPEFUL BELIEVER.
*** (I reserve the right to evolve my perspective as time passes and experience is gained. SO DO NOT BOX ME IN) ***