Nisan 14. AD 2017.
Over the weekend I conducted a marriage ceremony for two friends on the Oregon Coast. We had planned on using a beach setting, but with the windy conditions took the ceremony indoors, to a nearby church called Saint Mary by the Sea. The priest inside, named Larry, took me to the alter where I went through my notes and prepared to conduct my first wedding, as an ordained minister of an online church.
“I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him”-Gandhi
The first time I told my mother I was an atheist, however, she went on a long and somewhat angry rant. In my defense I believe I’ve been pretty consistent with my doubts about religion and a personal god for a long time. I no longer believe in god, and it’s something I’m quite certain about. Perhaps it’s just semantics. I’m a holdout.
When I read scriptures from a bible I found in the storage room of this little church, there was a power and meaning behind them. It was the bible that I carried with me for years in my dry bag when I would go on backcountry rafting trips, or would read in my bivy sack on cliffs overlooking the gulf of Maine. It all started there for me… my entire way of thinking and looking at the world.
I read, while illegally sleeping on a cliff in Acadia National Park, Gandhi’s autobiography, followed by Tolstoy’s “The Kingdom of God is Within You” and in this process I learned that it isn’t about Christianity, it isn’t about religion, it’s about truth… what is true, and what is not. This distinction takes the guess work out of a complex issue. Gandhi said that “a religion is like a mother”, and advised that we try to garner knowledge from religion as it alludes to god.
The bible is notably timeless. I’ve never been interested much in the arguments about what it means as it appears to me to be a purely subjective text. Of course, if it is “inspired by god” then the words of the English language then would need to be capable of such inspiration… this I find somewhat ludicrous… but the terms in the bible, read in English or any other language, capture truths that otherwise would take lifetimes to discover. Ignoring it when it’s available to you (and you have the ability to read, etc.) is idiocy.
So while my relationship to it has waned over the years, I continue to open my old King James version, on occasion, and particularly when I cannot sleep at night. And when I was preparing to conduct a wedding, and I went through the pages to find scriptures (the bride is Christian and requested scriptures be involved) I found myself understanding the meaning, and after my few decades on earth since I was around them more often, I found myself seeing them more clearly, with their meaning being more holistic. It takes time and experience to distill English to truth.
So I’m going to the memorial service at the local outpost in order to honor the belief system which has been a supporting intellectual framework for my life.