When I was a kid I was at church most everytime the doors were open. My earliest memory of church was attending Sunday School,then refusing to go to children’s worship. I remember sitting in the big people church and telling my grandmother I didn’t feel well. Then I threw up in her purse in the middle of the sermon.
I know of God. I believe I have had a relationship with Him. I’m just not sure how to do that anymore.
When I moved to Florida I left behind a thriving church family. We keep in touch, but it’s not the same, and when I go back it feels different. The church is astronomically bigger now than it was during my Sunday School teacher tenure. They even broadcast online now.
We tried finding a church here, but nothing fit right. I gave up after a while, though I haven’t tried all the churches in town.
A few years ago I started reading Real Live Preacher, just as Gordon Atkinson was about to publish a book of essays. I bought the book and it it still one of my favorites.
One of his essays is about his friend, who is a Rabbi. Mr. Atkinson’s religion tells him that there is only one path to heaven – through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior. (I can’t find that essay, but he wrote something similar here.) Mr. Atkinson is bothered by this because that means his friend the Rabbi won’t go to heaven. Right? I mean, that’s how it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?
I had a discussion with a friend in singles group at the church once. He was having this same struggle, and I told him about the essay, and how the author said something along the lines of: how could there possibly be only one way to heaven, and this was the only one? I agreed with how this preacher felt, and it shook up my view of religion, faith, and God.
I’ve been out of the religion game for a while, but now that I’m in OA, the talk is all about “higher power” and how that doesn’t necessarily have to be God. It can be whomever or whatever you want it to be.
I’m intrigued by this.
It seems everything I touch and read these days is about how religion is a personal experience, a choice. We can take the best bits of everything, and get what we need. There is no right path, because they all lead to the same place.
I love that this theme keeps repeating itself to me.