Sunday, 2 September 2012

My battered faith meets the Bible Belt


As I continue my trek around America, I find it to be a land of friends and faith. Faith is a beautiful concept, but not always easy to process by one who's been through spiritual abuse. I blogged about that a few years ago and you can read some of the details here. If you haven't read that, please do so now. I'll wait right here.

Symptoms I’m still dealing with years later: an inability to pray sincerely or at all, including over food; a restlessness in church services, or skipping them entirely; I can't sing most songs in church because I don't mean the words or I dislike that they are not my own.

If I seem to avoid spiritual topics, prayer, etc., please understand that these areas are painful for me to this day. I am forever changed, but I am not dissatisfied.

Not that I hate God or Christians. I mean, I think I still am one, given the fairly reliable report that Jesus doesn't go away unless you tell him to. Let's remember that. What, really, does Jesus in me have to do with any visible religious behaviour? I want to BE like him, not be bound to DO the things his followers have decided are standard for the faith. Make sense?

Groping for ground zero, for a foundation on which to build, I am most comforted by friends who allow me space. Who don't ask me to pray, who don't assume I want to go to church, and if I do go, who won't look askance at me for remaining seated during the singing and scribbling wildly in a small notebook the entire time. In fact, you may have trouble getting me to stop the flow of story in order to get up and leave afterwards. To me, that is a highly spiritual experience and I know dang well where it comes from.

Don't get me wrong - I'm loving my journey here! But please, if I am going to see you soon, I would love for you to understand where I'm coming from on this. And if you forget, and ask me to pray, I'll likely decline. It's nothing personal - just where I am right now. Thank you for extending grace to me.
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