Religion is a awkward subject for me. I went to church when I was younger, but never really felt comfortable talking about faith. My parents and I went to church every Sunday until I was 9 years old. After that, I started playing sports and I had to be at certain places early Sunday mornings. Since then, we haven't gone back. This is not because we didn't feel welcome or didn't have the time, we just didn't go back. My parents and I haven't talked about religion other than in the political sense since I was about 12.
It wasn't until I was 13 or 14 I no longer felt welcomed by any church. Many people like me are ran out of churches because we love differently. Or we are told loving who we love is a "sin" and we are going to hell. But everyone sins, no matter what kind it is, that's just human nature. When people ask me if I believe in God, I say no, because what "higher power" would create a world with so much destruction around religion when many religious texts preach the same things just using a different language. What "higher power" would tell you hate me just because I am different? What about "love thy neighbor"? Do these not apply to someone like me? Many people in the LGBTQIA community no longer feel welcome in churches. Many have given up religion all together regardless of what they believe. Doesn't seem right to me.
Pure Love, the sweetest of souls, sweetest of Angels, Big Mighty Warriors, Strong, Protection & Strength. I am a Christian, Love of God. Surrounding me at all times. He’s up high very high. I love God’s word, His Beautiful magical creation. there’s no depth to how beautiful. I’m so thankful. We all are. Thank you God your way is my only way, God thank you for loving me every step of the way.
Celtic Seers could read the clouds
As tea leaves within that still warmed cup
From births pains and babies to funeral shrouds
The images revealed fate, free will and luck
Questions and prayers from soft silenced lips
On loves to be thought to be purer than most
Chasing victories, desires, battles and trips
Seeking comforts, glory and of conquests to boast
When next you stretch out upon the fragrant hills
Allow your eyes to truly see and your mind to full unwind
Spiritual presence of Celtics and clouds can guide your free will
As it has been from the beginning and will be for all time
A Song For My Belief And No More!
Some think and burn:
Here for now, gone tomorrow
Take note of this curious dance,
They keep on thinking,
they're so thorough,
But we're here living only once.
People wait in lines,
In a bank, or an airport
Go to lengths and through distance,
Their eyes, red, as they crawl,
No depths of coffee can confort,
'Cause we're here living only once.
We're here living only once,
When we're a 'Were' we are nought.
Here we are, gone tomorow,
So let's not waste , what we've got.
What's it for? Why just once?
Could it be a gross miscount?
How should i look at the glass?
Drink so they dont need to worry.
What is left's may not amount,
Here we're living just once.
When I was a girl, my God was a kind God, a benevolent God. My mother taught me that our God loved all, that our God was made of pure light, life, and energy. My mother taught me that the universe was energetic, that we each have a soul within us, that we are more than what we are. When I was a girl, I spoke with that God, I sang to that God, I trusted that God with all my heart, with that trust particular to children, a wholehearted trust, a devout trust.
When I was a young adult, my indecision permeated my spirituality. I was a skeptic believer, a believing skeptic—perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps there's a God or perhaps there are gods, perhaps there's more to this world than meets the eye. Perhaps there's some metaphysical realm beyond our own, perhaps there's a heaven, perhaps there's a hell. Without proof, how could anyone be sure? Without proof, how could I be sure? Some people take a leap of faith, but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground, firmly planted, secure. Some people take a leap of faith, but I am afraid of heights.
When I grew older, my skepticism enveloped me. How could I believe without evidence, why should I believe without reason? I knew that I did not know what I did not know, but knowledge is power and power is not easily won. I allowed for the possibility of the metaphysical, the magical, I arrived at a firm neutrality regarding religion. I hated religion for the interpersonal harm it caused, for the battles it sparked, but I loved religion for the hope it gave to the hopeless, for the strength it gave to the weak.
When I grew older still, my opinions shifted toward severity, the moral calculus inside my head carried me to where I am today. I do not know if there is a God, if there are gods, if there is more than meets the eye. I do not know if we have souls, if we have spirits, if we live in an energetic universe. I do not know, no one knows. How could I know, how could they know?
I do not know, and I cannot make decisions founded upon uncertainty. Knowledge is power and power ought to be built slowly, built surely, built respectfully and with care. I do not know and I cannot sympathize with decisions that harm humans for the sake of a supernatural deity. I do not know, and neither does anyone else, and I respect everyone's right to believe in what they wish, so long as they cause no harm to others.
I do know that I love humanity. I do know that I am fascinated by human potential, amazed by human capability. I feel great sorrow at the human ability for cruelty and harm, I feel great hope at the human ability for compassion and kindness. I am not an atheist, not quite. I am simply unsure and cautious, an indecisive agent with rational values and a great care for living beings.
I do not need spiritual salvation, for I have found my religion in the warm embrace between lovers, the laughter shared between friends, the connections between family, the feeling of belonging. I have found my spirituality in the momentary eye contact I share with strangers, in the peculiar and wonderful realization that every person has their own life, their own story.
I will live and love this life I have, I will be kind and caring, I will make decisions based on my understanding of humanity, I will honor justice and fairness and equality. I don't need religion to be moral, all I need is the knowledge that I am not alone and that my actions have consequences for others. I will live my life morally, ethically, happily.
After, my heart will no longer beat, my veins will no longer pump blood throughout my body. My neurons will no longer fire, my body will no longer digest. My eyes will no longer see, my ears will no longer hear. I will shut my eyes and slip away into oblivion. I will cease to exist. There is neither heaven nor hell, neither afterlife nor reincarnation—not for me, anyway. Maybe there is a new world for those who wish it, but the end I hope for is a quiet end, a peaceful end.
May we all find the peace we desire.
Slowly waking up from a dismal world into a place of peace. Ah peace. Peace is not quiet, just the result of blowing up all the mess between me and God. To get to peace, I've had to walk through all the vacancy and peril painted up and down my past. I wanted it ignored. I wanted my sins to disappear.
Nailed to a cross, and the mess still lingers? Perhaps I missed something. Ah yes, I've spent a lot of time trying to pull them off the wood and stuff them back into my life. At least God's not just one man.
First He made me. Then He threw His life between me and death. And now...
Now is the hang-up. I'm still a mess, and I shouldn't be. Should I? Well, there's one more part of God, the One that's stuck around to pull the crap off of that I've insisted on wearing. He won't strip the strife without permission though. So I have to mend this cruddy relationship with me, too!
And there's another rub. I really am not always my biggest fan. In fact, I've avoided my soul as if it's paparazzi and I've misbehaved in the spotlight. So I snuggle into a dark shadow where I think I'll die alone. Alone from myself and from God.
Then? A nightlight comes on. No one makes me leave the shadows, but the Light lingers softly, changing the length of shadows until I finally feel ready to move again. But where can I go? I feel like I've burned all that was once green and good in my life.
He offers a hand, and says He'll take me to a new land. One I haven't marred. A place I can't dream of, control, or contrive. My rap sheet of wrongs will melt as we get closer, and He'll give me something nicer to wear.
I guess I'll go. I'm so curious.
What is your relationship with religion?
I think I wanted to be saved as a child. I didn't have peace for my soul, though, and my teenage self knew it. I desired it. I wanted to be saved. I wanted to know I was saved.
I grew up going to church. I hated going sometimes as a child. I remember I wanted to play on the computer rather than go, and that theme would reoccur throughout my life. I don't believe I was saved back then.
When I became a teen, I realized I wasn't sure I was saved. All you had to do to be saved was say a little prayer. I said things, but I didn't truly understand them. I knew I had done wrong. In my secret life as a preteen and teen I was involved in reading and writing all kinds of sinful things. It was enticing. It drew me in. It killed me spiritually.
I felt like I was saved, so I believed I was. Whatever doubts I had, I disregarded and still went to church anyway, but only on Wednesday evenings when it was convenient. I went to see my friends. I didn't go for God. I didn't go for Jesus. I didn't go to hear the gospel preached.
It wasn't. Not in my youth group that eventually disbanded and there were a few attempts here and there to revive it, but all of those friends went off to their lives.
I remember at some point in high school we had a women's ministry, and usually we would have one person give their testimony of how God saved them. I knew in my heart I didn't have one. I knew I had said a prayer and believed I was saved, yet I was living like the devil. I didn't go to church much in those days. I didn't read my Bible. I was reading and writing stories filled with sin. All of my thoughts, words, and deeds were full of sin and I didn't care to change. I loved my sin. It helped me get through the roughest parts of my life.
I stopped going at all in my senior year of high school. I was too busy. I spent almost all my time at home with my online friends who were not godly influences.
By the end of 2016 and going into early 2017, I decided to start going back. That December my church was doing Christmas movie nights so I eased myself in with that. I started wanting to live the life I knew I was supposed to live as a Christian. I wasn't all the way there, but church felt like a start.
I started my first job out of high school and I was going to church and I was just trying to be a nice person and maybe someone would ask me if I was a Christian. No one ever did. The most I ever talked about Christianity at church was when I told an old manager that I didn't enjoy working Saturday evenings because I had to get up early in the morning on Sundays. I remember she said she used to. I wonder what she's up to now.
I got rebaptized. I knew when I got baptized at 11 or 12 that I didn't know exactly what I was doing. The night I got baptized I was up until four am. I began watching Degrassi and that show was full of plenty of things my preteen self wasn't really ready to handle. I refused to let it go even when my then youth pastor warned me against it.
After getting rebaptized at 19, a coworker started showing interest in me. I remember the day I got the gift of tongues and he said he noticed something different about me. I don't think I truly got the gift and I think it was just a counterfeit, which Satan is able to do only because God gives him power to do so. I haven't used it in years.
So this coworker. I remember I prayed for a boyfriend. I had no discernment. I committed the sexual immorality that I never thought I was capable of, but at the time, I wanted to be capable of it.
After this, I became horribly depressed. I was full of shame and despair. At that time, I thought I was beyond hope of salvation. I don't remember when I found out about apostacy, but I know that sent me into great despair. It meant I was godless, like Esau, beyond repentance. It meant my life would only glorify God as a vessel of wrath. It meant I had committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and I could not come back to God. It terrified me.
I sat in church and when the pastor would give the altar call, I wouldn't raise my hand. I thought I could not be saved. I thought I was saved, so how could I not be saved? But I could no longer convince myself that I was saved and I was full of shame.
I thought I would feel better if I did this discipleship class, which, fyi, an 8 week Saturday morning only class is not true, biblical discipleship. I thought doing works would help cover up my sin and my shame. It didn't.
A few months after that class ended, it was February of 2019, and I had reached a point where I did not want to doubt my salvation anymore. I had no peace for my soul, so I decided I finally would admit, even though I had taken this class, that I was not sure I was saved. It did not give me the peace I was searching for. I wasn't even sure I was saved afterward since I didn't feel it.
So I said the sinner's prayer in front of my whole church. At the time, a ministry who had no building of its own had been coming to my church since the middle of that discipleship class. They had started going through the gospel of John at a Bible study at one of their houses. I made it out to one a few weeks later. And the woman leading it gave her testimony and I wept. I didn't know why, but I knew it was what I needed to hear. It was the story of the woman at the well, a woman who had engaged in much sexual immorality and yet, Jesus came to her. He evangelized to this Gentile woman whom the Jews looked upon in disgust because she was a Samaritan.
As I'm writing this, I can see God's sovereign hand in this season of my life. How even though I was trying to work my way back to God, He knew that's not what I really needed. God was so gracious and so patient with me and he has been these past few years. He knew that wasn't what was going to work, and He knew I needed the gospel and people who would lovingly give me the truth and point me back to Jesus Christ and the gospel on a consistent basis. He was drawing me to himself through the truth that I am a sinner, I have sinned horribly against him, I've broken his law, the 10 Commandments, and I have to stand before God when I die on judgement day. My good works would have been filthy and a stench before him and could not have saved me and Jesus would have said to me, "Depart from me, you worker of lawlessness." Sin is lawlessness.
However, God offered his only, begotten Son as a sacrifice for my sins. The propitiation, the only acceptable sacrifice. Jesus went WILLINGLY to the cross!! He laid down his own will and only did the Father's Will. He lived the life I cannot live of perfect holiness and love. He was flogged and whipped and beaten and mocked and made to carry his own cross. His own people rejected him and condemned him and he was murdered. They murdered him! His sin against them was blasphemy, but Jesus is God, so what he said was not blasphemy but the truth. He bore my sins, all of them, the full weight of God's wrath was on him and he took no pain killers. It is finished! My sin debt has been paid. He endured the shame of the cross for me and all who repent and believe. He was buried. He is alive!!!!!
All Christians have victory over sin! We have power and dominion over it and we don't have to walk in it anymore!! Romans 6! God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness. His Spirit, the word, prayer, and fellow Christians. <3
These days my prayer to God is, "If I'm not saved, please save me. If I'm trusting my works, please change the object of my faith to Jesus Christ. If I am saved, please give me biblical assurance."
Religion doesn't save. Jesus Christ does. And that's my current relationship with religion.
I have not felt what I am supposed to feel
I am supposed to feel a burning, a knowing that it is true. I spent two years of my life teaching others about my faith and how they can be happy and find joy in life through the faith of my parents. I studied and graduated from a university formed and supported by my little christian faith. I have benefited greatly from my faith and its emphasis on families. I do not if it is true, but I don't really know if I have a purpose without my faith.
As I was growing up, my faith always gave me the next few steps in life that I had to take, but know that is done. Mostly. The path started by doing while in sunday school and listening to the gospel teachings of the christian bible, and the other important texts in our faith. Then there were ordinances, around eight of them, that I received as I reached certain ages. After that was the two-year period of service that I needed to perform for others elsewhere in the world. Some of my siblings, for I had many, had already began and finished this service period in countries far away, other siblings served after me. It was a rite of passage that I performed willingly, at times second guessing myself; wondering if I was worthy of it. The question of worthiness being there because of issues of self-mastery I had had growing up, trying to deal with my growing body and the associated feelings. College was a rite of passage as well, a rite that I performed well. Now, I am done and already furthering my education to a deeper level, paying more this time, and hoping that it would be worthwhile. At times I fear that it will not.
My upbringing twists and contorts how I view the world, it always will, but, while the church's teachings do a lot of good in the world, I do not know if it is true. The supposed final two steps of life that the church puts forth are marriage for life, and staying true to the path until the end. I am supposed to find a wife, one in the same faith is best, and get married and have kids. I want to do this, but I do not went to have a bride just because it is breeding season, because I need to check off a box. Furthermore, how can I find wife in the faith that is fine with my questions and apprehensions about our faith. How would she look at my many failings in following the faith's commands. On the other hand, if I have am able to love outside my faith, how would it turn out? My faith's standards do make sense, mostly, should I hold her to the same standards as I hold myself.
I was taught as I grew up, that I will receive this feeling of goodness when I know that my faith is true. It will happen as I study his word, but so far it has not happended. How long should I wait?