AbsentApril 27, 2009
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here on this terrestrial ball. For me, writing is connected to spirituality, and lately, I haven’t felt very spiritual, or even like I have anything of value to say. I know my pastor would say that I am going through the “valley of the shadow”. I suppose this is where I find myself, but not in a despondent, depressed, or desperate situation. Let’s say that I’m “in transition”.
Back in December, I wrote about my experience of leaving a job and church that I loved, the way in which that it appeared I was forced out by a new, and interim minister, and the betrayal I felt by the congregation. I admit that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that experience. I’m hurt that so many who greeted me warmly every Sunday morning do not care to know what is happening with me now, do not wish to understand what could have driven me away. I keep asking myself “where is the love that they so freely professed?”
I am reminded that this is not the first time I’ve experienced alienation from a group of Christians. As a matter of fact, recalling the experiences of my parents, other ministers that I’ve worked with in my career as a church musician, and a variety of tales that have been related to me by those who’ve been mistreated at the hands of Christians, I’d have to say that it is the natural condition of churches to destroy its own members, or at least to ostracize those who are “not our kind of people”. Of course, this is done in spite of the clear command in scripture to Love One Another.
I’ve been absent from church services since December. Oh, I’ve gone a few times, but you could count those on the fingers of one hand. Two of those services were to substitute for an organist who needed time off after surgery. We visited a Unitarian church but didn’t quite feel like it met our spiritual needs. I attended my husband’s church but found it lacking of any real substance; it felt like they’d found something that worked at one time and saw no need to review it’s effectiveness. Now they simply continue performing the same empty rites out of obligation.
Where I’m not: I’m not sad, depressed, or suicidal. I’m also not lacking any interest in spiritual things. Despite some snarky comments around Easter in which I may have stated that we should reinstate the practice of feeding Christians to the lions, I have no contempt for those who find spiritual fulfillment in organized Christianity. But I also think I am no longer one of those who can find fulfillment in the church pew.
So yes, I’ve been absent, from here at my blog, as well as at church. Where have I been? I’ve been hanging out with some people that most would consider as being on the fringes of religion, and others would say that they are just plain heathens. That’s ok with me. I’ve learned that those who have been persecuted, those who have lived through painful episodes in life, are the ones with deep insight and compassion. I’m happy to be in their company, they tend to be wise people.
I’m also no longer able to suppress my trust in my own intuition. Since I’ve been paying attention to those subtle urges and thoughts that enter so quickly, I’ve noticed that they are becoming more accurate. It is as if I am becoming more aware of the emotions, motives, and likely actions of the people around me. This awareness gives me clues about how to act and respond in positive ways. I feel as though I am connected to the whole of the universe, including the God that is omnipresent, and so much bigger than the God that is spoken of in the churches I’ve attended in the past.
I hope that I’m not shallow, not trendy, but it seems that I may indeed be what is known as post-christian. I can no longer participate in an organization that routinely does the opposite of its mission statement. I’ve long hesitated to call myself Christian, but that does not mean I have discarded the teachings of Christ. As a matter of fact, I hope I’m able to do a better job of following the great commandment than the Christians who stood silently while their new leader ushered me out the church’s door.