How do I believe?

I have spoke here on several occasions how I was having a spiritual crisis and I am not sure that crisis was the right word. It isn’t so much about do I believe or not believe. Instead, my focus is more on what do I believe? And how do I believe? Religion is full of contradictions for me. More specifically, the people that practice religion are full on contradictions and for me that has always been a tough pill to swallow. I know God’s word to be pure. I know those who sometimes speak it struggle (myself included) in that pureness.

I was raised in Catholicism with a strong sense of what it meant to be Catholic. I studied bible verses, went to church and went to VBS/Church Camp and Sunday school when I had the opportunity. When I had the opportunities is the key phrase. I was raised in two separate homes and because of that getting to church was the hard part. Believing in the message at church always came easy. Grandparents, friends and neighbors went out of their way to be sure my sister and I were raised in religion versus the church. There is a clear distinction in that statement for me. I was raised to believe in God. That God would accept me however I came and church was an addendum to that not a requirement of it.

And because of my various exposures to various religions I had awesome opportunities to not only be exposed but to accept that all religions are truly headed for the same goal (yes I know I can likely be contradicted on that in some fashion but for my purpose). Some Sundays were spent at the Catholic church and others were spent at the Baptist or Non-Denomination. I always did the summer church activities, but it was usually at the closest church we lived to at the time. I never placed religion with a label and I think that is so different for others a lot of the time. They see themselves as an extension of their churches and I saw myself as extension of God.

Now here is where I make my proclamation: I don’t know if my beliefs are right. I don’t know if they are always okay with what each of my various churches has taught me. But I do know I have always been okay with being a God lover first and church goer second. I do see the advantages of fellowship and congregation. I have always enjoyed the social aspects of church and the message given I have always felt strong about. But I felt it no matter what church pew I sat in.

Romans 15  Verse 7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

For me though the struggle was that it was fulfilling that social need instead of the spiritual need. A spiritual need that I learned to carry out in my own way through reading of the bible, living it’s word or by admitting I often fall short but it was not from a lack of trying. Maybe those faults lie within me. I am okay with that. I am trying.

As I grew up and became adult and felt more of my social circle become more centered around a church I tried to play the part. I went every Sunday and I participated just like I thought every wife/woman/mother did and should. We had our girls baptized because we truly believe that God does exist and that they needed to know we committed them to that belief that they can later confirm. But what has been fundamentally wrong for me is no part of my religious beliefs are about playing a part, so why muck it up that way?

There’s the rub for me and maybe where I will begin to come off either completely off base or holier than thou. But who I am on Sunday morning is no different than who I am on Saturday night. My relationship to God is so personal and so private, but so meaningful that I don’t believe that I have to change who I am to suit a denomination or church as long as it suits Him.

Job 19 Verse 27 “I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

He is called a father for a reason to me. A father loves us no matter what. I am not perfect and I have no doubts that my actions sometimes don’t further what I believe in my own heart. Accountability is my struggle here. Am I accountable to Him or to a church? Or both? Or maybe it is that I live in a much more conservative town than I was raised in and they see church differently that I do. There is no one thing or person at fault but it is a very gray area for me and one that I struggle making sense of and where my named crisis lies.

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