Monday, September 8, 2008

the First Un-United Church of Flushable Faith

In this small town, north of Dallas, people always ask me what church I go to.

They don't ask IF I go to church...they ask WHICH church.

I answer that I don't go to church.




And, I'm met with silence.

I think I need a more witty response.

Perhaps I should tell them I'm a follower of the Church of Flushable Faith.

What do I mean by this?

I found religion in the bathroom at age three. I asked Jesus into my heart while on the crapper.


You see, I grew up in an agnostic household but attended parochial private schools my whole life.

My extremely religious grandmother took me to church when I stayed with her. It was on her toilet that I "found" religion. She turned it on pretty heavily when I visited her over the summer or holidays. I think maybe she came on too strong, because...

...when I gained a few more years of maturity under my belt, I changed my mind.

This was due in part to the fact that I was informed my parents wouldn't be admitted to heaven if they didn't accept Jesus into their hearts. WHY, I cried. Why? My parents were good people. They were fair and just. They deserved to go to heaven too. It didn't make sense. So I left Jesus behind. He didn't fit into the way I saw things.

I have since learned religion comes in all shapes and sizes, people believe different things and interpret things all ways. BUT, the biggest problem I have is with faith. How do all these people have it? Are they just stupid to blindly believe, or are they smarter than I am & get something I don't?

I don't know.

I have no answers.



I want to believe. It'd be nice to have a cushion around death. Is that what drives people to Faith? The desire for an explanation, security, a surefire afterlife?


How do you believe in something you can't see, or feel, or touch? I believe in Gravity. I see proof of its results. Can you convince me of your faith?

I am tolerant of most religions and respectful of people's beliefs...but I don't completely get it.

What do you believe? How do you BELIEVE IT? What clenched the deal for you?

58 comments:

Living on the Spit said...

Hmmm, I must ponder this question for a while before I try to answer it...you know my answer will always be something different and random, but always from the heart...I will be back on this.

Kat said...

We didn't go to church when I was little. Until 4th grade when I was sent to Catholic school. And then my family joined the Catholic faith. Except my dad who got to sleep in on Sunday mornings. It seemed rather random to me. We went to church until I turned 13 - which was right after confirmation.

I didn't go to church again until I had met Michael. We both had that Catholic background. And wanted to try something new. We went to a Lutheran church - kind of Catholic light. And there was not a literal interpretation of the bible.

As far as faith goes...let me just say that I am FULL of doubts. But one thing that I am sure of is God. A creator. There is so much beauty. Symmetry. Miracles in life. I just can't believe it's all haphazard. And that there is no point or purpose.

One of the very few verses in the bible that I do know is from Matthew - about having faith - even if it's only the size of a mustard seed. Just that tiny bit. And a lot of times. That is all I have.

Cristin said...

Ooooh, the RELIGION post. I've been pondering tackling this one too.

I didn't grow up Christian, am still not one. I went to Catholic High school and college.

I majored in Philosophy and found the Tao. It's not so much a Religion, but more a way of looking at the world. It doesn't ask for blind faith, it doesn't ask for much at all other than seeing what is and trusting the natural flow of things.

Works for me.

nottryingforaboy said...

I'm right there with you, sista! I grew up Catholic, currently am church-going, and sending my kids to a Catholic school...but...

I just don't subscribe to everything the Catholic church teaches. And probably a lot of other religions too. I think, for me, being a church member is more being part of a community instead of blinding following a doctrine. While I don't agree to it all (don't get me started on priests marrying, women priests, abortion, I could go on and on) it is important to me that my children do grow up in a religion like I did.

Does that make me a hypocrite? I'm sure some would say yes, but I'm comfortable with that.

Jen said...

Wow, deep stuff. I don't know what to say. I am going to think and come back.

CrystalChick said...

WOW, Rhea!! Starting off the week with a BANG!

Where to even start....
well, my Mom was a full on practicing Catholic and when she was dying we made sure she had certain things... annointings, last rites, full Mass and burial. My father converted to Catholicism after my Mom died and also was given the full treatment at his death, eulogized by the Monsignor even. They never ever ever pushed any religious belief on us as kids. We went to public school and were told if interested they would take us to church. My sister ended up going on to participate in organized religion. She first became a Catholic, and is now Episcopalian. I think. We aren't so close any more. All that religion got her feeling she was better than I was. Well, we did have a situation happen after my Dad died and couldn't get past it but it didn't deal with the church or anything. I use the little dig at religion because I'm not so thrilled with the lack of forgiveness and understanding and tolerance in most of them.

I like to read about concepts of God, Gods, Goddesses, Buddha, etc. etc.
I think that energy is an interesting and wonderful thing. Intellingent energy. Creative energy. I haven't quite worked out all my beliefs except to say that I do believe there is much more to life and death than we could ever know as humans. We can read and take solace in the writings and handed down stories of the ancients and have faith that whatever particular thing one follows is truth. Or we can be agnostic or even atheist. I am pretty tolerant of all beliefs as long as a person is kind and tries to be understanding of others.

Of the religions I read about, I prefer Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism my favorite is Lord Krishna and I have a beautiful picture of him and his consort Radha in my living room. I have it resized and ready to post, just haven't got the chance to fit it in anywhere. I have a Hanuman on the dashboard of my car. But also I have a piece of an old rosary with a St. Christopher medal on the rear view mirror. And I have a crucifix next to my Dad's military flag and a rosary hanging from my Mom's picture in my dining room. I have some Buddha's sitting around and lots of books on religions. My house is a mixture of many many things. We like it that way.

Emmy said...

This is kind of what I went through growing up. I was raised religious but it never seemed to click perfectly inside of me. I never understood how heaven could be heaven if the people I love weren't in it with me. What? Was I supposed to chill out by the Pearly Gates, lounging on the Streets of Gold, eating some fried chicken and just forget about the people I love who didn't make the cut BURNING FOR ETERNITY? No, thank you. That and the whole animals-don't-have-souls thing never made sense to me.

All Things BD said...

I was raised in a "spiritual" household, not so much a religious one. My parents believed in a higher power (Dad was in AA for 29 years before he died), and we occasionally went to church with Grandma.

About 6 years ago, I felt an overwhelming need to know God. I had one child and another on the way, and needed to have "meaning" to my life. I went with a friend to a few churches until we found a great Presbyterian church in L.A., and I immediately felt "home".

A year later, my dad was dying of cancer, and I can't imagine how I would have gotten through that time without having a relationship with God. I could yell at Him, plead with Him, cry at Him, and He was still there, healing my heart.

I have been so changed by this journey. I have such a different perspective than I did before. I am more willing to forgive, to have compassion, to just give people a break.

At the same time, I'm still searching, because the more I read the bible, the more questions I have. I don't have all the answers, but I do have peace, and for now, that's okay.

carrielt said...

I was raised in a very strict German Catholic family. But I haven't gone to church regularly since the late 90's. I believe you don't have to go to church to go to heaven. As long as you live by God's rules and ask for forgiveness then you are doing right by Him.

As nottryingforaboy said I don't agree with some of the views of the Catholic church. It hasn't changed very much as society changes.

I got married in the Christian church since the Catholic church wouldn't marry us because we had lived together before marriage.

DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM said...

I still haven't settled on one specific religion. I'm religion-shopping. I recently attended a Unity church and I liked it. I don't believe the things I was taught growing up about religion, but I've always had faith, because it's something I feel deep inside of me. The times that I feel the most spiritual are when I'm in nature, looking at some beautiful thing that God created. That's 'church' for me.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hey. I'm new here, came through a comment thread. I have found most churches too judgemental, but do believe in a higher power. I like to find the common threads in the major reliegons and feel most close to God when in nature.

Indy said...

I feel like you do sometimes. A month ago, one of my good friends was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I fell apart. All I know is that I suddenly found myself wanting quiet moments to talk to God. I needed the peace. I am not normally that religious.

So, I can't help you get there. But, you never know when it may come to you when you need it to.

Live.Love.Eat said...

Great post Rhea & very fair questions. I still like ya whether you go to church or not. For me, faith is just that, believing in something not tangible, something you can't see, hear or touch. But you can definitely FEEL it when it happens. I wasn't raised any one way, then I met my husband & it just happened. I saw how beautiful of a person he was & realized it was because of his faith yet he did not wear his religion on his sleeve. I know NOT all scenarios are like that. We hear about bad Christians or others all the time. But in his case, that's where his beauty came from. Why he never raised a voice to me, nor a hand, how he was always forgiving and giving everyone a benefit of the doubt. Anyway, he invited me to church and from there it went. All I know is one night I cried to God asking to be saved. I didn't even tell my husband-then-boyfriend. I was on my own path, he just helped lead me there.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I believe.

I don't attend church to often but I believe in God. I just feel his presence surrounding me when I look around my world.

I try to walk the walk and live a spiritual life. Mistakes happen. I say a prayer and start over again!

trublmaka said...

I don't know what exactly to believe, or who... I find my strongest faith is in my partner, my children, my family and friends, but mostly, myself.

I call on "god"... And guardian angels, and passed on loved ones.
I don't doubt there is more than I can see.
I've tried church, religion.. I follow the basic lip-service of the whole christening ceremony for the sake of my grandparents (being christened Roman Catholic and all)...
But my father is an elected athiest; I guess his cynism was so extreme my whole life I just felt no connection to religion.
I tried to 'find' faith/ God/ etc...
I stumbled across spirituality and in turn found my way to being self-proclaimed Eclectic Pagan. But even then, my actions are to my family. That is where my true faith lays, though I do tend to find comfort in chaos through spirituality....
But I refuse to allow ANYONE to preach at me. Each to his own, accept when I say "no thanks, I have my own beliefs", and take your foot out of my door!!

Bless to all
xo

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Deep subject....can I plead the fifth???

- Jennifer

Motherhood for Dummies said...

That is tough. I believe because it jsut feels right. There has to be more than this. There has to be a higher power or being good and having families or helping people, trying to make a difference... it really just seems pointless. And I don't think this is all pointless. That is why I believe in a religion.

I know about my religion because I have really prayed about it and feel good about it. As has my husband, my parents, my siblings, and friends. At some point we all prayed about our faith and felt like we got an awenser.

Even if it is all crap and silly, or not true. It does good things. Faith brings people together, helps others to do good, and brings hope... so even if it is all crap, doesn't it do something amazing?

gingela5 said...

It's tough to describe faith. My husband has struggled with it for years. It's just something in your heart that tells you that something is real. I guess I'm a bit different in that I do see God--I see him in the miracle of birth, in a thunderstorm, and even him doing works through people. That may sound dumb to some but it's how I have/keep faith. Deep topic for a Monday!!!

Insane Mama said...

Faith is hard to explain, it always will be. I think you are right in that a lot of people find it later and BELIEVE later in life because it helps when you think about dying.

Laurie said...

Hard questions for a Monday morning! I have strong beliefs that involve kharma and reincarnation, but don't follow the teachings of any organized religion or church. My beliefs have evolved slowly over time, I read a lot and between books and my intuition have a belief system that I trust in, even if I can't easily explain it.
I was brought up Christian in a basic United Church and am glad I had that upbringing regardless of my current beliefs.

Mama Dawg said...

I'm like you, honey. I don't get faith. It's hard for me to believe in things I can't see or feel or taste or hear.

When you get an answer, let me know, please.

goodfather said...

My beautiful wife and I are deeply religious but we don't attend church. It turns out that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't have designated meeting places for his followers :D.

Just kidding. We're agnostic at best - we both dislike 'organized' religion, but respect the holy crap out of other people's views. That doesn't sound quite right. Is it too late for me to plead the fifth too?

Kim said...

I'm like you...I haven't gone to church since 1985, despite the fact that I was raised Catholic and my aunt is a nun who has lived in a convent for 50 years. EEEK! However, you might find this interesting since you seem to be searching. :-)

Karen said...

Ok, Well, this is one way to out the Mormon here. :) I was having a similar discussion with a friend this weekend.

For me, I was raised with religion as apart of my family culture. This was not enough for me to continue to go to church and live by the LDS' faith standards. I needed to know that what I was raised with was what I really believed and knew. There came a point where I honestly had to examine what I had been taught, do a lot of reading and praying to know that I believed in things I felt to be true.

That all said, I need to make some disclosures. We are not associated with Warren Jeffs or any of his people. We are not polygamists, we don't have horns, we believe in Jesus Christ and his atonement. Please don't expect us to be perfect, we make mistakes. I guess I am saying please don't judge my religion by my mistakes.

We have what we call The 13 Articles of Faith that tell some of what we believe in.
They follow:

1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

My MIL had similiar feelings and questions to yours. She infestigated every religion she could find. Buddha, Energy Healers, Reincarnation, Catholisism, lots of Christian Religions, I believe she even looked into the Koran and the Jewish faith.

For me, it fascinates me that one would not believe in some sort of supreme being. So many questions that would be left unanswered for me. Like where did we come from? Where are we going? What's the point? What's the point in good and bad if there is no Heaven or Hell of sorts?

I loved this post. It was very thought provoking. I love reading your thoughts on this topic and everyone's comments too.

Karen said...

I meant investigated, as to check out, not infestigate as in infesting. I so can't live with out spell check. How embarassing.

Katie said...

Wow, you took the words right out of my mouth. I'm still hoping for a relevation or something. Until then, I'm just too darned logical.

Krystyn said...

I don't know if I can convince you. It's just a feeling you have. You have faith and you just know it. I know God is there and I reminders. In answered prayers, little things, love, and all of those things.

I imagine it's like the feeling you got on the toilet that made you ask Jesus into your heart in the first place.

And, just so you know, once you ask him into your heart, your stuck with Jesus.

As far as your parents, there is still time for them, right?

Veggie Mom said...

We believe, but don't practice out in public much. Christmas and Easter, for sure, and a few other Sundays during the year, and that's about it. Both daughters served as acolytes (we're Episcopalian) in middle and high school. Hubs is an usher, on occasion. We do quite a bit of sleeping in, though, on Sunday mornings. Hubs says we really belong to the Church of St. Mattress!

Angie's Spot said...

I had a crazy convuluted religious upbringing. My parents could never decide what they truly believed, so I was baptized in the Baptist, Catholic and Presbyterian churches. (This would also explain why my parents don't go to church anymore) My grandparents were card-carrying Presbyterians and VERY active in their church.

That's the church that I spent most of my youth in and I came to despise it. The hypocrisy was rampant and as soon as I left home, I never set foot in that church (or any other) again.

I have a lot of trouble believing in the whole "supreme being" philosophy and the idea that you have to accept God in order to avoid eternal damnation. It just sounds like scare tactics to me.

All of this to say that despite my disbelief, I'm the office manager for a church and my kids go to a church based preschool. While I don't subscribe to religious teachings myself, I don't want to shelter my kids from making the decision for themselves on whether to believe or not. Religion is a very personal decision and I'm really impressed with you for putting yourself out there in such a vulnerable position. Judging from the comments so far, your readers are equally admirable!

angie said...

Wow, Rhea. THis is a heavy one. I'm sure not belonging to a Christian church in the south is stranger than.....a svelby? :)

Faith makes me believe...what clenched the deal? Seeing my life improve.....besides, I need something to believe in to answer the what ifs. :)

Rick said...

Just happened to be surfing through and saw this post. You've had a lot of interesting comments on this one. Funny, since it's suppose to be one of those topics you're not suppose to discuss.

You not only live in the Bible belt, but right on it's buckle! There are more churches in Texas then there are people - sometimes I think.

I am a believer and in short here is why...

1. Matter can't create itself - a physical law - so I believe it had to come from somewhere.

2. I see the complicated design in creation. The smaller create is the more complex we discover it to be - DNA and all. It's too complex to be by chance.

3. I believe in the Bible because the amazing fulfillment of prophecy from the Old Testament to the New. The mathematical odd of Jesus fulfilling all those very old prophecies are impossible.

4. I believe because I believe that my life has a greater purpose - if I am a product of chance (evolution) then there is basically no purpose in life.

I recommend Lee Strobel's book The Case For Christ. A man who's wife became a Christian and then set out to prove she was wrong - in the end became one.

Search the Bible for your own answers. They are there.

Good luck and God bless,

http://www.organizeddoodles.blogspot.com/

P.S. The next time someone ask you what church you go to, tell them that you're starting one and ask if they'd be interested in making a donation. Then watch them run.

Susie said...

I was raised and educated Catholic but I couldn't swallow what they were teaching either. There is a lot of doom and gloom and guilt associated with the man-made rules. It didn't feel like the kind of relationship that I wanted with God. So, I consider myself spiritual...not religious.

On the topic of faith...I don't know. It is just something you feel. An answer to the unanswerable. The most inspirational illustration of faith that I have seen recently was on a blog called Bring the Rain . Check it out. Not much moves me but this story and her faith...incredible.

the mama bird diaries said...

I'm not sure what I believe... I guess, in a higher power, something greater than all of us. But you don't have to go to church to believe in something.

The Pink Potpourri said...

What Rick said is right on!

I have great faith and it is nowhere near blind! It is not something that I base on luck or just a fuzzy feeling. I can look around and see that this world could not be some random chance occurrence back in a puddle of primordial ooze. (by the way, were did the "ooze" come from???)

God does exist. And since he does exists, that demands that we were created with some sort of purpose. So I think your real search may not be to dispute the existence of God, but what is your purpose in this world?

So the question comes up..... How do I find God or know what He wants of me? The answer to that my friend is found in the bible. now before you right off the bible as "o yea that old book" you should check it out, as in read some, it just might change your life. it did mine.

I understand about the whole parents going to hell thing it sounds like a bad wrap, i'm sure they never killed anyone or did anything really bad, right. But heaven is a PERFECT place and no matter how hard we try, none of us, even as christians, can ever be PERFECT people. so we can't go to heaven by trying really hard, we just don't make the cut. BUT WAIT!!!!

this is where the bible tells us the coolest thing of all. God knowing that we couldn't make it on our own did something unthinkable, He sent Jesus to come and live the perfect life that we couldn't and die for us! this means that He paid the penalty for our sin! the bible says all we have to do is one thing.... have faith.

one final thought...you put your faith and trust in lots of things throughout the day...that your car will get you safely to work, that your lunch doesn't have food poisoning, or that the doctor knows what he's doing. with that thought, it doesn't seem as difficult to fathom putting Faith and trust in Jesus, in the One who created you, loves you, and knows you more than any human on earth :)

if you believe there is a God, there is a heaven. He wants you there. so he easily explains how to get to him through the bible. recognize that he is god and sent his son to the earth. know that you're a sinner, ask for his forgiveness and ask Him into your heart. its that easy. no strings attached. eternity is forever :) -Zack and Allie

The Pink Potpourri said...

What Rick said is right on!

I have great faith and it is nowhere near blind! It is not something that I base on luck or just a fuzzy feeling. I can look around and see that this world could not be some random chance occurrence back in a puddle of primordial ooze. (by the way, were did the "ooze" come from???)

God does exist. And since he does exists, that demands that we were created with some sort of purpose. So I think your real search may not be to dispute the existence of God, but what is your purpose in this world?

So the question comes up..... How do I find God or know what He wants of me? The answer to that my friend is found in the bible. now before you right off the bible as "o yea that old book" you should check it out, as in read some, it just might change your life. it did mine.

I understand about the whole parents going to hell thing it sounds like a bad wrap, i'm sure they never killed anyone or did anything really bad, right. But heaven is a PERFECT place and no matter how hard we try, none of us, even as christians, can ever be PERFECT people. so we can't go to heaven by trying really hard, we just don't make the cut. BUT WAIT!!!!

this is where the bible tells us the coolest thing of all. God knowing that we couldn't make it on our own did something unthinkable, He sent Jesus to come and live the perfect life that we couldn't and die for us! this means that He paid the penalty for our sin! the bible says all we have to do is one thing.... have faith.

one final thought...you put your faith and trust in lots of things throughout the day...that your car will get you safely to work, that your lunch doesn't have food poisoning, or that the doctor knows what he's doing. with that thought, it doesn't seem as difficult to fathom putting Faith and trust in Jesus, in the One who created you, loves you, and knows you more than any human on earth :)

if you believe there is a God, there is a heaven. He wants you there. so he easily explains how to get to him through the bible. recognize that he is god and sent his son to the earth. know that you're a sinner, ask for his forgiveness and ask Him into your heart. its that easy. no strings attached. eternity is forever :) -Zack and Allie

Justine said...

Wow, this was some heavy shit, girl. I was brought up Catholic but rarely go to church at all. I have a very strong faith in God though, and pray (talk to) God alllllllll the time. I've recently really been questioning the Catholic religion. One, why can't priests marry? Two, why the need for confession when I confess to God directly? Why should using birth control be a mortal sin? I've got millions of these questions, and keep telling myself that one Sunday I'm just going to choose a different church and go for the experience. But, being that I like to sleep in and not go anywhere until afternoon, I never do.

Justine :o )

OHmommy said...

Whoa. That is a deep question. I would have to think hard for a long time but I am way to tired from the day at home with the kids.

I believe that they will sleep through the night.

Ha. How is that? ;) You pose a lot of good questions here.

Chatterness said...

Faith is the hope of things unseen.

ann said...

So, mosey on over to the blogs of the ladies who have heart babies or the ladies who have preemies or the guy whose wife died 24 hours after birthing the baby girl...they know way more about it than I do. I do know that it's real for me.

Tiffany said...

I am full of faith, but haven't found the right church yet. God and I are figuring that out.

I have always "known" there was more. When my son came into that room out of my body, there was no question.

I always knew of God, but in that moment, I met him.

My problem with many churches is what you described.. saying that people who don't believe are going to hell. Can't buy that. The God I love loves us all.

Shannon said...

Ok, I wanted to say exactly what Tiffany just said! Well, pretty much, anyway.

I was raised a Lutheran... even went to a private Lutheran school up through 4th grade.

I, too, have a problem with saying people who don't believe in God are going to hell. We had a foreign exchange student from Japan... Izumi is a Buddhist. She is still in contact with my family, truly one of the sweetest people I've ever met in my life... this girl shared my home for a year, and you're ("you" being the Church) telling me she's going to hell just because she believes in a different god than I do? But then you say "God is love"... yeah, I never really jived with that.

Lula! said...

Woooooooooooooo...a "religion" post. And an honest one at that. Rock on, girl...you put yourself out there, and I respect & admire that. For real.

I am a Christian...it's no secret. I'm a believer in Jesus, plain and simple. I'm not close-minded, nor judgemental, and I despise evangelical "Christians" who give the rest of us a bad name. It's way uncool, man...I don't like my peeps to misrepresent.

Faith is hard...Hebrews 11:1 tells me, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I claim both these traits--I am certain of my future, without a doubt, and I am absolute in believing in what I cannot see or reach out and touch. It's very easy for me to "blindly" follow God...simply because I trust Him, and that's what it all boils down to. Faith, trust, belief...

So there ya go...a graduate of Jerry Falwell's university (no hating on me, please!) who loves Sci-Fi, vampires, moody music, and Jason Statham. Doggone it, am I well-roundedly random or what?

Lane Boyz Mom said...

Geez Rhea, you've had me thinking on this since last night and I still do not have anything to really respond with, lol Could you have posted anything deeper?! LOL

I know I believe in God. I know there is a heaven, I do have FAITH in that....but do I understand it all?! No.

Britt said...

Ditto to Lula - "It's very easy for me to "blindly" follow God...simply because I trust Him, and that's what it all boils down to. Faith, trust, belief"

I'm a Christian. It came easily to me because my parents are Christians. Following Christ was something I learned early. But I kept following even after I left home because .. well, He never led me wrong. I had no reason NOT to follow Him. I have never been alone because He's always there. I've never laid eyes on Him, never touched Him, or heard His voice but I have felt His presence and His guidance.

I'll never understand it all. Honestly, that makes me feel better. 'Cause there is an awful lot to know, and I think my head just might explode. So I trust Him because I know He knows. Like Lula said, it's all about the trust. It's not blindly following if you know the One you're following can see, and will pick you up when you bite the dust.

Giggle! said...

Holy Crap Rhea!!! You've got heaps and heaps of readers!!! I'm sure your blogroll keeps growing and growing!

No wonder ya don't have time to visit me anymore! *snif snif*

Anyways.. just wanted to let you know that I've posted a piccy of my huge belly bump! if you'd like to see :-) xx

scargosun said...

I think my Facebook page says it best, "My spiritual beliefs are personal." This means they are not open to anyone's approval or dissaproval.
In general, most of my beliefs are based in a "Do no harm" philosophy (Wiccan) and Karma (Hindu). It is similar to the "do unto others" philosophy from Christian religions.
Organized religion is not for me. I realized this at a VERY young age.

Ashley said...

Wow - there is so much to say here on this subject - but all I can think of right now is that you are not alone. I grew up Southern Baptist - in church every time the doors were open - but as I became a more learned person through college I began to question some of these things that I had blindly believed before. I think the church is a great place to raise a family for the community aspect but I also don't agree with many, MANY of their teachings. I had mentioned that I might like involving our family in church once we have children for these benefits but my husband says this doesn't make sense. If I don't believe it - I shouldn't teach it to my children. I just don't know. But I think he is right. There are other ways to raise 'good' children. It is a big issue but I feel confidant in what lies within my heart - my mom however is less than thrilled with this 'awakening'. I sometimes feel alone in the blogosphere because often I feel religion is a big part of the mom blogger world. I just try to ignore those religious posts of others and keep my blog religion free. But I really love that you have come out with this. Not all of us are religious, deal with it blogging world!!!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Rhea, I was made to go to church as a child and then I rebelled until I was 38yrs old. I was 3 yrs into my Long Distance Relationship with the now hubster and it was tearing us apart literally. Constant rows, deep feelings, many tears and breakups.

One night after yet another row and utter despair as what I should do with my life. I literally was on the floor of my bathroom crying, when I just said out loud "God please help me" and poured my heart out to that empty room.

I woke up the next day with a clear decision in my head, total peace and immediatley started making plans to move here permanently. When I got here I returned to church and took the hubster with me and have never lost faith again. Now I pray every night and I firmly believe it brings you peace in your soul and helps you through life.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Oh and btw...when I read 'Eat, Love, Pray' - I swear she stole my bathroom floor moment!

Elaine A. said...

Okay. so. Where to start?

I was raised in the Catholic church and continue to practice Catholicsim but do not agree with all of the tenants of the church. Sometimes that makes me feel guilty, but I also feel like that my relationship with God is MY relationship. I stick with Catholicism because it is what I know and frankly, what I love. I appreciate all the traditions of the mass, and the yearly liturgy, etc.

Also, I sing at my church for mass, weddings and funerals and that brings me closer to God at those moments especially.

Faith is extremely hard to describe but I do believe. I mean I look at my children every day and just wonder how I ever couldn't...

Good luck on your journey.

Jen said...

I really wanted to comment on this and I thought about it a lot and I really don't know how to say it.
So here is goes, it is pretty simple (at least for me). I believe in God and I try to have a relationship with Him. We are just starting to go back to church, not that that makes you a Christian but that is a whole other ball of wax.
I keep an open mind about others and there beliefs. I think that there are many right ways to worship and have faith.
I also have faith, straight up, pure blind faith. I know that this is hard for some people but for me, I just believe.

Heather said...

Wow, I have loved reading all these other posts. I love Lula's and The Pink Potpourri; they sum it up the best, in my opinion. Which is what this comment is all about, right?

I grew up without a church. An occasional VBS during the summer months with friends, but that's it. Never really knew what I was missing. Teased friends who went to church, saying I was a "good person", how was I going to go to Hell?

Fast forward to the age of 24. I am a critical care nurse, having my first baby. I see death at work every day. Believers and non-believers, doesn't matter, every body dies. But the difference in those that had faith in their unseen God to those who didn't was amazing. The peace they had in their faces and clearly in their hearts. It drew me close enough to question my stand on things of God. After my son was born, I was sitting in the church of my husband's family trying to listen to the sermon while admiring my precious baby. We were studying John 3:16..."For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". And I tried to imagine giving up my sweet son to save a bunch of sinners. And I knew I would never have been able to do it. But the love God has for us is even greater than the love he has for his son, because he is our creator. The sacrifice of that love just took my breath away, and right there is when I began to believe.

I was always very intimidated by people who were "religious". When you meet Christians who are not good people, who are the biggest hypocrites you ever met, it so turns you off of religion. But you have to remember, all of us are equal in his sight. God is our father. No one is better than the next. Jesus is the bridge that takes us from sinner to saved. Yes, there are many questions we don't have the answers to.

We are like the kids in the backseat on the way to vacation, complaining all the way, "he's touching me, she's looking at me, how much longer", when all the while, God knows the plan for our lives, he knows the destination, and he has great things in store for us that we can't even fathom.

Wow, I didn't mean to be that long-winded. I hope these posts help you in your search. The fact that you are searching sounds like God is knocking on your door, asking you to let him in. Why not let him? What's it gonna hurt?

Krista said...

Hi Rhea!
I loved your post and comments! Yes, religion is a complex thing. I do believe in organized religion because I just don't believe God would say, "Figure it out." We have one Bible and thousands of religions that come from the Bible. If you know the history of the Bible and organized religion you would know the Bible isn't a perfect book. I know some people would gasp at that - but do some history. Catholicism was the first organized church after the dark ages and the people/churches who disagreed with their doctrines are referred to as Protestants. Now it seems like there should be Protestant protestants! I think the most important thing is no matter what religion you belong to, we all need to follow an important scripture and that is "Judge not, lest ye be not judged." We should all have respect for one another because a Christian life is not easy to live no matter what religion you belong to. It's hard trying to be good or perfect all the time! People of other religions say that my religion or others are going to Hell because we don't believe the same way they do. If you don't hear their prayers or see their hearts, that's a pretty harsh judgement. You found Jesus on the toilet (I've found Satan there a few times-kidding) and I found Jesus on a school bus! I then added to my beliefs later on.

Jules said...

You know Rhea. You have to go with what you feel comfortable with. What works for you.

I think that if you are good, and do good, and provide wonderful examples of how to be strong andhonorable and noble and honest people for your kids, then you are doing a wonderful job, no matter what you believe, or don't believe in.

Just my opinion mind you. :)

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

Hmmm... I tend to avoid these. But I just LOVE that you put yourself out there, Rhea. You rock.

Well, either God exists or He doesn't. One camp is right and one camp is wrong.

You can choose to believe. If He exists, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

You can choose not to believe. If He doesn't exist, you've got nothing to worry about.

But, if you choose not to believe and He indeed exists, you've got an awful lot to lose. Llluccccyyyy, you got some 'splainin' to dooooo!

That's the logical way to look at it, I suppose. Is it enough to believe only because of the end outcome? I say yes. At first, it's enough to start. Ya' gotta pick a camp to start anything.

I have a hard time understanding why good people, great, devout people "aren't allowed in". The truth is... probably 75% of the earth's population doesn't follow that religion's same belief. I find it hard to believe that 3 of 4 of us will be burning in fire and brimstone.

So... there in lies the dilemma. Even if you leap... even if you choose to believe... knowing to whom you should be listening is another BIG question.

There is a happy medium...

you can choose to believe but not be bound by the righteous right's inexplicable & arbitrary belief system.

From another vampire-loving, sleepin' in on Sunday, alternative-rock listenin' believer.

AV Flox said...

My family is Catholic. Well, most everyone is Catholic in Peru--little gift from the days of the Spanish Empire. But it wasn't strict. It wasn't like we ever talked about it. We went to church and confession and stuff, and that's just how it was. Then one day--I think I was seven or eight--Mother caught me staring at myself in the mirror.

I was obsessed with mirrors and myself. I couldn't believe that I had this body and could move it and do things. I couldn't get over it. I'd just stare and stare.

So my mother was going out and she chanced by this room at our house which had a Jacuzzi and mirrored walls and she was so disturbed by my apparent vanity that she saw no better way to scare me out of it than to say that if I didn't quit, Lucifer, the father of vanity would appear to me.

(I asked her later what possessed her to bring religion into it and she said she had no idea, but didn't it make perfect sense?)

Sadly for mother dear, I wasn't scared. I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I had my nanny do up my hair like Shirley Temple and I put on my best dress and as soon as Mother went out, I went to the mirror and called on Lucifer.

I figured God was very busy. But Lucifer probably had plenty of time to hang out. Plus he would understand my question because he was vain. My logic went something like this: when I make a picture and people tell me it's pretty, I am flattered. So why would God get His panties in a bunch if I appreciated His Creation, i.e., my body?

Lucifer did not show up. I was dragged to bed that night in hysterics. It was all lies! Lucifer didn't exist!

Having no evidence to the contrary, I concluded God didn't either.

I continued going to church, though. It's funny looking back--the church experience and the spiritual experience have always been divided in my mind.

When I was ten, we moved from Peru to Oceania. At thirteen, my mother met a woman who was very, very Catholic--in that scary way that seems to cripple young girls into hating their bodies and sexuality.

She undertook my sister's catechism. I became obsessed with God. I thought that if I could find Him, I could show everyone that this veiled self-hatred and shame this woman was teaching would be revealed as having absolutely nothing to do with God.

I looked and looked and looked. I studied Taoism, Wicca, Buddhism, Mormonism, Judaism, Catholicism, Humanism... From the Egyptian Book of the Dead to the St. Augustine, I read everything in my way. I even studied Koine Greek so I could translate the New Testament--I just couldn't trust that something hadn't been lost in translation.

I didn't find much of anything except the history of humanity and their constant abuse of the idea of deity to control others. Eventually I turned 16 and hormones navigated me toward a whole different obsession.

It wasn't until I was 24 that while living in the Andes for a month (working on a novel I never finished) that I found God. I can't really explain it. I had a dream and I was talking to myself. I said, "I am going to write a book about my life and every chapter will be like one of the books of the Bible. It makes sense, doesn't it? All my lovers had their names. Daniel--the false prophet!--and John and Thomas..."

And I said, "there's no Book of Thomas."

And she laughed and said, "oh, but there is."

So I went online and looked it up and OMG. In all my reading it never occurred to me to go outside the Canon. We're taught for so long that only some books are holy while others are not that it never even crossed my mind, though I knew the Catholic Bible is different from the King James Bible and the Greek Orthodox Bible.

I was up for three days reading the Nag Hammadi library texts. I'm filled.

I go to church now. But it still has nothing to do with God. Church is a human need to bond together, to make a society homogeneous. I go there to commune with the people of my life and to show them I want to be a part of them. It's entirely symbolic.

Is God there?

Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty." [Thomas 1:3]

├╝berburber said...

wow, you really went there, didn't you, Rhea? GREAT comments. Sign of a great post. I enjoyed Rick's and Karen's. Many of my blogger friends are LDS. I grew up EC (Easter/Christmas) and when I had kids I thought we should start going to church. But we are so often saying goodbye to our kids all week long, I couldn't bear saying goodbye (for Sunday School) yet another time. So now Sunday mornings are dedicated to family time. And that is our 'faith' at the moment. I think there's a higher power out there, and that it's common to all of us as a universe. That's why I try not to subscribe to anything dogmatic or specific. I see spirituality in daily life - beautiful sunsets, leaves quivering on a tree...OK, now I'm getting sappy but you get my drift. Thanks for stirring the pot. : )

October Dawn said...

People's answers are a dime a dozen. Please read the Bible with your questions in mind. SO many searching people have found answers there. From humans you can expect human error, but if GOD is telling me how it is, then I want to take HIM seriously. He would never lie.

When it comes right down to it, He's not sending anyone to hell. The only people who go there are the ones who choose to ignore the way to heaven that is Christ. Everyone makes that choice for one person only. Aren't you glad it's up to you and not your best enemy?