Having time to shed some words on this page, I wonder what’s present with me tonight. My mind goes down a spiritual path, collecting perspectives and want. That seems to be a theme that has flared up again these days – spiritual synergy. I’ve come to place in my journey where I can look back on my own religious experience with both fondness and understanding. Religion has been disabused of any sense of "God’s" authority, and I find no comfort in doctrines or Parish that blindly believe a text as divinity, nor the assumption of one god genderized. And yet, I hold my own spiritual aspects as a part of me that has walked with me from birth. I am a person who takes comfort from the notion I have a spirit to nourish.
Over the course of the past few years, an innate part of self has been looking++
for a community to share in this spiritual aspect of my journey, having visited++
well respected friends churches just ruminating with the question, "Does this really feel right?" I’ve read friends perspective on spirit, allowing a teaching from the shared experience, always asking "Does this feel right?"
I am no Christian, though I do honor my experiences growing up. My mind wanders down old corridors of the church I went to growing up. I look fondly on the pictures of Jesus hanging on the wall, including the one I called 3D Jesus knocking at a door. Seriously, it was a 3 dimensional pose all pious and jumping out at you. There was also a velvet back light portrait of JC praying on the mount. A black light shown through from the back illuminating the moon and and his face as he looked upward praying to his God. Oh, but my favorite was the corn seed colleague hanging in the coat room. It was a picture of Christ’s hands while various colors of light permeated out - completely made out of a variety of corn seed colors making a picture. I remember making a macaroni necklace for my Mom as a kid and being very disappointed that it didn’t turn out as well-crafted as that picture.
The church I grew up in was very small. A one room parish with basement, a residual from when the area was farmland. The outside was token white with a modest belfry and a simple cross on top. The pews took up the entire room, with exception of two walk-ways on either side and the alter in front. The stain glass windows were abstract and closed off the view, except in the summer when they were cracked to let in the sounds of the katydids beckoning us kids to go out and play already. The whole room stayed a constant shrine to farm-folk piety, except for the alter cloth that changed to the Christian Seasons - purple, white, gold, and black. I don’t remember when and what the meanings for the colors were.
Though I have no intention of ever living the Christian life again, I look back fondly of the experience as it was. Remembering when my sister, brother and I take turns ringing the bell to call in the parish. The numbers were small – very small – five being the usual number. I remember reading the scriptures for the reverend or kids week when we taught Bible study to the adults. I can remember reading a trivia question wrong, thinking Jesus had 8 siblings instead of Jessie (sp). Yeah, I argued with the parish, until I realized I read it wrong. Too bold even at a young age.
I also remember the hymnals, my favorite was "Christian Soldiers" loving the melody. As time grow on, the words did not sit right though – "Onward Christian Soldiers marching onto War." The division in me growing as what I was being taught was contradictions in understanding God. One moment to be Christian was to love and in another I was a soldier in his army. I remember asking questions, and getting no sense of truth. As a kid, having no language to express my restriction of understanding, the picture of God continued to remove itself from any spiritual sense of growth. I have the words now to express to myself the stunted growth of the teachings taught to us, that cut my soul off from understanding and asked me to blindly except the fact. Three things removed me from this Church and sent me walking years of disconnection with the spirit in order to heal – the church would not celebrate Earth Day, they began to ask me to be submissive to gender roles, and they asked me to fear something I should love. Living out the experience of fear and love in my daily life, I was pretty convinced this was a role I was not going to break bread with any longer.
But here I am at the end of my page, reflecting on what was my past as is, and where I am at today. I cannot get around the knowing that I am a spiritual person...personal and my own, but still wanting a sense of community to grow this part in. In this flare-up of a community of spirit*
, I have come to a place where I may have found a place, if only to rest my feet for a moment while I walk my path.++
Referencing old entries*
You can read Rumi's Community of Spirit with this link. Its my fave, so I thought I'd share again.
Labels: community of spirit