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Posts Tagged ‘plain dress’

It’s been a couple of weeks … here is what is going on now.

I am 100% clear that I need God in my life.

My husband and I have had numerous discussions about where we are heading individually and as a family.  He still feels like Buddhism has been very helpful to him and he’s not ready to jump ship.  I have been encouraging him to read Theravada Buddhist literature (because Zen isn’t doing it for him) and gave him some links to Theravada Buddhist temples in our area but I don’t know that he’ll actually visit any.  That’s okay.  I understand that he has to walk his path on his own, just as I walk my own path.

But I’ve also told him I need his help and support on my spiritual journey.  I feel self-conscious sometimes wanting to talk about God because I know he is an agnostic.  I want to do family prayer or grace before meals – he feels put on the spot – so we’re working on a compromise where I would lead prayer (so he’s not on the spot) but he will help me remember and hold an intentional space.

I was all set to visit a liberal Mennonite church nearby last Sunday and then my daughter had a raging fever and I stayed home to nurse her.  So she was sick and then I was sick… but finally we’re both better.  So then I was planning to visit the church this Sunday but last night I was online and found some recent sermons online at the church’s website and decided I didn’t want to visit after all.  The sermon talked about scripture but also brought in politics… a lot.  And I just cannot attend a church where politics (even — or maybe especially liberal peace politics) are a major topic of discussion.  I don’t have a good explanation for this – but these sort of sermons sound to me like “you have to be an activist to fit in here and to be a good person and to do God’s will” and I just disagree.  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad there are activists in the world – we all owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they do in the world.  Political activism just is not my work.  And it doesn’t have to be.  Unfortunately, I’ve had a number of bad experiences with Activists who feel that it has to be everyone’s work… or else you are wrong/bad/stupid/evil/an oppressor.  But for me, I have to focus my energy on what I can immediately control (my own life and how I treat the people around me) or else focus on accepting what I can’t control and what is in God’s hands.  A woman online I know described this as the difference between an Activist orientation and a Quietist orientation.  I have the latter.   (and I’ve rewritten this paragraph like 4 times now to try to make it less offensive, but it may still offend some, and if so, I’m really sorry.)

So instead I decided to put myself out there… and attend an Amish-Mennonite / Beachy Amish mission church I had learned about online several months ago.  I was scared to go because its in a really bad part of town and I didn’t know what the people would be like, and I knew it was very small and of course it doesn’t have a website or anything like that… but I went, and it was really nice.  It was very small, maybe 10-12 people there, some of whom were children.  The people were very friendly though and I loved the a capella singing (which was done sitting and without all that stand-up/sit down business that feels artificial to me) and the simple sermon.  There was a Sunday school portion and a second sermon which was really long – and these parts were less compelling… but in general I felt really comfortable there.  The people were down-to-earth.  Women were in plain dress.  Everyone there spoke with great love and faith in God.  It was inspiring.  I also liked that there was space during the service for people to pray out loud together and to reflect upon the sermons.  After the service I talked to several of the women there and felt comfortable to share parts of my story and to explain why I was there.  They were very supportive.

My thoughts are still in a jumble about my experiences this morning.  Here are some things I want to say…  I really don’t understand what this is all about.  I keep feeling myself drawn to conservative Christian churches.  This is odd for me on so many levels.  I am (and always have been) politically and socially liberal.  I am (still) not a Christian (yet?).  I think of Jesus as a great prophet and teacher but a savior?  These ideas are still foreign to me.  I am not the sort of person who interprets things literally, for me, most things must be taken in context.  I know these things… and yet, I still find myself drawn to the idea of a simple faith and a simple life.  I want to rely on God.  I want freedom from the things that keep me running in circles – my doubts and fears, my intellectual compulsion to “figure everything out” and accompanying frustration when this is fruitless, and I want to believe that God is with us in every moment and that He has a plan.

I feel naive writing this… its not that I want to put my head in the sand and cultivate an immature or unreasoned faith.  It’s that I know what doubt and disconnection is like and I know it doesn’t lead to greater compassion and love for me.  So there is a part of me, that is growing stronger by the day, that is thinking “well, f*** it.  Even if I don’t believe it (yet), maybe I should just go with it, because what do I know anyway, and clearly what I’m doing now isn’t getting me anywhere.”

And, that’s what happened with my involvement with that Buddhist group – which ended up not being such a great group, however, they inadvertently helped me find my way back to faith in God… so maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing after all.  Maybe God knows what he’s doing here, even if I don’t.

And God bless my husband… who is still supportive… even though he doesn’t get it.  He has strong faith in his own way.

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