Ok. i will give this a shot. i have, for the most part, been following my Recovery program; eating regularly and healthy, exercising regularly, sleeping well and so on. i have been doing really well. My moods have been stable and i mostly behave…you know.
i came to a decision last week. My denomination has literally shunned me for many long years, despite my attempts to reconcile and communicate. No replies. Silence. Deafening silence from a denomination which proclaims to be a beacon for reconciliation. The pain has been ongoing and palpable for me.
So i decided i no longer affiliate with any denomination. Period. The church has lost its mission right across the board and i see no hope of reversal, except perhaps in isolated pockets, as religion desperately tries to hang on.
i no longer grieve this situation. We religious people did it to ourselves and we deserve everything society has throw our way. The audacity of such a depraved and selfish group to call any other group “sinners” should make us laugh derisively. We, in all Christian traditions, have consistently ignored the needs of the people under our care while filling our own coffers and needs.
Patriarchal, judgemental, selfish and using God’s name to enslave, abuse and destroy others. And, like most organizations, followers are valuable as long as they can “pay their way” with money or services which benefit the organization. i speak from personal experience on this one, so no more for me.
These are simple facts. i no longer feel the anger or animosity, even if it may seem to come across in my words. You will notice i never refer to any denominations. Good luck to in your mission. Right now i fee nothing but peace and freedom.
No more weddings. No more funerals. No more public speaking. No more babysitting dying congregations. No more of these things which inevitably bring me stress and pain and internal conflict.
If you are enjoying your spiritual journey in some denomination, i am happy for you, but i am done. And i feel a great sense of peace separating from groups which bring pain to so many others.
Jeez. Just try sit and enjoy the service when some blue-haired lady is staring knitting needles at you for sitting in her seat, which she has possessed since the time of the Great Plague.
David Jones, an artist and writer, spent years in the trenches of WWI. The experiences left him with mental issues which plagued him the remainder of his life. David Jones understands me well, though we never met. i would imagine it likewise describes many of you.
A therapist once told me only intelligent people suffer this way…stupid people apparently don’t care about people or consequences enough to care. No caring, no stress. Did not make me feel better at all.
i have also been told that people from abused backgrounds are taught to keep feelings locked deep inside. This is dangerous, as it turns all those feelings inward, where they take up residence and generally fuck us up in our dealings with others. That is my experience, at least.
This is a renewed learning for me. My perspectives on life have done a dramatic turnaround, and i find blessings where curses used to abound. My feelings, my emotions…these are gifts that make me a better human being, if i refuse to lock them deep inside and do the risky business of sharing some of them with others around me. i was like this in a former life and somehow lost my way.
i used to see the good and possibility in other people. i had an optimism born of God and youthful exuberance. And i have been reminded of a simple, profound, truth:Empathy and, therefore, dignity is sadly lacking in our world. For most of you, your mind will be immediately drawn to the many examples in the world of politics, religion or the myriad other leaders who have left us dejected and afraid for the future. And i have met so many lately who feel isolated, afraid or angry. And so we are tempted to give up our most precious gift as human beings: the ability to make choices based on free will instead of blind instinct.
Yup. Can so. None of us needs be an asshole. Don’t need to be a dick. Not a trick to lead you to the altar, i promise. How about we work at being more human. i’m not asking you to give up any convictions close to your soul. And if you do not buy that whole biblical perspective thing, how about this precious piece of advice?
You know what i am talking about, don’t you? There is no shortage of people in our lives we have disappointed or shoved away in a hasty, unfortunate event. It is in the times of life when people cannot understand us- our illness, our fears and anxieties- that we are tempted to retreat into negative behaviours. I am done with this kind of negative thinking and it has been the greatest decision i have made in a long time.
Every culture has, within its mythology, stories of blessing and curse. i think when we threw out religion, we lost something else that is valuable, a basic principle about being human and spiritual that has come about for a whole slough of reasons i don’t feel are important right now. Suffice to say we have adopted a lifestyle of cursing instead of blessing. Don’t need a god for that…no magic here…be a thoughtful human.
Be a blessing when others expect you to be otherwise. In spite of others. Be a thoughtful human being, who realizes we all have our times of victory and defeat. None of us is immune to the deceptiveness of being self-righteous.
When i curse someone else, i become one with them in their disfunction. i am converted to their camp. i am converted into the human who has decided i will join the angry, fearful and disillusioned of society. i will spread lies and venom to justify my inner turmoil. And i will give up a piece of myself in the process.
Modern media has made this easier. We can simply vent and bitch and complain so easily. There are times i read posts on my social feed and feel my own self-righteous rage kicking into gear. And so i give myself a time out. i get off Facebook for a while and let myself settle down. Cursing others brings me harm and no comfort at all.
So now you are already thinking about the thorny issue of forgiveness. Sure. Now i am supposed to surrender all common sense and let harmful people into my life. Nope. Not going to happen. What about Adolf Hitler? Fuck off. You can be kind without giving others permission to be dicks.
We do not need God, Budda, Jesus, Zen, Mohammed or any other spiritual figure to do this for us with some religious voodoo. We are humans and we have the potential to make basic, rational, and considerate choices. Anyone. Easy? Nope. Take practice and perseverance? Yup. Most of the valuable things in life cost something.
Sure it sounds sappy. It may even sound impossible to you right now. That is fine. Just consider these things for a bit. Maybe take a moment before you kickstart your rage into gear. And maybe the next time someone pisses you off, you can be kind in return. Both of you will be better off. At least i have been much healthier and happier. More on this another time. Blessings to you.
(above clever reference to Free Willy may have been missed by some of you…for shame)