I had a discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago (well, an email discussion - a little different than in person but hey, he lives in Waco, it's kind of hard to meet face to face when he's 500 miles away. Although I wish he was closer, I miss him lots.) Sorry, got off on a tangent there but have to do a shout out to Kelly - thanks my friend.
What he said basically amounted to this: that there is a whole, big world out there beyond the usual confines of what evangelical Christianity offers, that god is bigger than any church or organization "and faith can be a new spiritual consciousness that can leave behind the tribal allegiances that less mature Christians cling to." Before this conversation, I was more inclined to say the opposite - that if there was a god he wasn't anyone I wanted to be a part of. Despite my many years of work in church and ministry, I have been increasingly disillusioned with what I saw as "god in a box" and never saw the results of what was suppose to be a life-transforming experience. It just never happened for me and for the most part, I never saw it happen in others either.
This persistent doubt has been nagging me for years, I just never said anything about it. Until now. The past few months I have finally "come out of the closet" to close friends. And my friend in Waco was one that I felt I could trust enough to say "I don't know about god anymore."
With this admittance has come a feeling of freedom. Despite what many believe, this isn't a spiritual crisis; it's a spiritual rebirth. I'm starting from scratch, rebuilding my past narrow view of what god is and how he relates to me. And with that, a freedom that I have never experienced before.
In some ways, this isn't easy to write, it's a huge thing to admit. But I decided that tonight, on Christmas Eve, I was going to give myself the best present in the world - peace. I'm tired of pretending; this has been a huge weight on my shoulders and I just can't carry it anymore. I hate hypocrites and I have honestly felt like one for many years.
Last week I had a moment a clarity. It was after a particularly intense prayer session; I was driving along when I looked up to see the mountains shrouded in clouds. At that moment my friends words popped into my head and I thought to myself "god made those mountains." And I believed it.
Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible?