December 30, 2008

A bit about religion and why it fits with me

I imagine that this post, more than others will make you either say good for her, or grit your teeth and say why does she see that. That's just the way religion is. You're either a fan, or not a fan of it. Well, I wasn't a fan, and yes, had the latter reaction for many years, but have now become a fan. But like any other participation thing I'm not going to tell you, my reader why you should do what I've done. That is not my place, I feel. I'd feel angered beforehand if somebody told me, 'you must believe in my way, or you're wrong" essentially.

I was born, and baptized in the United Church of Canada. We're a fairly liberal bunch, (or quite liberal in some views) in that we celebrate same sex marriages performed in our churches, embrace gay ministers, and generally are a pretty easy-going bunch while still worshiping Jesus.

Frankly I feel lucky. My church is a good place although I'm not a frequent attendee.

I got angry at religion, in general, due to the mistreatment of the native people of Canada and religious schools that children were shipped to, away from their communities, parents and friends. Such a terrible, inhumane thing to do! Generations of kids scarred, in the name of the Church doing the "right" thing. Grrrrr in a word. Wiki entry on the residential school system here How could God let that happen was my reasoning.

Then a youth pastor listened to me talking and said "you seem very angry at religion in general and shouldn't be". He explained that perhaps God isn't in control of all the religions, and churches that say they follow his edicts. He cannot be blamed for all of men's evils. Religion itself can't be blamed for the evil things some men do. I use the term "men" in a general sense there, not just specifically.

So, that got me thinking along this line, "if God isn't responsible for all of it, then why am I angry at him?" That led farther to the thinking that maybe, just maybe, I'd be asking him for help, if indeed I'd lost everything of value in my life. My husband and children gone. My house gone. My dog gone. My parents gone. No support system of family left. How I'd ask him for help. So, if I'd ask for help then, why not any day? Why wouldn't I take a minute, in the good times of my life, and ask for a bit of forgiveness, a bit of strength, and a bit of love. That's the turning point in my life when I opened that door and let in God.

Some discussions via email and chat with another person helped me find out where I wanted to be, in terms of my religion. I felt so weird that first bit praying. I felt awkward and strange and like 'what the heck am I doing talking to the air??" But a sense of calm really does overcome me anytime I pray, even a bit. A whisper, and then getting on with life. Even a thought of please, grant me forgiveness.

Some things that I've done in life just shouldn't have been. If I'd stopped and thought about what the Ten Commandments say, I'd not likely have done them. But I am human, sadly enough. :)

These days, sometimes, I pray a lot. For forgiveness for yelling at my kids when they don't deserve it. For snapping at my husband, and then feeling sorry. For alienating friends who care, but who are hurt by my stupid, thoughtless reactions to perceived hurts that don't exist. I ask for strength. For smarts to deal with all of this.

Maybe it helps. I hope so. Anyways, that's my take on religion and where it fits. Hope I didn't offend, and hope I explained it well.

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