Vivian, of Liberal Life for the Navy Wife, posted on Momocrats a couple days ago. The subject? Christianity and Liberalism. A good conversation took place in the comments following and I briefly jumped in there myself to talk a bit about my issues (Sigh, why do I always make it about me? I’ll save that for another soul searching post). She so graciously replied and was very helpful – thanks again Vivian! But her post has lead to further discussions with my husband, deep thoughts in the shower and considerable mumbling to myself that now must spill out onto this blog. So, once again folks, here’s a little window into my current state of thinking.
Religion is an extremely personal issue. And because it is something based on faith- logic or rational thinking don’t always apply. I wouldn’t know where to begin to comment about the influence it’s had on the history of humankind, the making and breaking of nations or how it has inspired both violent wars and beautful acts of humanity. To say that it plays a part in modern day politics is an understatement to say the least.
Meanwhile, little ol’ me, landed on this planet 35 years ago. I was raised Protestant, attended a Catholic elementary and middle school and had the opportunity to live in two seperate Muslim countries for 5 of my developmental years. I love the Christian traditions of Christmas and Easter, I appreciate the beauty and ritual of Catholic mass and I find comfort when I hear the Muslim call to prayer.
Little ol’ me also seemed born to be a democrat, wearing a Mondale pin in 6th grade at Catholic school; my republican father was at a loss.
I consider myself both a spiritual person and a political person. I believe in God and have a fairly liberal value system. I totally think Jesus was a cool guy – the original hippie – bringing love, acceptance and really impressive miracles to anyone ready to listen. But Buddha seemed like an amazing guy too, and Mohammad. And so, in my own little way, I do unto others, try not to covet and love my neighbor, rich, poor, gay, Yankee fan, Red Sox fan (go sox), whatevs.
But here’s the problem for me. As a spiritual person, I think I should be able to find a place to worship God in my own right. And even more importantly, as my husband and I watch our children grow up, we want our two little boys to grasp the concept of religion, hear the stories of the bible and have a solid understanding about morality. But as an open-minded, liberal, Obama voting, (technically) Christian woman living in Florida, I can’t find a church to worship in to save my life (so to speak).
There are plenty of Catholic churches – tried and true, with unchanged traditions carried on for generations. But not for me.
There are endless protestant based churches, teaching the bible as literal truth with members eager to save my soul. Not for me.
And here’s the thing. If a liberal minded mommy like me were to drive into the parking lot of the majority of churches in these parts with my Obama, HRC and peace stickers trailing behind me on the bumper of my car… would I be tagged as a lost soul? A heathen?
Oh man. But, how come? Because I am pro-choice? Is it because I think Obama is the man? Am I going to hell because I think there should be women priests and homosexual couples should be allowed to marry? I just get this feeling, this little inkling, that I wouldn’t quite fit in. And I am quite sure I wouldn’t want to.
Please understand, I respect any person’s choice to worship as they may. Go for it, enjoy God the best way you see fit. I just bristle when my liberal values translate to others that I am NOT fit to worship and that God has no place in my life. There seems to be a lot of judging going on in church, and its not happening from the Man (or Woman) upstairs either.
Because here’s the thing, I have never felt more in tune with God in my life. I find true comfort in my beliefs that ALL people are equal. I feel right at home when a community is inclusive of all ideals and lifestyles. I think it makes a lot of sense to God that we pray for a peaceful end to this war. Having “green” values is a way to honor our planet. Come on now, I have a right to God as much as anyone else does.
So why am I having a problem finding a church? I honestly think politics has taken the organized Christian churches away from a lot of families like ours. Right or wrong, Christians have been recently deemed as right-winged, republican, conservative folk. Nothing like me at all. When people say “Jesus Saves”, I have to wonder if there is an asterisks by it saying “as LONG as you follow OUR very specific, kind of exclusive rules”. C’mon, I am pretty sure Jesus is cool with everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Even me.
So here my family sits, homeless and in need of a place to worship. I am tired of not knowing how to explain religion to my children. I fumble around with the birth story of Jesus at Christmas time. I don’t even GO there with his death around Easter – I just keep it to bunnies and purdy eggs. We don’t even have a bible in our home. I mean, this is rediculous! If we want to be liberal Christians, why can’t we?
Now I know, if I search hard and long, I will find something. Vivian even told me about Unity Churches and, wouldn’t you know it, there is one not far from here! I am tentatively looking into it. Unitarian churches are other good options, but there aren’t many around here. My good friend who recently moved back east, used to attend Glide Church in San Francisco and found an extraordinary community there. I told her to send a mission to Florida.
This topic has been a tough one for me. Like I said, Religion is so damn personal. I worry about offending. I worry about making generalizations. I worry about judging others unfairly while I have no right to. I worry I don’t know a damn thing about this topic and should really educate myself more. I worry I have accepted the assumption that Christianity is only for the conservative – and have given up too easily. I worry that even if I found a place for our family, we couldn’t give enough time to it anyway.
But, in this discussion, I am giving it my best shot. I am just little ol’ me, wanting to stay true to my own value system, searching for a community with like minded folk and hopefully, someday, offering my children the gift of spirituality. Yup, little ol’me, merely trying to get my head around what exactly that cool, peace loving, open-minded guy named Jesus would do.