Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Grace

Eek. You may all run screaming from my blog after this. But the topics of faith and church going have been quite prevalent in the reading I've been doing lately ( Toddled Dredge, Shilly, Shally, Dilly Dally?: Seeing is Disappearing, to name just a few) and Bub and Pie noticed it, too (Bub and Pie: Church#links).

I, too, have all sorts of issues and questions about church and faith and God. I know there are a lot of Christians out there who give us a bad name (such as the people who "witness" ala the outline in B&P's post). But for some reason, I feel like I need to stand up and say (or sit down and type) this:

This is what I believe: God loves me, and he loves you. It matters not who you are, where you live, whether you believe in him or not, or what you have done in your past (or are doing now, or will do in the future). He loves you, he loves me, and His GRACE is sufficient. And that is why I go to church.

And if you disagree with me, you can still be my friend.

12 comments:

ewe are here said...

I won't be running screaming from your blog. ;-)

I have to admit, though, I believe more in the idea of a collective conscious (someone else wrote about this on a blog I read lately, and for the life of me, I cannot remember who! help...? ) then a specific higher power. That's not to say I don't go to church on occasion. I do. But it's random. Although I consider myself an Episcopalian, I use the 'am' loosely. And often I go to church's just because I want to sit quietly in the back, listen to the organ, and think quietly.

Sober Briquette said...

Other things I have shared previously that were part of my deleted posts:

My father went to Princeton as a religion major and came home an atheist, much to the disappointment of his family, who hoped he'd be a minister. My mother continued to teach Sunday school when my siblings were young, but by the time I was born, I wasn't even baptised.

My husband and my kids are Catholic. My daughter goes to Catholic school. Because Lorenzo is only two, we don't attend church - I was going to say very often, but really, ever. I keep thinking I'm going to find out about their conversion classes and take the plunge. But it's hard.

And I know it's hard for people who are certain about their faith, too. Perhaps that's why it's called "practicing" a religion.

As B&P noted, I have considered joining the UU church, but why split the family? It's still an option, I guess if I start the classes and feel like too much of a hypocrite.

My post was unfinished, unresolved. I just haven't the time and ability to concentrate to be a decent writer. What I would have included is this: The feeling of fading away at first seems menacing, so foreign to the anxious questing I have done all my life, but in fact, to fade away into oneness with God (or the universe, or collective consciousness - whatever one believes) would be solace.

jen said...

ah...such a tricky topic. for believers, and in this and other western countries - it's christianity. in other places, Allah. Buddha. And to each their faith in their chosen divinity is critical. and has proven polarizing. see, someone at the end of the world needs to be right for all of this to have made sense. or no one is right. but either way, a lot of people will be disappointed.

and for those who do believe, it's so important that others do so too. i appreciate individual's faith in their divinity, but struggle with the "this one is the right one". but i suppose that is where the faith comes in.

i could write a bazillion posts on this, which is probably why i don't write a single one. but when good people (you) declare their faith i think it is lovely. i've seen time and time again in this realm (at least our little corner of it) the okay-ness of sharing and believing without all the other issues (judgment and ire) that sometimes accompany it.

Christine said...

I want to learn more about grace. This is a topic we almost never talked about in catholic school. Lately i see that word everywhere. i am not kidding here. i'm serious. I really think it might mean something. . .

niobe said...

For me, G-d is not really the problem. It's, y'know, people that I have serious problems with.

thirtysomething said...

I am with Niobe on this one. God, Buddha, Allah, or whichever name each group of believers attaches to their Higher Power--it is people's reactions that matter the most and make such an impact.
I am not a church-going person. Thankfully, I was given a choice at the age of 13 and only recently set foot back inside the doors of one (that was only because I allowed my boys to attend VBS for three evenings one week after they beeged me endlessly)I find congregations to be stifling, regulating and silently judgemental, but it also may just be my experiences. Of course, then there are all the preachings and teachings that the "church" throws at it's followers.
I consider myself a very spiritual person though and I find that religion and spirituality are polar opposites of one another. God is as you say, there for anyone regardless of whether or not they wish to be a member of a church (constructed by man I might add)
I think each person should ask themselves this thought-provoking question. "Why do I believe what I believe?"
We may explore a deeper part of ourselves and realize that we are simply regurgitating what was fed to us for years, without really fully understanding why.
Sorry for the long response! Great post. Profound topic.

painted maypole said...

I'm loving all the thoughtful responses here. Thank you. Jen, I think that faithful people do indeed want others to believe what they believe, but unfortunately I think the reason and the approach is often all wrong. It should not be about wanting someone to "fix" their life and not "burn in hell," but rather to find love and joy and peace. THAT to me is a message worth sharing. And Christine... Grace. Yeah, we Lutherans are all about Grace. Good ol' Martin Luther turned all that penance stuff on its head and started talking about Grace. I wish I could think of a good book to recommend to you to read more about the theology and practice of Grace, but of course, I can't. Max Lucado stuff is pretty good in general, and I bet he's got a book about Grace.

And do I think I have all the answers and have God all figured out. Nope. I wish I did. But if I had it all figured out, I wouldn't need God, would I? I think someday I'll come face to face with God and slap myself on the forehead and say "d'oh! I had that all wrong, didn't I?"

And now that my comment is longer than my original post....

slouching mom said...

I appreciate the inclusiveness in your post. All too often religion is used to exclude.

Beck said...

That's such a lovely, kind post. I'm never sure how much of my faith I should include in my post, or how much of it shines through.
I've tagged you, by the way.

bubandpie said...

Reading these comments, it has occurred to me that the reason I go to church is that I am NOT, by nature, a spiritual person.

thailandchani said...

Another interesting post.

I am, above all, a religious pluralist. All faiths are equal in my mind, just different forms of communication. In that regard, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist or any other faith, I consider it as a denomination. The whole point of theology is to get beyond it to a sense of oneness.

So... I only part company with missionary types who are exclusionary, mostly by the implication that they have the key to the one and true way and that everyone who doesn't believe similarly is a heretic.


Peace,

~Chani

Furrow said...

I'm awfully late to this party, but I see I'm not the only one. I think it's kind of cool that I also wrote a faith (lost faith, but still..) post that week. Such synchronicity is the kind of thing that makes me want to believe again. And really, I guess I do -- begrudingly.