Hello, Gigglers! Welcome to Faith Forays. This is a place where I will both talk about the events of today’s world through the lens of my own personal faith, as well as ask you how your faith informs your day to day. I want this to be an open, safe space for any faith population.
Let me start by sharing with you a little bit of my story. I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home. If you don’t know what that means, picture the far right end of Christianity. The very far right end, the one that thinks Republicans are next to godliness and that all bodily illness can be cured with prayer. I was home-schooled with my four siblings. It was kind of like the Duggars, just with a little bit less kids. Oh, and I was allowed to wear shorts. My parents were pastors, and I was constantly in church.
Since then, I’ve moved on, in a lot of ways. I’m no longer connected to that brand of Christianity in any way. I still label myself a Christian, and my faith does influence what I do and say. But I have frequent moments of doubt, just like anyone else. There are times when I want to just be done with Christians and church and the whole thing. Each time another public figure makes headlines condemning a people group, I want to just weep. I’m so upset by the public face of Christianity, and how it has become this intolerant symbol of hate.
I’m still in transition on my journey of faith. I know where I stand on some things, but not others. I struggle to love those whose words and actions are hurtful. I’m not quite sure what I believe as far as heaven and the afterlife and what that looks like. The basic tenants of my personal faith are love and service, grace and mercy. The kind of God I want to believe in isn’t a man with a white beard, perpetually angry at the citizens of the planet. The God I want to believe in loves, serves, gives grace and is merciful. I firmly believe that God wants me to be happy, and that the things that I love to do are the things I was made to do.
I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t want to pretend like I even have it all together. I’m not a theologian and I’m certainly not an expert, but I think my background has informed me enough to talk about this sort of thing with some degree of knowledge. I might talk about the evolution of my faith journey, and I might talk about current events and issues through my own faith lens. I really want to hear your thoughts, no matter if you have a religious affiliation or not!
As highly private as religion can be, there are also all sorts of faith experiences that we can all share in. The feeling of disillusionment as we grow out of the faith of our parents. The contentment that comes from knowing what, exactly, it is you believe in – even if what you believe in is just that the idea of god isn’t real for you. The hope that springs from belief in something eternal, whatever that something is.
The evolution of our personal faith speaks to the very core of who we are. It can sometimes be difficult to articulate the growth I’ve had in my faith journey, because the person I was five years ago only vaguely resembles who I am now. My faith and belief are integral parts of me, but I’m pretty sure if you’d have told a younger me about the sort of faith I’d practice in the future, she would have been horrified. But as I’ve learned and grown, I have felt like my faith has helped me come into myself, into who I was always meant to be.
What about you? Do you find it difficult to define your spirituality, or lack of, as you grow older? Do you have your own personal faith evolution?