Faith, Me, and that darn Religion

It has been a while since I have written anything that has to do with my spirituality or my religiousness. Lately it seems that my faith in God has become a private matter for myself. There is so much diversity around me on the subject that I find it best most of the time to keep it to myself.

I live in a very conservative Christian environment. I, however, am not. I come into odds with them over my differences in beliefs a lot. See, I have separated faith from religion. I believe the two have everything in common, yet on the basic level, not so much. For me, faith is a journey with God. Religion is just a platform of doctrine to bring one closer to God. Like I said, I believe they go hand-and-hand together but at the end of the day and setting all that doctrine aside, God  presence is there regardless. So, as I struggle with trust issues with religion, I still hold a strong faith in God. Maybe this sounds weird but this is what I feel and believe.

With that said, I am still moving forward with joining the United Methodist Church. I have so much respect for this church that I find it to be a safe place for me. Yes, my conference of the UMC is pretty conservative but I am not going to let that scare me. Interesting enough, I look past that. I see a church that is big on humanitarian missions and a strong belief in social justice.

I guess the question I must ask myself is why return to Christianity?

Many years ago I took a very fanatical approach to religion. For so long after leaving this fanaticism, I could not come up with an answer to why I went down this route. I was only with a fanatical group of Christians for a couple of years. Within that time I was very sick with anxiety attacks. I truly believed that there doctrine was the only way a person can have a relationship with God. Well, their doctrine was wrong and very hurtful to others out side of it. Sad part, there was so many good people in its ranks, misguided and clueless. I also noticed some other things going on that I didn’t like nor understand, which ended up being the deciding blow that gave me the willpower to leave. I was so scared and faced an insurmountable pain from the dissociation. In the end it was all worth it, I am so glad and proud of myself for leaving.

Judaism came into play after all the mess. I have to admit, if I would have happened to be single person at the time, I would be a Jew now and very proud one at that. Sadly, and to make a long story short, it just wasn’t meant to be. If I ever become single for whatever reason, there is no doubt that I would  give consideration in pursuing conversion again. This is about all I want to say on that.

Returning to Christianity, it was a hard choice. I mostly did it for my family. I still struggle with the understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. I guess that is the whole point of my journey with God. It seems that the struggle seems to bring me closer to God. I would prefer not struggling but I guess there is not much fun in that or enlightenment.

I still have a long way to go but I am getting somewhere with the doctrine. Yes, the doctrine. For me, the doctrine of the church scares me to no end. I have worked diligently for change in my thinking on what liturgy and Holy Scripture means to me. My past thinking on this important stuff is very uncomfortable for me. I just can’t handle thinking that way anymore. Heck, I don’t even really want to try.

Anyway, this is basically what is happening on my religious front. Always subject to change because that is just how I am. Religiously Challenged.

I think I will write about my faith struggles soon. There has been a lot thrown at me the last three years. I guess there is always something happening.

Thanks for reading!

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6 responses to “Faith, Me, and that darn Religion

  1. Religion is never easy; but sometimes it is also what make sit interesting.

  2. I think that religion is based on rituals and difference between “sacrum” and “profanum”. In my country there is a lot of religious people, but we also have a lot of chock-full prisons, where most people were taught by their parent what to do in religious sense. So religion can’t change human heart and give answers on hot questions.
    Religion isn’t answer. Real answer is Jesus Christ, not denomination or church. If You have good, personal relationship with God, religion will fade… Religions are made up by people, God is above religions.

    • Hi Zim, sorry for the slow response back. Had a really awful week last week and just sapped the energy right out of me.

      Is religion foolish? I just don’t think so. Yeah, it does seem that our world is deeply troubled. But I do have a concern about Jesus being the only answer to these troubles. I like to stick with facts most of the time due to my inability to stray away from black and white thinking. So, after 2000 years of the Gospels, the world doesn’t seem much better. I’m not saying Jesus’s kingdom of God message was wrong, I think it was brilliant.

      As a person living with mental illness, I have learned that I can’t change my environment I face everyday, but I can change the way I react to my surrounding environment.

      My thought is, God nor religion can change a person’s heart. Only that person can. I feel that religion is a tool that God gave use to help with that process. That is why I feel faith and religion go hand in hand.

  3. James, do You believe that You can be the friend of God?
    Can God change people’s heart? Yes, He can. He changed my life – I was in the cult. I made a lot of bad things. But when I met Jesus – everything has changed and is changing – if I hadn’t known Him, I would be probably dead or in the prison today. We in Poland have one very wise proverb: Who do you stop, so you become. If You have deep relationship with Jesus, He will change You by His Holy Spirit, His Word (Bible), by other people…
    Religions are made up by people, who were searching Live God. Some of them teach good truths, but none of them can save You. It is good to have one good community in church, but none church will save You – nor pastor, nor priest, nor pope or You by yourself. We as people are too weak for saving yourself – Bible sais more – nobody can be saved by our works.
    I also had big problems with my mental health, so Your experiences aren’t strange for me.
    I will pray for You.

    • Zim, I would have to agree to disagree on the subject of change. See, I believe in free will. Some were along the line, I think a person has to make a choice rather they want to know God or not. Yes, I believe that a person can be transformed by the Holy Spirit. However, I believe that the person has to want to change to make that transformation possible.

      I think I will answer your question, “Do You believe that You can be the friend of God?” It is going to be a short one. Honestly, I don’t know the answer.

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