Friday, January 25, 2013

Confessions of a Spiritual Wanderer



I want you to know, I've tried. I've really tried. I've tried Catholicism. I've tried Evangelical. I've tried Episcopal. They don't work for me. It's not the people. The people are fine for the most part. There are some bad apples in every barrel, of course, but I'm beginning to think the problem is me.

I'm like one of those people who is in failed relationship after failed relationship, desperate to find The One to spend the rest of their life with. One day, after another agonizing breakup, they realize that the only common denominator in every relationship is...them.

Except, of course, that's not true when you're talking about spirituality. There's another common denominator: God. The real analogy is this: You're in a relationship, and the other person refuses to communicate. So you read one relationship book after another, trying to get them to open up. But they won't.

That's the 800 pound gorilla in the room that you're not supposed to talk about, right? Whether you're Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon... you're not supposed to blame God. It's always your fault.

I'd rather be an atheist, and just say fuck the whole thing, but I can't. Atheist arguments make a great deal of sense to me, but to me, the existence of the universe and humanity is enough circumstantial evidence for some kind of creator.

I'd rather be Rachel Held Evans, who wrote this fabulous post about how she will always chase after Jesus in spite of her doubts. I've got the doubt part down, but the Jesus part...not so much.

I'm tired of asking questions that have no answer. I'm tired of asking questions that other people don't seem interested in. I'm tired of people telling me I sound angry.

And most of all, I'm tired of pretending that I'm lost in the "spiritual wilderness" and that somewhere out there is "spiritual civilization". That's a lie. The wilderness is the only reality. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

The real problem with the wilderness is the loneliness. I understand why people like church - it's a group of (mostly) like minded people that you can go on the journey with. Misery loves company. 

My wife is not at the same point in her journey. My friends aren't at the same point in their journey. Most of the people I interact with online aren't at the same point in their journey's. 

I'm alone. But aren't we all? Aren't we all on a different journey? Aren't the people in churches/temples/mosques just pretending they're all the same?

Well, maybe some of them are. But maybe they're just choosing to emphasize the sameness and de-emphasize the differences, at least for the length of the service. Maybe that's a good thing.

(As long as it doesn't lead to hatred, attempts to deny others their rights, or The Crusades).


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