G.K. Chesterton: "These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own."
Why in the world am I even going to tackle this topic? Well - because it has been on my mind.
I say this (jokingly as far as western minds are concerned) but in Arabic it makes sense. I am going through a little jihad, if you will. Jihad translates to holy war. Not so much with other people (that would be a literal translation, and even in Islam - it's not what it means.. literally.) I am going through what all Muslims go through - and that is a holy war within myself.
For those of you new to my blog - I am a christian (catholic to be exact.) I do live with a Muslim. Most of my friends are either one of two things - Super Duper believers or straight up atheist or agnostic, mixed in with a slew of Muslims and sprinkling of Buddhist, Pagans and Jews.
Let me break it down even more - My closest friends in the world are probably more agnostic than anything else. My co-workers are all super-duper protestant. VERY active in their respective churches. I volunteer at my church as a youth leader (and all of the other volunteers are very dedicated to the church.) My hubby follows Islam (as well as all of his friends and there is no in between mu slim. Either you follow it or you don't.) My sis is a pagan, and my parents are non practicing catholics.
I hint at it during the holy months, and mention from time to time - but guess what folks? I hope it doesn't turn you off - But I am very spiritual. Very. Yes, I pray to God. I do believe in God. God the Father to be exact. I do believe he had a son and his name was Jesus. I believe Mary was a virgin. I believe in angels and demons. All of it. Holy water, crucifixes, the works.
I am a rational, intelligent, worldly human being. I have studied most world religions and I respect everyones right to believe what they want. I believe in free will.
What I am getting at is - I get SICK of defending my belief, if by chance it comes up in conversation.
Growing up in the south you have to understand one thing - I am in Southern Baptist country. These people are nothing like the Presbyterians or Lutherans or Episcopalians you might know up north. Noooo... there are sooo many denominations and they are (for the most part) anti-catholic. I spent my entire life having to educate my fellow "Christians" on where their belief comes from. Ask the average Baptist or Church of Christ member (etc.) where their belief system originated - honestly, most could not tell you. I am not speaking about the entire lot - I mean in general. Half do not even realize that I am a Christian.
Then there is explaining to my Muslim family and friends why I think God would need to have a son. (It is a dead end conversation, I can tell you.) I have my husband who literally prays for my conversion (or reversion - since Muslims believe everyone is born a Muslim - we convert to other religions. PS - to be a Muslim means you believe in one true God.) You can imagine what it is like when my hubby wants to sit me down and discuss my damned soul.
Then there are my bright and wonderful friends who think the whole idea of organized religion is a sham. Or my pagan sister who sees Christianity as a patriarchal dictatorship. Or listen as she has taught my 4 year old niece to say, "Let's say the prayer to the Goddess," before we have our meals. The same niece she chose to have baptised in the catholic church and deemed me her Godmother. Which means in my religion - I am responsible for her Christian upbringing, but clearly I am not in a position to do so. Or to be told how can I be soo smart, and believe in a figment of my imagination by my atheist friends.
I typically choose to refrain from discussing these things. How do you explain faith? You can't. At least - I can't. Of all the things in the world I know how to explain - my relationship and belief in a higher power is something I cannot put into words.
As corny as it sounds - it is something I know in the depth of my being. It is something I feel. It is something I have experienced.
Yes - I believe in evolution. But I believe that was GOD putting things into motion. Yes I believe there are scientific reasons behind miracles in the Bible - again - can't that be the magic of God? Also, yes - I believe there are several stories in the Old Testament (Torah) that were written or passed down more so as a story to teach a lesson. (Even the catholic church teaches that.)
Yes - I believe that homosexuality is genetic. I don't know why. But I believe there can be things that go a little fuzzy during the creation of human life. Perhaps there are lessons to learn there, on how we treat our fellow man, when the wants and attraction does not lead to procreation. It is not for me to understand or judge. That is God's job.
Yes - I believe all life is sacred. No, I do not agree with abortion. Any person I know who has had one, and I was in their life, knows my thoughts on that. But it is NOT my place to pass judgement. That is an issue between them and God.
Yes, I think birth control is perfectly okay. Especially between married couples. Yes, I think you should wait to have sex until you get married. Does it always happen? Nine times out of ten - no. Did I wait? No. Do I think that decision was wrong? Yes. But I was an adult, and made that decision knowing full well what I was doing.
I do not support capital punishment. I think that is playing God. I believe in rehabilitation. I also think that anyone who has the mindset to murder, clearly is not well. You can still function in society and not be mentally well.
I HATE explaining my beliefs. Hate it Hate it Hate it. I wish it were "socially acceptable" among Christians to just keep it personal. But apparently it is not. At least not in these parts. They don't call it the Bible Belt for nothing.
I titled this post - Exorcising while Exercising - because I have to tell you, I feel most alive and cleansed when I am exercising. I am usually alone (well - in a room, but I don't know anyone) - and I am forced to deal with myself. In my head, I talk to God. It is one time I can just CLEANSE.
I feel such pressure from my husband, from my non believing friends, from my believing friends - all of them. I wish we could all just be left alone to believe what we believe. I find such peace in my spirituality. I wish humans would not judge me so. I try really hard to keep it to myself, and let you live your life the way you want to. Again - I don't think any of us have it all together, but I believe I have found something that speaks to me.
Yes, it throws me off to see those I love not believe in God. (PS - God is Allah and Yahweh or G-D.) Yes, it pains me to see those I love suffering in life, and (because of what I believe) I think a lot of that suffering is a way to draw them closer to God to find comfort. But that is my faith. It is not a game, or a fad or whatever. I don't turn my nose up at organized religion, but I do not condemn you for choosing to practice your spirituality in anyway you choose.
This "jihad" of sorts is just me - who tries to keep her mouth shut about it all, and just stick to her prays, and her candles and her Eucharist - and just do what I know is right... but I am not one who can stay quiet. As private as this is for me - sometimes it just wells up and I have to release it all.
I am surrounded by people who are different. I love that. But at the same time - at the core values - (as my husband says) - there will always be that invisible wall - the strongest wall of all.