Quest for Faith – Part 5

So I have a confession. I’ve been seriously struggling with my faith, with Christianity, with what I believe. There are a lot of people, even Christian people, who have been very, very hurtful towards me with all the things I have been going through with my children, in fact attacks seem even worse coming from Christian people sometimes. I’ve been struggling with that as well as the way Christianity is practiced in America, having had the experience of growing up in a different culture where being a Christian doesn’t equal power and privilege and social conservatism. In fact I grew up in a culture where being a Christian wasn’t popular like it is in America.

I’ve been so disillusioned and frustrated that I’ve been exploring other religions, things that I have felt drawn to all my life and struggling against because I thought they were wrong. I’ve been exploring aspects of Paganism/Wicca/Witchcraft, because of some previous experiences. I’ve been deeply researching and keeping a journal and all of my experiences and thoughts. At first I thought it was all fitting like a glove, but I’m really not sure about that right now. I wasn’t going to ditch Jesus, I was looking to still worship God within the context of Paganism. Please understand that, while I was wanting to reject cultural Christianity, I didn’t want to reject Jesus.

I’m extremely frustrated with the political conservatism that is somehow connected with Christianity in the US. It seems so totally against what Jesus taught that it seems that it’s actually going against what he taught in so many places. And yet it’s so deeply entrenched in culture here that people don’t even realize it. While conservatives play the persecution of Christianity card, everyone else realizes that Christians aren’t persecuted in this country: not even close, they hold positions and power and privilege simply because of their Christian faith. This has been disappointing and frustrating when I have realized that people just don’t understand it.

And yet, the problem may not be everyone else and what I see as incompatible ideas. I claim that everyone else is hypocritical even though they are living what they genuinely believe, even if I believe that their expression of Christianity is wrong. But the problem with that is that even if I am right (which I may or may not be), is that I’m the biggest hypocrite I know. I’m the one that claims to be a pacifist (which I am) and yet yells at people when I’m frustrated. I claim to be against violence (and I am) and yet I say things violently when I’m having issues with my temper. So if I want to reject Christianity based on the behavior of other people, maybe I should reject it based on my own behavior.

This isn’t to say that all that stuff is excusable, it’s not. But like I’ve been working on in counselling, the only person I can change is myself, and if I focus on everyone else and what they are doing and how they hurt me, I’ll always be feeling bad and cynical. But if I focus on what I can do about how I’m feeling, well, that’s a whole lot better, and I can change that. 

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