You know, I really like this blog. I haven’t been able to update as much as I would like, but in the autumn life begins to slow down and become a bit more scheduled.
I love summer—how can anyone not? The freedom, the heat…(well, maybe not the heat so much…it’s too hot here)…the pool, snocones, cookouts, how daylight lingers into the evening.
Two weeks ago as I was walking to my car in the morning I felt it.
Just a whisp, a breath, of cool—very cool—air. For a moment I thought I imagined it but no—it came again. Sliding over my skin, promises of crisp mornings and luscious afternoons and pumpkins and hay and change and the coming death of the year.
Slowly, the shade has become cooler. The mornings are breezy, the afternoon’s dry instead of muggy and close. Autumn, my favorite season, is on its way.
One of the things that sets me apart from conventional, conservative evangelical Christianity (CCEC) is some sense of nature that I’ve always had. It sounds hokey—but I was, and am always aware of…the outside world. I’ve always been drawn outside as a storm is coming (even if I don’t know it). I feel the seasons changing though my husband laughs and says, “Autumn? It was 105 degrees today.”
To Western, logic minded, nature-is-dead folks it sounds silly. To CCECs it’s silly and slightly dangerous. Nature is to be controlled and though they might make token statements about ‘steward’-ship, caring for the environment is all based in a Christian’s eschatology. For most CCECs Jesus will eventually come back to restore all things, and meanwhile the world burns. That’s simplistic, of course but the gist of it.
It’s the same feeling that lead me away from the church before, that I tried to suppress during my evangelical years and that I still find unaccounted for. The evangelical voice in my head tells me that it’s silly and I give it too much weight. Sometimes that same little nattering voice tells me that it’s sinful, wrong and will lead me out of the faith and you know…on the path of hell/no relationship with Christ/God/whatever.
It sounds dramatic, but it brings up some good points about my spiritual life and life in general:
1. I let fear control waaaaaaaay too much of my life, even my thought processes
I was going to go on, but I think that summarizes it.
What am I supposed to do? Deny these feelings? Deny that I….while I believe that Jesus is a historical figure, and that his teachings are beautiful and difficult, and it makes sense to me that a Creator/Spirit would send an example of how we should live with overwhelming, sacrificial love…I’ve never felt that was all. I’ve always felt there was more.
I feel like a cat. I paw at the unfamiliar, circle and sniff it. However, I can’t let go enough to pounce on it and sink my teeth in. I’m too afraid. Of what people will think…of what my husband will think, my family, my friends…I’m afraid of leaving my church.
I also vacillate on how much I care. Some days it seems like nothing is more important than figuring this out and creating a place for myself. Other days I see it for what it is: foolish.
There is no box. I mean. There is, in a limited, dogmatic fashion. There is the box of CCEC beliefs. While not a box to some, it is a box to me. There is the box of I-Hate-Christians who are so blinded by their own bitterness (valid or not) that they can’t see into the deep beauty of the faith. There is the box of New-Ageism. Boxes of yoga. Boxes of our own fear. Boxes of everything. (Little boxes on the hillside…)
I confess: I like the box. It’s comfortable. I’m an introvert and I like crawling in with my book light, a cup of tea and an escapist novel, closing the flaps and chilling in my own little boxy world. It’s great. Comfortable. Comforting.
It’s not real, though. There’s a world outside the box. A world that is valid, that has something to say, that contains truth.
I think what I’m confirming, to myself, is that…I don’t (think) I believe there is only one way. How would that be possible? How can that be possible?
It makes me uncomfortable though. I don’t say this lightly, but I can’t deny that that is what I…feel…to be true. My feelings and instincts mean a lot to me.
I want someone to talk to. Someone—someone who questions. The only perspective I ever get is CCEC…it’s the community I’m in. And yoga, of course, but that’s different. We don’t really discuss religion and philosophy overmuch. Just in generalities.
It’s curious that Autumn always brings out the…discontent in me. It’s like that feeling pushes at me a little bit, whispers with the breeze: “listen to me, listen to me, listen to me; don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid; don’t be afraid.” I am afraid. But I think…I think I’ll start walking into that fear.
What’s there really to be afraid of?
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