Religious Fence Sitting

I am a fence sitter when it comes to religion. For some reason, ever since I became a Christian, I’ve been fascinated with all varieties of gods, goddesses, deities, etc. My family comes from a long line of Baptist preachers on my mother’s side, so I come by the Christian faith naturally, however it hasn’t just been Christianity that fascinates me. When I had my “Damascus Experience” on the way to work one day, I found Christ directly. No one preached to me the gospel or made me recite a “sinner’s prayer.” I tried to clean up my life and realized that I couldn’t do it and didn’t have to because God loved me through Jesus just as I was.

From there I began a 23 year long journey. I began in fundamentalist christianity and by various roads and doctrines, traveled through Lutheranism, Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, Paganism, Wicca, and finally back to Christianity-light. By that I mean, Christian faith without institutional loyalty. I settled in the (American) Baptist faith mainly because of fellowship. BUT…I find myself drawn to the Roman Catholic Church and its culture. Along the way I learned to appreciate other religions. I LOVE Hindu art; the rich colors, the imagination of it. But there are so many gods and goddesses, you kind of get overwhelmed. Each of them have a specific ritual too and that gets confusing.

hindu

I ventured into paganism and discovered the goddess while at college. I even incorporated goddess lore in my Master’s thesis, which compared the aspects of the female hero in 3 novels. I am particularly drawn to Gaia images. But wicca and nature religions also seem to worship the creature rather than the creator.

gaia

During my brief foray into Greek Orthodoxy I became spiritually intoxicated with icons (ikons). There is nothing like a Greek icon if you’ve never seen them before. They are incorporated within Orthodox worship resulting in a spiritual atmosphere that is unrivaled in holiness. The incense, the chanting, I love it.

icon

Yet, the Orthodox’ feud with the Roman Catholic church is troublesome because it’s clearly a battle of cultures and nothing more (unless you count the filioque argument). The Roman bishop claimed supremacy over Christendom while the Orthodox bishop said, “I don’t think so!” (My paraphrase) and the battle was on. Roman Catholic icons hold appeal as well but are not fraught with strict creative guidelines as the orthodox icons are. Anyway, I love Italian art and architecture.

I also love the Sacrament of Confession and the Eucharist. I must say that I have the least problem with these two things. Confession is a great way to cleanse the conscience and the Eucharist is simply a gift. I have the most difficulty with Purgatory (don’t believe in it) and infant baptism (although I’m starting to see SOME basis for the practice). I feel an affinity for the saints since my journey through paganism opened my eyes to spirits all around us a lot more than my protestant brethren and “sistren ?” 🙂 allow or accept. But I digress.

I found myself back in Baptistland specifically because I find Roman Catholicism incredibly lonely. I’m a social person and love to be part of a group. The Greek Orthodox church was a whole Protestant group who converted en masse to the Orthodox church, so they were pretty social, but we moved to another state and that fellowship was short lived. So when we came to where we live now, the closest I came to good fellowship was the Baptist church. I don’t like their bibliolatry or their iconoclastic ways, but they study and discuss and that feeds my academic mind (even if it is only out of one book). Our Catholic church has no social life at all. No programs, no scripture study, no groups, etc. Online communities simply cannot offer the same kind of contact. So….I go to the Baptist church, teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, and hang out. Then I go to the Catholic church for Eucharist and Penance. If I could just incorporate both into one church……

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2 thoughts on “Religious Fence Sitting

  1. Dear Ann,

    I “chanced” onto your blog this morning and felt compelled to respond. In your exhaustive search of religions, it’s amazing that you ended up claiming Jesus as your Savior but, what I am afraid of is that you have created your own designer religion. When I use the term “religion”, here is what I mean; there is only one way that God has offered us the gift of salvation and that is only through believing in His Son Jesus and trusting Him. Religion, all religions are “other ways” and they are man’s attempt at reaching God on their own terms, instead of wholly accepting God’s plan of salvation. There are only really 2 choices, whole heartily accepting and believing God’s way, or, putting yourself into the role of god, and doing it “your way” or modifying, “God’s way,” as somehow to make His way, better. For sure, walking through life in a designer religion is a lot easer than walking in the pure gospel of Christ; because for one thing, you can show others how “open minded” you are and, you avoid informing people of God’s unfairness in only having “one way” and that, their way is not in line with God’s way. You say that you are “still seeking” and that is a good thing. I suggest that one seeks because they haven’t found what they are looking for.

    I am no longer seeking, I have studied the Bible and I understand most of God’s plan and why life is the way it is. I have a personal relationship with God (on His terms) through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I have a totally blessed life in my 55 years, witnessed miracles and something else, I have great peace in my life, a peace that comes through understanding my place in the universe by the grace of God and according to His plan. I encourage you to study God’s Word and instead of morphing God’s plan to a plan that is acceptable to you, willingly morphing yourself to mold into God’s plan. My concern for you is that on the day of judgment, it won’t go the way you think it will because seriously, about 2 seconds after we take our last breath, our opinions won’t mean much, only God’s Word will stand. Don’t let what is presented by Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23, happen to you. I would love to share the solid hope I have with you more, but,
    only if you want me to. It is a wonderful feeling to lay your head on your pillow at night and close your eyes knowing that you are totally right with God according to His plan. Feel free to email me if you have questions or would like to hear more. I have some information posted about myself and some of my interests on this website: http://www.oroville-eternal-riders.org/keith.htm I’m praying that the Lord will work inside your heart to bring you fully into that special relationship He wants you in. May the Lord richly bless you and, Merry Christmas, Keith Sorrels

  2. Thanks for the comment, Keith. I’m glad that you have it all figured out for yourself and that you experience peace. That’s great. As usual when most people merely “stop by” and haven’t read the other posts or haven’t read of the process I have gone through to get where I am, they assume that I haven’t read or studied the bible, haven’t prayed, (insert what you think I haven’t done here) or something to that effect. Everyone’s on a different path and even though Jesus is indeed the Savior, thank God we don’t have to follow any other way but his; not yours, not my neighbors, not those in my church. I’m glad you found what works for you, but you may rest assured that I, too, lay my head on my pillow at night in perfect peace and in God’s grace. Merry Christmas.

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