Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ

I had a whole different post today. But since this is my one and only forum to have a public freak-out here goes.

I live in the BIBLE belt.

I thought this was a misnomer. Growing up here I went to church on Sundays and sometimes a spaghetti dinner on Wednesday night. I sang in the choir. I did my Sunday school lessons.

But not once did I know of anyone who talked of "Him." "His Glory" or "His Bride"(I don't even know what that means). Being "righteous" meant helping others and being kind. It didn't mean you followed every dogmatic belief of a church with big screens. I'm very uncomfortable with the notion of being "a warrior/soldier" for Jesus. As far as I can remember Jesus was the exact opposite of anything having to do with war. Even the figurative kind.

Today in Birmingham I can't go get coffee without every table hosting an open Bible, I can't read a local article without it starting with "As a Christian" (which, unless you follow that statement with some statement explaining Christianity to an unknowing public - you really should just say, "Since I'm better than you"). In my zip code decorative metal or wood crosses are attached to almost every wall around a home inside and outside - like a horde of vampires is about to have it's way with the metropolis. And as a Stay-At-Home mom I can't socialize without also discussing various church things. I've found most stay-at-home moms are religious in nature.

So here it is. I am not a Christian.

But I like church. I used to go frequently. Even though I don't believe that Jesus is the son of God. I like the ritual of church, I like hymns, I usually like the messages. It's a meditative act. I planned on taking 'Lil D to church because Sunday school can be fun.

And I don't have a problem with people who are religious (if anything I'm so damn envious of that certainty!) but it's shoved down my throat on a literal minute to minute basis here at such an intense level that I feel increasingly alone, isolated, and judged. Like I'm the sole survivor of a zombie apocalypse. I don't believe the world has fallen. I believe the world is beautiful.

I haven't pulled the trigger on joining the Meet-Up group Birmingham Secular Moms (yes, that exists here) because one of the qualifications is that you are "non religious." But I'm not an atheist. I believe that churches do good works. I believe in a God, a force, a spirit, something greater than ourselves. I pray. I pray a lot.

I wish I could just change my mind because my life would be so much easier here.

But when you get down to brass tacks I am not a Christian and I haven't been since I was 14.
But I'm not non-religious either.

Someone please find me a box to check.

The one that loves to sing Easter hymns and read Proverbs and believes Jesus had a great message but doesn't feel the need to be a "soldier in His army."


Katherine said...

when i lived in sc i learned about wednesday night church. didn't really know that was a "thing", even though i grew up in the church. (and am well versed in "his glory" and the church as "his bride"). so sunday morning, sunday evening, and wednesday night church. lots of church. the Bible Belt is alive and thriving.

sorry you're feeling stuck in uncategorized/no-mans land. from what i know of jesus, he is quite okay with that. some of his followers probably aren't, but they are not as...important as they think they are sometimes. or- i should say- we are. (i am one, but want to distance from the rest sometimes with the whole us/them thing that happens. but then i create us/them all over again, which doesn't really help does it?)

it's a journey. i appreciate your candor.

Pirtle said...

The UU Church might be interesting to you, and there's one in Birmingham. http://www.uucbham.org/unitarian-universalist-qa/

Daisy said...

Thanks everyone - I have been thinking about trying the UU church and some others around town. The problem is guilt (isn't it always?). My family has gone to one church here in Bham for over 100 years and I feel terrible guilt for not going there. It tugs at my heartstrings to imagine B doing the same things in the same place as I did with her great-grandmother looking on.

I've struggled with this since I took world history or world religions or something like that in 8th grade. Right after I pressed send I was immediately consumed with "Do I really think this?"

Whenever I have been a believer (off and on since that fateful class) I feel the exact same way "wanting to distance from the rest." And then I get so turned off I just retreat....

So many more blog posts can be written about this! But I loved hearing from others. Thank you.