Coming out...

I haven't written a lot lately, and that's probably a good thing.

I went to a concert the other week, and the singer remarked "I don't write songs when I am hula hooping in the backyard in the sunshine." I don't either. I use this blog to sort out difficult ideas and emotions, to put them on paper and see what they look like. It's not a daily diary, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking - I have actually been doing quite the opposite.

I feel like I just came out of the closet.

I just told my sister-in-law about my recent views on religion and that I go to the Unitarian Universalist church. I have shared my views with close friends, other devout Christians, and even family members. Though this was the first time I have shared them with someone who was close to me, who I knew would find fault with them.

I didn't go into the same level of detail with my grandmother about my views, but to the extent that I shared my biggest differences in theology, I felt like there was a reasonable agreement to disagree. That she respected my search and understood my perspective. I felt like my sister-in-law was left with the simple conclusion that I was wrong and I was doomed to hell. I think her biggest fears are that I am going to lead her kids, particularly my niece who looks up to me, into the fires of hell along with me (and all the other UU's). After our conversation I almost want to write a book just to explain my point of view and how I see Jesus and how he fits into my wider views on spirituality. It would certainly take that long to explain it all in detail...

I think the biggest break I have made is with my own ability to grasp "truth... and by that I mean the nature of God and the universe. I think Plato does a good job of describing this in his allegory of the cave. This also means I do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible (or any holy book) which is a precursor to everything else most fundamentalists believe.

I feel like the Bible, for the most part, becomes almost an idol for most Christians. Without TOTAL faith in every word of the Bible it becomes untenable to support the spiderweb of claims which underpin "Southern Christianity." By acknowledging that there are imperfections I free myself to, as Jefferson said, "separate the diamonds from the dung." I found his work, to be particularly helpful in at least beginning the process of sorting out my own views. I had not realized what I stranglehold it had on me and the extent that it kept me from seriously considering other viewpoints (at least without an overly critical skepticism). The book that was most helpful in this process was One Bible, Many Voices: Different Approaches to Biblical Studies, By Susan Gillingham.

I feel liberated.

I am taking classes at the Buddhist center right now and reading several books. I am also enjoying a class at the UU called Heart to Heart , which was actually written by a former minister here at the Church I go. It's based on the idea of open sharing and deep, deep listening that we often don't get a chance to do. I feel like I have finally opened myself up, admitted my own ignorance and and finally started SEARCHING again. It's a good feeling.

I also feel challenged.

I was asked to give a brief outline of my views during an inter-generational service at church in a few weeks. It's not a big deal, but I respect quite a few people at the congregation and I am taking this very seriously, both for myself, and for them. I really do want to be able to state rather clearly and succinctly what I believe and define an outline for how to live my life.

I feel like the entire point of my life thus far has been the search for meaning and purpose, but I have never sat down and written out what I believe. It has been an overarching goal for the past few months to sort all of this out and I am glad I was finally given a due date for the assignment.