Historically, I have avoided the topic of God/religion. It's a touchy subject. I've heard and seen enough to turn me away from it forever, personally. Don't get all riled up, now... It's just that it has been putting a bad taste in my mouth for a long time. People get in fights over it around dinner tables, in the street, and in the world. Now, I do think we need to fight for things that are important. What good is peace if we're all miserable? Sometimes we need to rock the boat we're in if that boat is going the wrong way. When people fight to make someone's life worse, not better...That bugs me.
I recently asked a pastor about pressure to be perfect. I thought a lot about what he said. He talked about the hypocrisy people see and hear about being a huge factor in turning away from church. So when he makes a mistake, it's not just him making a mistake, it's more people turning away from church. That's not to say that they don't understand that we're all human and we're all sinners... But who wants to be responsible for people turning away from church and was it really worth it to cuss out that ref? (Or whatever)...
Personally, I have a low tolerance for the cheese factor. I'm kind of a snob. I don't like theatrical lighting in church. I don't like it when the person preaching glows or their glasses are sparkling. I don't like forced, somber singing. I also don't like it when churches try to be like some kind of rock concert. Wow, I'm picky. Can I keep going? I will. Church clothes. Perfume! Also, if I hear you "speaking in tongues" I will want to slap you. I don't want to hear about Jesus filling your hole because I'm a TOTAL PERVERT and can't handle statements like that without having to hide my shame.
I'm getting off track here. I was saying how I've avoided the whole topic, and when confronted with it, have gotten by with polite smiles, nods and generic phrases.
Recently, though, I realized something. I WANT to know why people believe what they do. And they WANT to talk about it, I think. Hey! Endless wealth of interesting stuff to talk about! Now instead of feeling like people are trying to force their beliefs on me, and looking for the nearest exit, I ask them about it, and you know? It's been really cool! I'm so thankful for those who have been willing to share this deeply personal, intimate part of them. Your friend, your neighbor, your family member--they have so much more to them than you might think. Stuff they're thinking about and not sharing, that even if you don't agree with, could bring you closer to them and to understanding others in general. I would much rather talk about what Freud said about Moses than the weather.
Now my husband and I are having exciting conversations about something we generally avoided talking about before (differing opinions).
When I first started on this journey, people warned me that others would see it as an opportunity to recruit me. I get that. It's what people do. But here's the thing. I don't think this has been a problem. I'm focusing on you. Tell me your story. Tell me how you feel. Tell me why. Tell me what you know. If I keep asking and keep listening, instead of spouting a bunch of opinionated junk, that whole sales-pitch thing seems to go away. If you don't have an opinion to push against people don't try as hard to sell it that way. It's a more natural, simple, sharing of information.
I want to apologize for being so judgmental before. Maybe I didn't talk about it but I really saw religious people in a certain light that I am ashamed of. It's true, and I want you to know that my eyes are open now and I see that I was wrong. I'm sorry for my ignorance.
I hope I haven't offended too many people with this post. People of earth, keep on being awesome. I love getting to know you.