22.2.12

{Redemption}

Something profound happened to me on Sunday.

I went to church.

Now for anyone that knows me or even somewhat regularly reads my blog knows that is the norm for me.

I've gone to church since I was born. Every Sunday. Which then turned into every Wednesday night, every Tuesday night and often one other night of the week. Church was the norm. But this was different.

Recently I've been going through some changes. My church that I've attended since I was 7 was a place I. just. didn't. belong. I was always taught that that is no reason to leave a church. So I stayed. Awkwardly. Often alone. And confused. These changes I were experiencing were beyond confusing. The same things I've been taught since I was 7.... they just weren't making sense anymore.

I found myself struggling to believe most of it.

I read this book. If my church were to have a banned book list. This would have been on it. 

I watched this video. I almost cried. If you haven't yet, please do.

These put into words what I have been feeling.

Yes. I love Jesus. But, honestly. I have come to hate religion.

I know that sounds so blasphemous. But it's not. I've always said "I don't believe in religion, I believe in relationship!" But I was still missing the point. Simply because my "religion" doesn't look as rule following, or strict as some others. I was blinded. It was just as much religion bull as anything else.

Suddenly my eyes had been cleared. I always felt I was surrounded by a sea of fake people. But now it felt worse. We preach against being pharasitical. Referring to "those" pharisees. Beware of them.

Wait. What?

WE have become the pharisees. Don't you see? Using lofty, eloquent prayers in public, setting impossible standards, not loving everyone, not reaching out.

I made the decision to no longer attend my church and it was one of the hardest, most painful, best, happiest, ugliest, challenging decisions I've ever made. Please hear me. I really love that church. Still do. They are family, too. I've grown up there. Since I was barely seven. There are people I ache for, wishing they will see what I see and come on this journey with me. I love them. But it was time.

I took a little hiatus from church in general. Trying to truly figure out, if that's not what I believe, what exactly do I believe?? I had a lot of questions, but not a tremendous amount of answers.

What does a life of loving Jesus look like without religion? How can I live that?

I read this book. I recommend it.

Finally this Sunday- February 19, 2012. I visited a new church with a friend. It was scary. Intimidating. I've never really attended another church. But when I walked through the doors. There was peace. And I could feel it.

The music started. We sang. I couldn't help but let my eyes wander around the room. There was so much diversity... not what I was used to. There were so many people my age... not what I was used to.

The pastor began to teach. And the tears began to flow.

About 15 minutes into the service I started crying. And it didn't stop.

He was teaching about all the very questions I had been asking... but he had answers. Wait. Let me rephrase that. The Bible had answers. He simply put them in a context (the correct context, I might add) that brought light to everything. It all made sense again.

I sat there overwhelmed. Coming to the conclusion that I have been taught lies since I was so young. Unintentionally... hurt was never meant, they are simply just misguided. But to also know I was finding answers. Truth. There was GRACE in his teaching. There was love. Not condemnation. There was truth.

It was liberating.

And I am excited. 

Liberation and excitement is exactly what this girl needs.







5 comments:

  1. I have had a new look at my spiritual life lately too. Must be something in the air...
    Glad that you enjoyed the service you went to. xx

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  2. I have never been religious or believed in the stories of the bible, to me they were just that.. stories. I have, however, always believed in being a good person and treating other people with the compassion and respect that you would like to be treated yourself. I think it is very possible to live a good life and do good things without following religion or written guides, it just depends on your character. I'm sure there are a lot of people who practice Christianity and certainly other religions who don't have those positive character traits, but because they go to church and abstain from certain things, they feel better and fulfilled within themselves. To me it makes much more sense to find positivity and compassion within yourself rather than looking to ancient written faith for it.

    Your article really interested me, I'm glad you have managed to break away and discover these things for yourself and still found a place where you can experience the sense of community and unity. As long as you stay true to yourself and your own mind you'll be fine and you wont need to find the answers as they will already be there. Go with your instinct.

    ... That was intense! xx

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  3. Dear girl - I am 36 and have been going through the same thing. EXACTLY. Only I stopped going several years ago. I recently have been sort of "wandering" and this very week I had one of those moments...3 different people (Ones I have not seen in a while) recommended that I do the same faith based thing. Two of them go to the same church, one I have thought of going to but had not visited yet. So I'm taking the leap like you did and going this weekend. Lots more people my age and circumstance. You just confirmed for me I need to do it! Thanks so much. Amazing how things can happen. I'm so glad for you!

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  4. Such a timely thing you have written here. I'm very much like Hannah in that I've never been religious, but believe in the good of others and myself, etc. In fact, in high school it was solidified in my mind that 'church' and 'religion' seemed like a crutch people used. It was during that time I went to church regularly for almost 3 1/2 years (Sundays, Wed. nights, etc.) with my boyfriend of 4 years (we were eventually engaged, but his family's obsessiveness with church and trying so very hard to get me to come to their 'side' -they actually ambushed me one day with the bible and my bf wasn't allowed to be there while they told me all this stuff they believed and that I should too- and changed my mind drastically about them all and we broke up) and never thought it was a good fit for me and wondered, as I sat there, what all those people around me were feeling and what, truly in their hearts, they were getting from it. This may not make sense here, but it just seemed ridiculous to me...they seemed very much like how you described: loftiness, shutting others out, not loving ALL man. It seemed quite hypocritical to me. Oh well.
    I really REALLY loved the video you sourced and watched it with a "YES!" in my heart. I think I'll read the books you suggested as well.
    It was a very brave thing you did by doing what felt right in your heart. :)

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  5. Okay, I know I'm waaaay behind on catching up on blog posts...but it was great to see you that Sunday long ago! I was in almost the same position when we first decided to try out Branches, and I've never looked back. God is really good!

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