When I was a child, my parents sent me to a Baptist Sunday School. Not, I suspect, out of any fervent desire to instill in us a spiritual tradition, but because the Baptists sent a bus ‘round and picked us up. Thus, my parents got a couple of hours of peace and quiet. I enjoyed church, but even as an 8 year old, I was far too inquisitive for the Sunday School teachers. They were basically interested in rote memory, not questioning theology.
For a while then, I did nothing. Then, in high school, I started going to church with my best friend, whose family happened to be Episcopalian. I loved it! I loved the ceremony, the ritual. It was a great time for me. I was baptized and enthusiastically embraced being an Episcopalian.
When I was 15, my family moved to a small town about half an hour away. There was no Episcopal church and several of my friends were Catholic, so I went to church with them. Seemed similar enough. Still, I liked it and was confirmed when I was a senior in high school. I even went to a Catholic college, went to mass every day. I guess I felt I needed to atone for all my drinking and carrying on. Still, it was a warm welcoming place, the Catholic Church.
Then, I came out. I was 20. I struggled with it, so I went to see the priest on campus, who had been a source of comfort and great counsel. He gave me no sympathy, no empathy. He told me that I’d better try to get my boyfriend to marry me or I was going to burn in hell. What? I thought surely he was wrong. This place that had been such a sanctuary for me couldn’t possibly teach such things. Boy, was I wrong.
I read, I researched and I came up with this: The Catholic Church didn’t make any sense, if one gave it any thought. The Bible itself was full of contradiction and mistranslations. It had been heavily influenced by the translators. When asked why the Church does things, the answer was often “church tradition” or “church doctrine.” Basically, “because I said so.” That didn’t work when I was a child and it surely didn’t work now.
I sort of threw the baby out with the bath water. Rather than try to find a spiritual tradition that worked for me, I decided I was an atheist. A loud-mouthed atheist who thought Christians were stupid and blind. Yeah, that was me.
About 8 years ago, something odd happened to me. I started feeling a call to ministry. Not to pastor a church but to somehow serve those who seek God. What? I didn’t *believe* in God! How could I serve those who seek Him? I started to think about it and reflect. I “tried on” a couple of religions before I found
Unity fits me, somehow. There are many people who have never heard of it or who think I’m Unitarian.
I still haven’t found my path towards that ministry, but at least I’m going in the right direction. I’m learning to make spiritual practice more a part of my daily life and that’s the first step right?
I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you and learning more.
Barbara (who will be gone until Wednesday, so may not get a chance to check email or LJ)