My Sunday Routine Looks Different
While I don't mind going to church, I'd much rather be in my backyard...
Almost every Sunday from 1992 till sometime in 2015, I was in a church service somewhere. Sometimes my home church and other times, wherever I was visiting or speaking that weekend.
Church was a good place for me for quite a while. I always felt recharged and refreshed after worship. More than a few times, the teaching would be good for my soul. My Sunday friends were encouraging, and our life group was fun.
Well, that is, until it wasn’t.
Over time, I saw the ugly side of church politics replay in many different ways; so much hypocrisy and denial of that hypocrisy, including many sexual scandals by heterosexual leaders. Any hint of a scandal involving gay people was broadcast far and wide through whispers and sometimes public denunciation. But what happened with the straight god-fearing people breaking their marital vows with what the church elders considered a sinful sexual activity? Let’s just say all the proverbial rugs were lumpy from all the heterosexual “dirt” (scandals) swept under them.
So, I have good reasons not to trust the church as an institution. It’s almost formulaic how church dynamics and assumed authority by its leaders create the perfect environment for hidden hypocrisy.
But, I am not a sociologist or a psychologist focussing on group dynamics, so maybe I am just talking from a unique place of hurt. I doubt it. But I have no problem acknowledging that my specific injuries from that world might cast shade on the entire institution, which may not be fair in many situations.
I haven’t darkened a church door in many moons and don’t have any plans for that to change.
Sundays are usually working in the yard (mowing), writing a post like this, or working on my memoir. I experience the Divine while writing, in nature, and in/with the people I encounter, especially those I love. I still believe God is with me and will never forsake me.
For instance, in nature, here’s a couple of examples. Every time a swallow-tailed kite flies over, I am reminded that God looks over me with love and reminds me to take note of my environment and the lessons being learned for healing and growth, to persevere, and always be flexible. Likewise, when I see the eagles living nearby, I am reminded of some personal healing experiences and how the journey continues.
Plus, the sun reminds me of the power of life-giving energy. The wind reminds me of the Spirit realm and its guidance. Water reminds me of the infinite and unknowable (for now) grandeur of the Divine and how I can’t live without embracing the mystery of life. Yet, water is also so essential and natural; it reminds me that while we are spiritual beings living a human experience, we are intrinsically connected to the world and the energy around us.
I have many more examples like this, but I think you get the gist.
Then, of course, there’s Jesus. His teachings and presence never leave me. I am unapologetic in that Jesus is my path to the Divine and self-actualization. Lord and Savior? Yes. I do believe in Him as both. But he is also Friend and Brother, which is equally important.
As I have said before, I am more of a universalist Christian now. Church is a building for a few hours or so a week. Engaging the divine is always available. I believe God’s messages are all around me at any given moment if I look, listen, learn, and remember.
And whether you ascribe to a different faith, system of belief, or no belief in the Divine, I hope you can experience the same inner peace I encounter every Sunday in my backyard.
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