Sunday, April 3, 2011

This little illumination of mine, I'm gonna let it shine

It's taken me thirty years to formulate a succint answer for why I refuse to believe there is "only one right way" to G-d. I believed for most of my teen years that a certain brand of Christianity was the only right way to G-d, and that it was my duty to tell others that, and especially to point out to them when their choices were bad and sinful and not part of that one right way. When I was 20, I saw the movie Ghandi at the suggestion of a friend (thank you, Bruce). I remember sitting in that movie theater in Boyertown, PA, right after the movie ended with a big light bulb going off over my head. I heard a very insistent inner voice saying "there is not only one right way to God." It is one of the most vivid memories of my life.

Of course, I had already been questioning things for a while for various reasons I won't go into here, including some very unethical behavior towards me by my paster at the time. But, at that moment, I felt a great weight lifted from me, and I gave myself permission to stop judging everyone for their choice of G-d's name, their choice of the stories they found sacred, and their choices around the way they lived there lives.

I want to say to all those people I bullied for Christ: Please forgive me. I know that what I did was unkind, unloving, and just plain wrong. I hope you were able to heal from the hurt I caused. I can tell you that I now defend you and wish I could tell you to your face that I regret not listening and learning from you because of my arrogance.

The following is my response to a comment by one of my friends on facebook which was a reaction to violence being done between groups of religious people - the desecration of the Q'uran by a small group of people who call themselves Christian, and the trampling to death of people by a group of people who call themselves Muslim protesting that offensive act. One comment listed many sacred texts and asked if one was right or all were wrong. I'm glad the discussion happened and that I was able to take five minutes to type out this short and clear statement of my faith. You may notice I don't name my sacred text of choice.

This is a statement of my faith in the Divine, and my faith in humans. It has taken me thirty years since that night in the movie theater to pull it together. In those thirty years I have read many books, written many questions in my journals, had therapy to heal the wrongs done to me, engaged in many discussions, and sung many prayersongs. I have also, I am proud to say, listened to many people as they talked about their connection with the Divine and their sacred stories, no matter where they came from. I can tell you that the Divine lives and moves and breathes in us all, from the moment of birth to the moment of death. I don't need to know what happens before and beyond those moments. It is enough for me to know the abundance of Love that I have known on this earth to be fine with the rest being a mystery. It is enough for me to practice being loving, being kind, here and now.

There is a middle way. My scared text of choice tells me to live in lovingkindness. I don't get to tell other people they are wrong about their sacred text because it is not living in lovingkindness to do so. The truth is that MOST PEOPLE who follow a particular sacred text are not out there stomping on other people or their sacred text. MOST PEOPLE of Faith are appalled by actions like these and go about their daily lives sowing seeds of peace and lovingkindness. Most people who are really living by their chosen sacred text are so loving that you don't even know why they do what they do, you just know that you feel loved and respected by them.

I believe that there is not one right way for all, but there is a right way for each one. And yes, my sacred text of choice supports that belief, even if there are others who say it doesn't. The main teachings of every peace-loving religion is that we human beings need each other, we need to connect with The Divine and with each other, and we need to serve people in need. It is boiled down to living your life in lovingkindness. The media loves to report on the horrors done by humans, especially by those who are religious. But, a person of faith will look for and celebrate any person who is doing good, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their Divine Loved One. Peace, peace, peace.

1 comment:

David said...

Well said, Barbara. May your heart always be open to love and kindness. I live my life in perpetual gratefulness. What joy to be here now.