The Poetic Possibilities

October 20th

{In my last post on faith, I received several very thoughtful comments — including one from Crumpet. She mentioned being an atheist and feeling like she regularly had to defend her choices. I am a United Methodist and sharing my faith is very new and pretty frightening. I think a person’s relationship with their faith is as unique and intimate as life develops. My faith is right for me, but certainly not for others. In writing about spirituality, I’d like to emphasize one essential point that has kept me from ministry — I don’t believe in evangelizing. I don’t think of Christianity as being superior to other faiths; it is, however, just right for me. I’d like to encourage readers to discuss their beliefs, how they’ve developed and how they’ve been influenced. I love learning from others.}

At church yesterday, the sermon focused on dreams and how being in tune with our desires for the future can providing “poetic possibilities.” Ever the list-maker, goal-setter and dreamer, I pulled out a pen and took a couple of notes. I believe that my dreams for the future (family, close relationship with friends, garden, animals, etc) have been placed in my heart by God. The direction of my professional life has certainly be guided by my faith and, finally, I’ve reached a point of maturity where my faith is also providing guidance to my personal relationships.
Pastor Jeff, who is also my friend and confidant, said the prerequisites for vision include a need to be open, vulnerability and discernment. Ultimately, we need to be willing to listen, put ourselves in situations that force us to learn and determine our priorities in life. Love, moral excellence and generosity were listed as examples.
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. Faith is found in forgiving, empowering and gracious love.”

I consider myself pretty forgiving, although I have a tipping point that makes me absolutely furious and unwilling to continue relationships. I am rarely pushed to this ugly place, but it certainly occurs and did his weekend. Moral excellence is a tricky one because who sets the bar? Is there a specific moral memo that didn’t cross my desk? I try to follow the golden rule and be kind, but I’ve been known to honk in traffic and drop the F bomb when provoked.

The beauty of my faith is that while I am regularly reminded of the ways I can grow and improve, I am equally reminded that I am forgiven. It is a beautiful balance.

What do you believe? Why?

~Kelli

Posted in
Faith, Goals, Journal
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36 Responses

  1. As a Christian, Christ sets the bar for moral excellence.

  2. I was christened “Church of England”, now refered to as Anglician. I can’t really say I was raised Anglican as my parents weren’t church goers. However we did go to Friday School (essentially Sunday School but for an hour after regular school on Fridays). I was encouraged by my parents to explore different faiths through reading, girl guides, travel, and friends.

    I don’t refer to myself as religious, although I do believe in my faith. If anyone asks I tell them I believe in something or someone, be it God, Christ, Buddha, multiple Gods, or a mish mash but I do believe in Faith.

    I’m not a regular church goer, I go when “I need to”. I take a lot from christianity, a little from Shintoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism and probably a little from sources I don’t consciously think about.

    I too am pretty forgiving, open to most people and loyal. Loyal to a fault. However I reach that same point and become unwilling to continue a relationship. Everything and everyone takes work, but I don’t have the energy or time to spend on a relationship that is mentally unhealthy for me or my loved ones.

    Why do I believe? Because I want to. I don’t think that this life is a test for the next one (as Crumpet quoted), I think this life should be lived for this life. While I don’t think there is life after death, I do believe that family/friends who have died have found peace.

    I struggle with the challenges, I have trouble understanding, infact I don’t understand, why we are challenged as we are – why was a friend’s 20 year old daughter taken so suddenly and without warning, why did an uncle suffer for years before passing.

    Even now I can’t explain it well, but I do believe in my faith and if I didn’t I imagine that a part of me would feel hollow.

  3. I’ve had to think about this a lot in the past 4 years. See I have an 8yo who has been bombarded by Christianity by other children since she started preschool at age 4. Interestingly enough, she bought into it without either of her parents ever talking to her about god or Christ or the holy spirit. And she believes in God and Jesus without ever having set foot in a church. She gets upset that her parents are non-believers. The influence of other children is powerful, I have learned.

    I have tried to explain that there are other religions, different faiths, no faiths and have purchased a book on worlds faiths for children, but still, she says when she grows up she will be a Christian. I do not discourage her from this but am hopefully teaching her to be tolerant and to keep her mind and heart open to all possibilities.

    Unfortunately, most of our friends feel either the same way as we do or, do not have a strong enough tie to their church/faith to have my daughter join them in service/prayer/celebration. We tried not to do Christmas celebrations b/c of our beliefs and b/c we felt it would be hypocritial, but b/c of our extended family, we celebrate every year. We do try to teach about charity and giving and limit our gift giving to necessities (undies/socks/pjs) and 1 toy. We try to teach them that the holiday is about giving and that receiving something in return should not be expected. But this is hard.

    I grew up Catholic, but very quickly (age 9) I had trouble with it. I didn’t like having a priest as a liaison between God and myself. And being offered no other options at that time (everyone around me was also Catholic), I just gave up on the whole religion thing. In my early 20’s I found myself searching for something and tried many different churches and faiths. But none fit me and it wasn’t easy to give up my belief that I would be a better person and feel better all around if I could just find the right church.

    I believe in the power of one’s self. One’s ability to love, give, forgive and accept. To believe and hope. I don’t pray but do reflect and meditate and hope. That’s kind of like a prayer, no? I appreciate the world around me, the amazingness that is nature and the love and kindness I see and receive and try to give. I do not believe in heaven and this troubles my child. I don’t really believe in reincarnation either but offer it to her as a fun possibility. And maybe there’s not only angels watching over her, but fairies too! It’s all possible isn’t it?

  4. I’m LDS and believe fully in Christ. As one of the above post says: Christ sets the bar for moral excellence and I agree. I try to live my life as he did, but I’m far from perfect. But I also believe in being forgiven and I’m blessed with the faith to know that one day I will walk with Christ again.

  5. I agree with much of what you said. I am currently returning to faith and spirituality at this point in my life. i don’t know yet where I’ll end up. My husband is jewish, and I love his rabbi and enjoy going to occasional services, but don’t identify as jewish (but who knows in the future?) I am considering returning to my christian roots, but always have trouble accepting Jesus as my personal savior, although I take so much inspiration from his life and teachings. I don’t believe he will return (is that ok to say here?) but that the resurrection story is a metaphor for the possibility of his rebirth in a person’s heart, through fully embracing his values. But I don’t know if I can be religious or spiritual if it is all metaphor to me. I guess that is what I am currently struggling with, a deep awe and respect for religious teachings, but a rejection of the figures and stories from the past that must be taken as literal truth.

  6. I have told my children many times, That god did not create everyone the same. We are all uniquely different, and that differences allows us as individuals to shine.
    And in keeping with that thought, No two people can ever look at the same thing, the same way. That is why there are so many paths to God. No path is the ONLY path or the RIGHT path.
    Whatever path you choose, is the one for YOU. Wisdom begins in understanding that the road to oneness is a journey of self. It is always and forever about YOUR relationship with the divine.
    For me, personally, God is To big for just one religion.
    I Love bits and pieces of them all.
    and on a very funny note, my daughter is enthralled t the moment with the Methodist religion…:)

  7. You know I believe in a higher being. I was brought up United Methodist, but I am more spiritual. I prefer the bare bones beginnings of faith and I am drawn to Stonehenge and the honoring of Mother Earth and the seasons.

    I have always enjoyed reading up on all religions and love to have conversations with other people and about their beliefs. Variety is what makes the world go around.

  8. Kelli:

    I was raised Catholic. My daughter and husband were baptized Catholic. We all received our sacraments, except my daughter is not yet confirmed. For the last few years I have (as someone already mentioned) become more “spiritual” and less “religous”. I believe in God and the world and people he created teach me lessons everyday. Much more so than sitting in church ever did for me. For me, my faith has become more of a lifestyle versus something to do on Sunday and its a good thing!

  9. I lovelovelove that last bit, about the balance between growing and being forgiven..I’m a Christian, trying to grow more like and closer to Jesus all the time..

  10. I was raised Lutheran. I was an Anglican for most of my adult life until I moved to the mid-west two years ago and there is no Anglican church in this area, so now I am Roman Catholic. My faith is Christ centered and the Eucharist is most important to me…as I am fed by Christ at the altar, I must feed whoever I come in contact with during the week. Its not always easy for me to live out my faith and sometimes it makes me vulnerable to getting hurt. I have found that the daily living out of my faith is in the small things-sharing a cup of tea with someone who is lonely, making a small gift to brighten someone’s day, a smile at a busy checkout line, patience in traffic…its these small things that make our faith alive and open us to the work of the Holy Spirit. When I am hurt, I am usually able to take in a breath and offer forgiveness. Sometimes, my anger gets the better of me, but, I find if I wait & pray, I am able to work on forgiving whoever hurt me…but, only with the help of God. My faith keeps me centered and sane and enables me to do my work day after day. Its a wonderful journey!

  11. Forgiveness doesn’t negate the need to set boundaries, and sometimes those boundaries necessitate leaving a relationship behind (not that you didn’t already know that).

    I was raised Catholic—Irish Catholic, as it does have many forms. And I absolutely loved it. Most of my teachers were nuns, and I know a lot of people experienced horrible things in the past, but my experience was ideal. They were the happiest women I knew—this was post Vatican II so the ones who wanted to wore habits, and some wore jeans.

    My husband and I both went to Jesuit university, but during those years I felt a divide between my faith and my religion. My faith in God or a Divine energy has remained strong, but I found it harder and harder to be part of an organization that didn’t include women as full members, as well as gay members, and that didn’t respect other “keys to the kingdom.”

    We tried Unitarian and Lutheran churches, and have finally found our home in the Episcopal church. The mass and rituals are similar to the church of my childhood, and it does mean a great deal to me that my children know some of the same prayers that their great-great grandparents said. I hope they will always keep a part of that as their culture, but I try to encourage them on their own paths toward knowing God.

    I don’t care what church, if any, they end up choosing to worship in…they might have that same need of community that I do. We talk about “keeping Holy the Sabbath” but I think a hike in the woods can be just as holy. I do hope that they always feel a connection to their Creator.

  12. Technically I’m Catholic but I do have problems with some of the major things the Catholic Church stands for (or not). I guess I’m a liberal Catholic if I had to chose a label.

    You gave me an idea for a post for tomorrow…..

  13. Well, since you asked –

    I believe that Christ provides us with our example of moral excellence. By studying the bible, I gain more and more insight into what that means. Will I ever achieve it? Is it even humanly possible? I don’t believe that it is, because then we would be living a life completely free of sin (and I don’t think I can manage a sin-free day!) but that makes it no less worthy of pursuing. As for showing love and compassion to others, being generous with the gifts God has given to us, and extending forgiveness to those who we feel have wronged us, well, those are just the ways we can let our lights shine (so to speak). It’s definitely a process, though. Just thinking about it gives me a boost and a challenge!

  14. Tina in Duluth October 20, 2008

    I believe Christ is example of moral excellence, as meg directly above has said. Christ ate with sinners, fed the hungry, healed the sick and gathered little children to Him. He loved everyone and died for us all. I try to look at people as souls that God created and loved as Christ did. Christ was the ultimate servant and washed His disciples feet, therefore I must try to serve others.

    I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God. Since He created us, His words are my directions to life. He gave His Son to die for me that I might have forgiveness and be reconciled to Him for eternity.

    Thanks for asking!

  15. I really enjoy it when you write about your faith journey. I have gone to a United Methodist church ever since I was a little kid. I just finished reading a really excellent book called “Jesus for President” that really encouraged me to think about social justice and the church in new ways. Actually, I’m meeting with a group to discuss it tomorrow evening, so maybe I’ll be brave like you and write about it.

  16. Kelli, I am always interested to read your thoughts on faith. I come from what you might call a mixed background. My father’s dad was a Congregational (now Church of Christ) minister, and a wonderful one to listen to at that; my dad, having grown up with compulsory church duties such as playing flute during service and helping in countless ways in addition to always having to act as a good example, is an atheist and very negative about organized religion. My mom on the other hand comes from a Mennonite/Amish background, and her faith is shown not in going to a church but in everything she does. Growing up I was steeped in the philosophy that we should always be in service to our fellow beings on this planet and to the planet itself. And then I married a Catholic who no longer attends mass because he is uncomfortable with the disconnect he perceives between what the church teaches and the politicians it tends to support. I have a cousin who is a bible-thumping missionary in Ghana, and I am frankly sickened by the intolerence I see in him.

    In the past four years, I have begun to work my way toward a stronger faith in something more than the physics that hold our gorgeous universe together, although that is very inspiring to me as too…I find inspiration in all the great Teachers who have come to enlighten at various points in the development of civilization, among them Jesus, but all the others, as well. I have come to believe that what one’s religion is matters little, as long as you find what truly resonates for you and follow it, and that it brings you closer to oneness with all of creation rather than separating you creating divisions. My personal challenge is to feel tolerance toward the intolerant…those who divide the world into Us and Them.

  17. I have been both Methodist and Baptist (American Baptist) depending on the feel of the congregation. Currently I attend Hollywood United Methodist and have found my church home after a long search. Each Sunday I am amazed at how much this church is meeting my needs and filling the church gap from my move to LA. This is a church I am proud to sing about!

    We are reading The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg and it is wonderful!

  18. I’ve been raised as a Roman Catholic (and living in Italy, what else?). But since I was a teenager I refused to go to church. I married with a religious rite (more for the tradition I guess) I got my daughter baptized Catholic, but I guess just for a quiet living than anything else (my mother-in-love would have never forgive us otherwise) and now my daughter is an atheist. I guess I would describe myself the same way, I think I’m more inclined to spirituality than religion. Roman Church has so many rules I don’t believe in, so many rules contrary to my own personal beliefs, I simply can’t stick to it anymore. Sometimes I enter a church (so often very old ones) and there it seems I can get in touch again with something above me. Then I get out, I see the world as it is, I have on my skin so many scars, I find it so hard to believe there’s a God. No offense intended to anyone.

  19. ali la loca October 21, 2008

    I was baptized as an Episcopalian, but raised in a non-churchgoing, and honestly not particularly religious family. Neither of my parents profess a faith, and they always left it open to me whether or not I wanted to go to church or become involved in my birth religion or any other.

    I never chose to. I never really felt the need for religion in my life growing up. I was, if anything, atheist.

    Now, after going through a nearly debilitating life crisis in 2003, I have found a place for God. I turned to him daily during that period to give me the strength to go forward. We talked. I asked for forgiveness for the part I’d played in the crisis. I asked him to help me become a stronger, more whole person.

    Things got better, and I admit I fell away from that practice of prayer and thanks. Life was back to normal.

    But, as these things happen, I had several reminders in the past year that it is important to keep up my relationship with God, and that I must cultivate my spirituality both in good times and bad. It helps me feel balanced and safe to have God in my life. I try to give thanks and pray every night. I try to live a better life, and hope that I will be a better person as a result.

    I don’t know why I believe in God now. It’s still not in a church-setting, though I did get married in the Anglican church and very much enjoyed that experience. I feel the need to connect with a higher power, especially in the moments in which I doubt myself. It’s good to remember unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness as long as we recognize the errors of our ways and strive to do ever better.

  20. I was raised congregational, and when married, my husband (former episcopalian) and i attended a congregational church with our children.

    When i turned 40, my mom got pancreatic cancer and died from it in 6 months. I stopped going to church altogether, and lost all faith in any kind of religion. A couple years later, I felt a spiritual hole in my life, but not for the paternalistic church that I had been raised in. I don’t believe in god any more, but I felt the absence of “something” in my life. We landed in a Unitarian church in our town and have found a home there, in a community of people who believe in the power of people helping others. I like the flexibility of faith, that so many people from all walks of religious backgrounds can find common ground and fellowship with one another. While I remain agnostic about God, I do believe that together we have more power than one alone, and that there is a good karmic force that we can create as a group that does good in the world. I love that the church I attend accepts all beliefs and judges none.

    My two younger (13 and 15) sons attend the UU church with us and have gone through their coming of age class. My older daughter, now 18, didn’t like the vagueness of the church and so she attended the congregational church in our town for 3 years, but has recently become Lutheran.

    I think faith, in anything, is a journey. I don’t know why my mom’s death stripped me of my faith in a god, but i love what i’ve found and it seems to fit who I am now.

  21. I love this post. It brings up a topic that a lot of people dodge. I feel like Lilia was writing about my life! My husband and I are both spiritual but not religious. We consider ourselves to be agnostic. (I was raised in an extremely Christian home.) We don’t go to church and spend Sundays loving our precious day together and appreciating the things we have. I strive to live every day as a good person. I treat others as I want to be treated, am respectful of others beliefs, honor other peoples wishes, and don’t tell anyone I think their faith is wrong. That all being said, I live in the bible belt and am bombarded daily by Christianity. My place of work broadcast christian music over the load speaker, I daily have to defend my “lack of church attendance” or my beliefs. I have been called an athiest or have been treated down right nasty by some past co-workers because I don’t agree with their religious views.

    I have no problem with any religion. I think it is very important to the people who have faith in their lives. I don’t voice my opinion to anyone that will listen and like to avoid the topic all together, but living in South Carolina that often proves impossible. My son has already started talking about Jesus and Heaven, etc. much because of my own parents but also from other children at school, etc. It is very hard for us to teach our own values and beliefs to him. I often feel I am treated differently by people once they know my views on religion.

    Kelli, I am so glad to read your post. It is nice to see someone who does have strong faith, but also understanding that others have a different kind of faith that works for them. I just wish others would realize this as well. I guess I will have to find my own path and hopefully my son will develope his own views on religion and not pick up what is thrown at him from society or even from his own parents. It’s such a personal decision that I want him to make on his own and I will support his decision regardless of what path he chooses, I just want him to make the decision.

    Thanks for this discussion inspiring post. I really enjoyed reading it and the responses.

  22. Pink Sky October 21, 2008

    Not to say that no one ever annoys me but I try to cut other people slack when I can. People don’t always show that they are going through difficult times, such as losing a close family member, having a miscarriage, or a broken heart. I’d feel terrible if I mistreated someone going through that and added to their burdens. 🙁

    That said, there is a time to break off contact with people whose values are in constant battle with mine (such as people who put down my choices, or choose to do things that are illegal or hurtful to others) and go our separate ways – I don’t have to judge but if they are constantly treating me poorly, why hang around that?

  23. I’ve always had problems when it came to religion and discussion. I too feel it’s a very personal thing. Most of the people here, especially the Jahova’s Whitness, want to corner you and bombard you with there information. I’ve even had Christians state I was going to hell, one said that because I didn’t believe the devil picks people first that have tatoos. LOL. Little did she realize that the first Christians tatooed themselves as proof of their beliefs. (ie..this was also a college student too in my class). It’s the fanatics that kill good religions and send people against them.

    I’ve even been cornered in the parking lot by a Jahova’s Whitness wanting to ask me questions or give me forms. When I told them I wasn’t interested, they asked me what my beliefs were, I merely said “Ecletic” and got in the car. lol.

    I do believe in the creator, it’s just my beliefs to me are something I rarely discuss in real life. Online though, it’s different as people are not up in your face.

  24. kelli, it is always interesting to me to read your thoughts on faith. i am a hindu married to an athiest, and we often have discussions about our respective beliefs (and how we are going to raise our future kids). i was brought up in a very hands-off way… my folks told me ok, here are the basics, everything else is up to you to figure out. in some ways that was frustrating, and in some ways it was very liberating. i believe in karma– how that manifests itself in my life is up to me. i am always trying to think about openness in myself, openness to others, and good works as part of that cycle. at the same time i have been experiencing a ‘crisis of faith’ on and off over the past few years, largely related to the afterlife and reincarnation, which i have been questioning, and i don’t have any answers for that yet. i feel sure in some ways that i will never have those answers. but i am thinking about what i believe, and why, and i think that for me right now just asking those questions is the point– to be having that journey.
    the question of the moral bar is a difficult one, isn’t it? i think we each set our own moral bar, and part of setting it is knowing that often we all fall short- others and ourselves included- but knowing that the bar is there and striving for it is so worthwhile.
    xo

  25. I was raised LDS, and as an adult, have chosen to continue living this religion, and raise my children in it also. One of my favorite parts is the importance of having a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I also rely on the Holy Spirit to help guide my life. I have never felt alone in my life because I can always turn to a higher being, who I believe knows me personally and loves me.

    I agree with you about those who say any one religion is better or more right than another. I’ll never understand how people who claim to be perfect can put down other religions. It is a very personal choice. I also believe that Jesus is a good example of how we should try to be. He loved everyone, and we should strive to do the same.

    Thanks for this post!

  26. Wow Kelli, you are brave to bring up this topic and look what happened…..everyone is sharing their faith and doing it graciously. I just read every answer and I was just glancing through some blogs as it’s dinnertime and I’m hungry…..but I have to post after reading everything!

    I grew up in a non-church attending family but they taught me Christian values and traditions. I attended an United Methodist church in my teens and loved it. Our pastor was very Bible focused and I had a wonderful experience.

    My faith journey has taken a few detours away from church and God and then back. I have found a faith in Christ and believe in the Bible. That makes me a Christian. I currently attend a Calvary Chapel Church. But to me what is important is understanding my faith in Christ.

    I am a missionary so I suppose some could consider me evangelical but that word is not popular and connotes many bad images for people so I don’t like to use it. I have not and will never thump or throw a Bible at anyone’s head! 🙂 LOL I believe in living out my faith with love and respecting others and where they are in their own journey of faith. I like what St. Francis of Assisi said, “Share your faith at all times, and if necessary, use words.” If we are not loving others then we are expounding religion or tradition and that’s not true faith. It just gives everyone a headache! 🙂

    Thank you for your gracious posts on faith and sharing yours and thanks for everyone who posted….I loved reading them.

  27. Heather Rigler October 21, 2008

    I beleive in the absolute truth of the Bible. Every word is God inspired and given to us so we might know Him. It tells us that good people do not go to Heaven, only perfect people. Jesus came to earth and led a perfect, sinless life because He is the Son of God not just a great teacher. He is perfect and obeyed God in every way, even to die on the cross. He became an acceptable substitute to take away my sin and thus making me perfect in the eyes of God. Our perfection will only be realized in Heaven, never here on earth where it is truly a struggle every day. This gift can only be given to those that believe it happened and then love, trust and obey Him. This gives me such joy and sorrow at the same time and frees me to think about and serve others, not myself.
    AfricanKelli, I truly enjoy your creativity and reading about it in your blog. Thanks for the opportunity to share my faith.

  28. You get to set the bar. After you have considered all sides. And that includes subconscious motives too.

  29. I grew up attending a Pentacostal church half of the time and a Southern Baptist church the other half. My parents never took me, I always asked to go either with a grandparent or a neighbor. I always thought it was the right thing to do…it was normal. My family was a Christmas and Easter family…that’s the only time we all went. At an early age I believed whatever anyone told me. I never myself figured it out for myself….religion that is. This had a very negative impact on my beliefs. I seriously felt that if I wasn’t “saintly” that I would be condemned. This was a sad factor for a young child-young adult. When I went to college I became very active with a campus ministry group. I realized through watching others and myself that I was being a horrible person. I was not accepting others, I was judgemental and I made my life miserable by judging everything I DID! It took me awhile but I soon changed my beliefs. There was a period of a few years that I totally ignored God. I blamed God for a lot in my life. Then one day I finally came to realize what was right for ME. I didn’t want to ignore God anymore. I wanted God in my life…I just didn’t necessarily want religion. I wanted to be spiritual. I wanted to pray. I wanted to have a relationship with God. I didn’t want to judge anymore. Yes, I look back somedays and blame religion for a lot of fear in my life. Now, I feel strong in what I believe. I want to teach my children that whatever they want to believe will be fine with me. There are so many different ways people “believe” that “our” way isn’t the only way out there. I just want for myself and my family to have faith in something.

  30. I am so appreciative of everyone sharing their paths, and opening up their beliefs. Thank you! In my own experience, education, and exploration, I’ve found that a song called Conversations by Sara Groves gets to the heart of what I’m about, spiritually.

    I think we’ve figured out
    This world is bigger than you and I.
    We’ve exhausted our wealth of knowledge
    And have no more answers for mankind.

    We’ve had every conversation in the world
    About what is right and what has all gone bad,
    But have I mentioned to you that this is all I am,
    This is all that I have.

    I’m not trying to judge you.
    No that’s not my job.
    I am just a seeker too,
    In search of God.

    Somewhere somehow this subject became taboo.
    I have no other way to communicate to you.
    This is all that I am.
    This is all that I have.

    I would like to share with you
    What makes me complete.
    I don’t claim to have found the Truth,
    But I know it has found me.

    The only thing that isn’t meaningless to me
    Is Jesus Christ and the way he set me free.
    This is all that I have. This is all that I am.
    It’s all that I have, and it’s all.

    I don’t know how to say this
    I don’t know where to start
    Just know that I care for you
    And I’m speaking from my heart

    I love this song, because it’s about how people in relationship are trying to figure out how to talk about what’s important to them. And that’s a big part of what I believe – that people are social, that we need meaningful relationships with others, where we can open up our joys and fears, pain and love, mystery and knowledge. It’s about talking about what matters and seeking something bigger than ourselves. It’s about respect, and trust, and caring about someone enough to be honest about what is important, about what gets us through. Even if that’s something different for everyone.

    What I believe is so much more than church, religion, spirituality. And for me personally, “the only thing that isn’t meaningless to me/is Jesus Christ and the way he set me free/This is all that I have and it’s all that I am.” In good times and bad, this is what it all comes down to for me.

  31. WOW, I really had to read some and then take some time to ponder and pray about your post. I want my words to serve God in the best way possible. That being said, I grew up in the church. Of course I was a convenient christian and only used God’s words when I needed it. I also grew up Methodist. During college I went my own way and really lived life for me and me alone. After I got married and had children I knew my life was missing something. My husband and I found a church family and would go on Sunday’s and live the good life. However , I found I was still missing something. I was missing the relationship with God. We started going to a non-denominational church that teaches about the Bible directly. I feel that my life has grown so much fuller with my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have discovered there is only one thing you will not be able to do in heaven and that is to teach others about my faith. I have learned that Jesus died on the cross for everyones sin so that we don’t have to be perfect. (Thank God for that!) This is a gift but even though he has given this gift not everyone accepts it. I just pray that I will continue to surrender my life evey day to God’s will and give him praise and glory for all He has given me.

  32. Kelli, I love your blog…you have so many interesting things in your life going on! This is a great discussion!!

    Let not your heart be troubled, you that believe in God believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am there you will be also.
    And one of Jesus’ disciples asked, but Lord, we don’t know the way to where you are going. And Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.

    Being good or good enough doesn’t get you peace with God and eternal life with no more pain, tears, mourning etc… Jesus says. That’s what makes christianity, christianity. If you take some time and study what the Bible has to say from cover to cover, there is so much offered, but there is only one way to get it. That is why Christianity offends in today’s culture.

    I have found that He is true love. He is the true Lover of my soul and I can’t find that love anywhere except in my Jesus, and I’ve looked a lot of places. His ways are the hard ways, but not legalistically required…like lose your life and you’ll find your life. Like give all of yourself up. (like a marriage honoring your wedding vows in a not so perfect marriage, mine is going on 11 years Nov. 1, woohoo and I’m only 30!!!!)(and trust me, if you don’t think you’re a bad human being, just get married and you’ll realize how bad you are 🙂 In return He has saved my sorry you know what from being separated from Him because of my badness, even my “little” hidden yuck (lying, stealing, lusting, hating, unforgiveness, no matter what I hide I know I can’t say that I’ve never done it, I’ll never be perfect…He is perfect and thank God that He didn’t promise a world forever stuck with Mama’s drowning babies, Father’s murdering their families, uncles molesting their 3 year old nieces, you know, junk like that just turn on the news)

    I live knowing I’ll see Him face to face because death is so sure and I love Him and He loves me. Here’s a good movie from the Billy Graham website that I like that explains how to bridge the gap between you and God. http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp

  33. Late to the party, I know. I’ve been meaning to get back here to comment. I was raised Church of England and then evangelical. My relationship with God is still flourishing and growing, but I find that as I’ve matured, I don’t fit neatly into the evangelical box. For example, while my faith has meant that I see all life as sacred, and so I just can’t wrap my head around abortion (no way, no how), it also means that I have to support gay rights and gay marriage. The golden rule. I also do yoga, love good wine and girly drinks. The past year has been an extremely difficult one for me — and I could not have come through it without God … and yoga … and (possibly) good wine 😉

  34. Just found your blog via my daughter who lives in Thailand (Global Nomads) I love your blog and find this a very interesting question. I am Roman Catholic. I converted 42 years ago when I married my husband, having been baptized Episcopal and raised in various other churches throughout my first 20 years of life. God has always been an important part of my life. My husband and I raised 3 children (adults now) in the Roman Catholic faith…receiving all of the sacraments through Confirmation (one did not). As adults they have chosen not to follow this faith. Although, they each follow a spiritual path. Some stronger than others, some closer to their roots than others. To me…spirituality and religion are completely different. My spirituality is something within me that draws me to my faith. Religion is how I chose to practice my faith. Organized religion has its faults and the Catholic religion surely has its. Organized religion is formed and followed by humas and we are certainly flawed. Though if we look at ourselves through God’s eyes, we are perfect in every way. I believe that through religion, if we are lucky, we meet fantastic pastors who challenge us weekly to be better people. I know my pastor does that. I walk away every Sunday morning wanting to be a better person. Through religion we have endless ways to reach out to others and grow in our faith. It is a journey. The church is not perfect, but it is there to help us on our faith journey and if we give it a chance, we can all make this a better world by believing in God and ourselves.

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