Saturday, December 28, 2013

My faith

Since the previous post announced that I no longer attend church, folks may wonder about my faith these days.  It has certainly evolved over the decades.

I still worship the Holy and Lifegiving Trinity and in that sense remain a rather orthodox Christian.  I pray the Lord's Prayer at bedtime.  My formal prayer life is very short and very simple and resembles that of a young child remembering beloved persons with the "God bless X." formula.  I do not need sophistication or nuance.  I hold people and the world before God in my heart.  That's it. Sometimes I light candles.

My view of reality is mostly rationalistic, scientific, and I do not believe God alters the laws of physics.  I believe the universe is a combination of randomness and pattern.  If I accept randomness then I do not believe everything happens for a purpose.  Stuff just happens.  We impose meaning on it by the narratives we create.  This matches both experience and studies of mythopoiesis.   This paragraph indicates why I so often agree with my atheist friends when they reject many pieties.

Having said that, however, I have all my life been a nature mystic.  I did not have words for that growing up.  I am an animist, if you wish to use that term, because I believe in the consciousness of all matter.  I see all creation as interrelated, everything as connected. My worldview is sacramental.  The presence and grace of God are manifested in observable phenomena and not just in the formal sacraments of the church. The Spirit's primary locus of action is everywhere at all times.  I am a panentheist (not a pantheist, look up the difference if it is unfamiliar to you).  God is everywhere present and in everything but I do not conclude that whatever is constitutes the fullness of God.

I will not define God.  I am a poet, a bakhti yogi, an artist.  I follow the path of the heart and I understand and express truth in images.  I have studied the phenomenon of language enough that I believe all we communicate is metaphorical.  Nothing is literal.  That is not a problem for me.  All the words I write here are symbols of meaning, not the things they symbolize.  Whether you discuss Christian theology, Hindu wisdom, pagan ritual, astrology, Sufi poetry, etc. they all are symbolic of psychic realities and deep experiential truths, so I can chat with people of different paths without getting hung up on metaphysics.  I am rather agnostic about metaphysics, actually: yours, mine, and anyone else's.

I rejected atonement theology long ago as a tribal hangover unworthy of any deity I wish to worship. This does not mean I reject the Cross and jump to Easter but I am a Resurrection Christian and much more Eastern Orthodox than Western in most things.  I ponder the transfiguration of creation, not sin and guilt.  I would rather lose myself in the goodness of God than wallow in the alleged evil of humanity, including myself.  The former is far more important and always true and much of the latter is the projected nightmare of abused souls.

If the doors of the New Jerusalem are open day and night and the kings of the earth that lamented the fall of Babylon bring their treasure into it, then no one is shut out.  I will stick with the final images of the Apocalyps rather than popular images of some getting in and others not.  You want in, you're in.  Since I believe that the only "place" that has ever existed or ever will is deep within the heart of God, then you cannot be anywhere else and have never been anywhere else.  If that is not where you want to be, it is your hell.  But you are loved and always have been and always will be.  I have no use for preachers of Bad News.

I think Margaret Watson is one of the best theologians and priests walking upon Ina Maka [Mother Earth].  My daily office is her blog.  She repeatedly redeems the Bible for me, finding the kernels of redemption and recasting what she reads in terms that match the harsh realities of our lives and common sense.

Each day is lived in gratitude.  I am blessed beyond all measure.

--the BB

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