he don’t show much these days

i don’t talk about god much at all really.

i want to, but i don’t know how.

part of it is that so many of my friends are queerish and us queers have had such scarring experiences with everything about the word “god” that i find myself timid in the face of it.

recently, i had one of those moments where a friend sort of questioned why religion was at all important to me, and i completely blew it. i stuttered and hemmed and hawed and couldn’t really get a complete sentence out, let alone anything really worth listening to.

of course if i did it more, i would be less rusty at it.

my life still feels somewhat compartmentalized, though i don’t want it to be and it’s not intentional. it’s hard to bring together my late 20’s, early 30’s friends together with my quaker friends. is that even essential? not necessarily. i would just love to be a better bridge.

i would just love to feel confident in nonoppressive god-talk. or being firmer in my belief that even if god is not being spoken of, the same things are in the air and happening. and being able to point it out when it’s there and say, “this, this moment, this is what i mean by god.”

Published in: on 7 July, 2010 at 5:03 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I sometimes hem and haw too when someone asks me why it’s worthwhile to practice any sort of religion or participate in a faith tradition. In the end, when I’m grounded enough or calm enough, I’m sometimes able to say,

    “Because it makes me a better person and brings me an inward peace and joy that I don’t experience in other parts of my life.”

    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

  2. This spring I had to explain my Friends School sweatshirt to a mom of another kid on my son’s baseball team. I got as far as Friends=Quaker=my religion, but then she clearly hadn’t heard of it and asked more and I got flustered and I have no idea what I said. But the sister of another kid said, “Quakers believe in equality.” I smiled at her and said, “yes.”

  3. Talk, write, sing, be still and talk some more. It sounds like you need to process where you are and how you understand your relationship with God. Sometimes the understanding is a long, slow time coming. Sometimes finding the words to describe it takes even longer. I think that’s perfectly ok. I think it’s ok, as well, to say that you’re not sure or don’t know what to say or that it’s too personal or too new to talk about right now.
    We all (I do, anyway) stumble and stutter and think, “oh, I should have said that” after-the-fact. It’s human nature. The beauty is that we can start over as many times as we need.
    Mary Linda

  4. “Compartmentalized” is a good way of explaining it. I have a facebook account where I go for emotional expression (life in general) – but I don’t dare bring up politics or religion, and a twitter account where I go for mental expression (politics & general wonkery) – but I don’t dare bring up personal stuff, but where do I go for spiritual expression and musings, outside of Meeting? I guess I could start a blog or some such, but that seems so authoritative and intimidating for somebody who’s out of practice. Sigh.

  5. I answer the question of why be religious by standing on my experience: I have had transcendental experiences–experiences outside the logic and perception of my normal, material existence; and I’ve had spiritual experiences–experiences that totally transformed my life for which the normal course and activities of my life cannot account. I experience these experiences as a calling to explore them, understand them, follow them inward to their source and outward into the world.

    My definition of God, therefore, for purposes of speaking to others, anyway, is that ‘G*d’ is the Mystery Reality behind spiritual and religious experience, whatever their experience might be.

    Thus, I feel called to a spiritual life. As for religion, that, for me, is a matter of temperament. I’ve explored several traditions for spiritual life and have found that community is really important to me as the right context for spiritual life, but many people seem not to need community so much. The Religious Society of Friends is far and away the best fit for me in this regard, not just because of its openness to people like me, but because it already had mapped out paths inward and outward that perfectly matched my own patterns of spiritual life.

    I think of religion as the spiritual life of a community, the beliefs and practices it uses to experience G*d. Among Friends, I have had ‘religious’ experience, as well, adding to the store of transcendental and spiritual experiences I’ve had. For me, ‘religious experience’ is transcendental and spiritual experience shared with the community, experienced in common by the community. The primary form this has taken is the gathered meeting for worship–the inward centering of the community–and true vocal (and other kinds of) ministry–ministry that transforms the community and its members.

    Does this help? Does this make sense?

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