Monday, November 14, 2005

Time of Reflection

Since I haven't had much to say lately, I thought I would post some entries from my other blog about when I first started considering a step back into religion in general. I started my Catholic blog right before RCIA this year in September, but I began having thoughts about things religious a year before. So here are some previous entries. It's kind of interesting to see how far I've come since then.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Reunion and Religion

Well, I made it through the big family reunion with Marty. He has a HUGE family. And I only saw a portion of them. But I did very well on remembering names. I didn't feel uncomfortable at it either. There were a few moments that he left me alone longer than he should have, but it wasn't too bad. At least I already knew his parents and siblings. (You have to understand that I'm still a little shy in big social situations) He seemed to think it was a pretty big deal that I went with him. It seems that his ex was intimitated by such a large family and would never go. He told me that he loved me even more for going to it. I didn't think it was a great sacrifice on my part. I was actually flattered that he had invited me to go before we had even gotten very serious. I would have been even hurt had I not been invited to go. His family was very nice and he tells me that they all like me. He kept acting like they were a bunch of weirdos and that I should be worried about getting involved with a family like his... but I had news for him... my family is very much more on the strange side than his. His were quite normal. The only thing about them is that they're all pretty much devoted Catholics... which isn't strange, just something that was interesting to witness. Since then we've talked about Marty's religious background. He's kind of in the same boat as me right now having a distaste for religion in general. But it's something that I think he's interested in looking into again. We went to Barnes and Noble last night. He bought himself a Catholic Bible. I got a book on understanding Catholicism. If nothing, it will be interesting to learn about it. I think that anything has got to be better than the Baptist upbringing I was involved in. (no offense to the Baptists out there) I just felt that too many of them were being judgmental of me and I saw a lot of hypocrisy.. which I know exists in probably every church. It just ended putting a sour taste in my mouth about it and for the past 13 years or so I haven't actively been involved in a church. Not that I think I should have been. I guess I'm still at a confused place where I believe in God and His mercy and grace, but I can't allow myself to live a hypocritical life. Perhaps I'm at a point now where I can look at another spiritual journey.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Spiritual Reckoning

I've been thinking about religion quite a bit lately. This is something that hasn't really been on my mind actively for about 14 years. It started again with Marty. You can see my post about his reunion and religion. Well, since then I've read two Catholic books and ordered some other books on Christianity.
Though my faith might have waned to some degree, I have always believed in God and feel that despite my pagan state, He's taken care of me. I figured if He wanted to get in touch with me again and speak to my heart, He would when it was the right time. Perhaps it's now.
But let's get some background. My first religious experience that I remember was around 2nd grade. I was not raised in the church. I vaguely remember going with my aunt when I was little, but never my parents. I used to go to vacation Bible school in Canyon. But in 2nd grade I was invited to go to San Jacinto Baptist church with the promise of skating parties, ice cream socials etc. Of course I wanted to go! And I got the fire and brimstone speech that scared me into salvation. I was told all about hell and what a horrible place it was and how I was going to go there unless I was saved. And all I had to do was to say a prayer and ask Jesus in my heart and I would be saved. Simple as that. Nothing to it. So one Sunday I went up to the front of the church with all the other people that wanted to be saved and knelt on the steps and waited for someone to come talk to me. And nobody came to talk to me. I was scared and felt like everyone was staring at me. Finally after what seemed like forever, a grown-up came to talk to me and took me out to another room. He asked me the typical questions like did I believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Did I want to be saved etc... and I said the prayer and got Baptized the same day. I went to Sunday school and learned the books of the Bible and stories about Jesus. It was grand. And best of all were the skating and ice cream parties. What fun! I went to church there for about 3 years I think. After that, we moved to the middle of nowhere and I didn't go to church for a while. I remember that after I was Baptized, my aunt, who was Episcopalian, said that I could participate in the Lord's supper at her church from then on. So I got a taste of the Episcopal church for several years off and on when I would visit her. I went again when I was a freshman in high school. I went with some friends to Paramount Baptist church. Again, I got the fire and brimstone speech that scared me and I thought that before I might not have been really saved before and so I did it again. But that was a one time thing really. I only went to church a couple of times after that. Then I started going to church with Bret. (the one that I was in love with from about 9th-11th grade) His dad was a preacher at (you guessed it) a Baptist church in Amarillo. They would pick me up from my house in the middle of nowhere and take me to church every Sunday. I didn't go through a salvation process at this time. I remember that I barely listened to the sermons and faked the singing. God wasn't really speaking to me. And then finally I was in college. And I still hung around Bret, who by that time was a preacher in his own church. (Once again Baptist) And during my sophomore year, he and another guy from band (who was "born again" the year before) had a party. It wasn't your typical college party. This one involved a sermon more or less. And once again I was "saved". This time was weird though. During the time when everyone's heads are bowed and they're telling you about your need to accept Christ I started shaking. I couldn't stop. I wasn't cold and yet I could not stop shaking. I took it as a sign and I felt that this time I would really be "saved." So I talked about it and once again said the prayer etc... blah, blah, blah. I was Baptized for the second time. But this time I did get involved with the church. I started going to Bible studies. I went to church religiously (pun intended). And I earnestly tried to learn about living a Christian life. That's when it started to get difficult. The more I understood about living a Christian life, the harder it became. And then I was very, very bad. I got pregnant. And boy did I feel judged. And I know I was. But I still went to church for a while. Then all of a sudden, Kevin (the convert that was part of the party that "helped" me) got up one Sunday and told the church that he discovered recently that he had not really been saved. And that he just recently totally committed himself to Christ. So I began to question my salvation once again and thought, how does one ever really know? And I started seeing a lot of hypocrisy in the people of the church. And I felt judged. And I guess I preferred being the sinner that I was rather than trying to live a life that I didn't feel I could live. So I stopped going.
So since then I've continued to pray from time to time. I've continued to believe in God. I started to think that I didn't need religion to be spiritual. I wondered why we had so many different kinds of religions and how would you know which one was right. And if they were all right in their own way. I also felt that if I were going to get involved with a church again that God would speak to me and I'd be guided by the Holy Spirit.
So now I've got an interest in it. And I'm trying to understand the different parts of Christianity. What it's all about really. And what the difference between the protestant denominations are. And what Catholicism is. And so far it's been interesting. And a little frightening.
I'm starting to think that maybe I am going to be called to get involved in church again. And perhaps even become Catholic. And what scares me is once again living that Christian life that I found so difficult before. I worry that in doing so, I'll lose part of my identity. That I have to give up part of me to be a part of Christ. That I have to really change. Not that change is bad, but I kind of like who I am at this point. And knowing me the way I do, if I do decide to jump into it all again, I'll go at it full force. With all my heart. And maybe that would allow me to be able to deal with it better. But at this point I'm still just seeking knowledge.
So those things have been on my mind lately. I was thinking about it in the car today on my way home from my dance workout class. And all of a sudden I saw a rainbow. A perfect rainbow. Every single color distinguished and vibrant. In a perfect arch. A spectacular, beautiful sight.
Do I take that as a sign?

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