Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let's Talk Religion

No, really. Let's talk religion.

Run away if you want, I promise not to be offended. I also promise that this isn't about me trying to convert or un-convert people, or about getting up on my high horse, or preaching at you all. This is about me talking about how I fit into the jigsaw of our world. This is about me exploring, in words, how I feel about something that means a lot to me. It has little or nothing to do with sex, sexuality, or sex toys, so if that's what you're here for, try one of my other posts. The few who are still interested, follow me down the rabbit hole - I mean, follow me past the jump.

I've never been very comfortable with organized religion. I never thought it was wrong, or bad - it just wasn't for me. It didn't feel right. It didn't fit, for lack of a better term. And because my family was part of a church, to which I was brought every week, I got it drummed into my head that good people want to go to church, that if you're a good little girl and really love God, that you'll want to do everything possible to get closer to Him. Which, of course, included coming to church, and liking it.

I could read between the lines. I heard what they didn't say. Good people love church. Therefore, if you really, really feel uncomfortable during church, if you disliked church services no matter how hard you tried, you must be bad. You must be evil. Somewhere, deep down, you really rejected God.

That has always been deeply at odds with how I experienced my life. When no one was around, I would sometimes go sit in the sanctuary and listen to the silence. Oh, not in some mystical way. I wasn't listening for voices of angels or anything. It was just a beautiful space, and when no one was there it felt so peaceful, so safe. I could finally get away from the crowds of people that seemed so tightly crowded it was almost like they were inside my head.

(No, I'm not a big fan of large, noisy crowds. How could you tell...?)

I've always had a pretty good relationship with whatever is out there/up there/in here, or however you choose to put it. I've always talked to it; I may never have heard a voice answering back, but... hell, I'll admit it, I think I may have gotten guidance other ways a few times. Whatever name you choose to give it, I've talked to that benevolent higher power, or rather at it. And I've loved it and looked to it for protection and guidance when I wasn't going to get it anywhere else.

For a long time, I tried to be a good little Christian girl. I called it the Trinity, read the bible, and feared Satan. I'm too much of a scientist, though. I ask too many questions, and there are certain questions you just can't ask without getting thrown out of Sunday School. All were asked in innocent curiosity, but there were some things you just weren't supposed to question.

I can't quite remember when it happened, but eventually I decided that I couldn't be part of a religious denomination that demanded I set aside the divine's greatest gift to me - my mind. If it was given to me, and wasn't just the luck of the genetic draw, then I was meant to use it, not lock it away. And that's what the people of our corner of religion were trying to tell me to do.

Ever since, in the safety of my own mind I've referred to myself as more "spiritual" than "religious" because I just don't seem to mesh well with any one religion. If I feel the need for a ritualized worship like those I grew up with, I'm just as likely to take elements from other religions as the one I was raised to, if they touch me and make sense to me.

My Wiccan friends tell me that among them, I would be called a Solitary. I guess it's as good a term as any. I prefer to worship alone. A relationship to... whatever you choose to call that higher power is a deeply personal, intimate thing to me. It just feels wrong worshiping in a group. It feels... not dirty, not degrading, and I'm not even sure if sacrilegious is the right word, but... well, I would feel the same way if I were to get up in front of the congregation, strip naked, and masturbate in front of them. Neither masturbation nor worship is shameful, but they are very personal, intimate experiences that I am not, in any way, comfortable with sharing with the world that way.

As outgoing as I often seem, I'm a rather private person. I'm not really at home in crowds or in gossip. And even if I'll stay up all night with sharing our deepest secrets, I'm probably not going to masturbate in front of you, or really let myself go in worship in front of you. Ever.

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