what is a faith based world?

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This was one of those photos that spoke to me.  I had no idea at the time what I was capturing, I was just snapping away. And then when I was editing there was a kind of funky irony to a street sign indicating a crooked road in front of a church.  Are we to assume the path to true piety is crooked? Or am I being jaded?

A friend and I were discussing religion today.  More specifically Catholicism. He asked me if I went to church regularly. (We are both Catholic) I said no and that honestly I had not even picked a church to attend in Chester County since I moved out here.  He asked me if I missed church and I said, honestly, no. (And understand this friend of mine is a little right of Attila the Hun as far as conservatism and religion go.)

Ok not a nice thing to admit, but I am totally conflicted about the Catholic Church, especially given all the issues in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  As an adult who is free thinking I have a hard time with why it is I should believe in a church that allowed so many predators and pedophiles of children to roam around unfettered.  When I was a child I never knew priests like this existed. I went to church, to Sunday school. I believed. Maybe it’s that whole thing about when you are a child you believe with a child’s innocence.  (Of course that is why I am glad there are non-profits out there now like Justice4PAKids.)

church 2(Ok so I mean no disrespect for the Mennonite Church.  I just like to photograph fire and brimstone as well as amusing religious signs. Just thought I would say that on the record.)

Anyway, we got into this whole deep and slightly esoteric discussion about faith and faith based lifestyles and how people should go to church more and how the world would be a better place if people went to church more.

Ideologically, yes, perhaps. But we live in the real world, right?

So I am a Catholic, I have my faith, but am conflicted by my church and the actions of said church. How do I resolve that? Do I pretend questions don’t exist?

And then there is the whole thing of joining a new church.  How do I pick one and will I feel like the new kid transferring into school if I go to mass at one of them?  I have already had a couple of years of that new kid in town feeling, and well it was much easier to deal with when you are a kid because I think we are just more flexible when we are younger.

But  some days my brave new world is daunting. You know because it’s new. It’s exciting and happy and all sorts of positive and amazing things, but some days it is like being the new kid in school.  It took me a year before I actually recognized someone in a grocery store.  So the idea of all eyes on the newbie in the church pew is so utterly unappealing.

When it comes down to it, how do I even go about choosing a church?  I thought about checking out Saints Peter and Paul on Boot Road. But then, one day driving by I saw all these extremely disturbing anti-abortion signs along their property line facing the road.  Iprocrazy might be Catholic but I believe in a woman’s right to choose no matter what that choice
is. What I believe is right for me personally is not something I feel I could foist on another woman. Nor do I believe things like this belong on either a political platform or a pulpit. So to say I dislike these signs is a bit of an understatement. (Don’t even get me started on the pro-life billboards!)

Of course the other thing is the whole idea of living in faith based world. Do we live with faith as part of our world or is it supposed to control our world? When I see websites or articles about “faith based investing” for example, I have to wonder.  Will I next see faith based grocery shopping ?

My other issues with religion these days? Birth control and religious beliefs and what are they going to allow their employees to have as far as health insurance related to that?  Should we sit idly by while the rights of millions are dictated by the beliefs of a few?

How do I join the beliefs of traditional religion to the modern world in which I live? I still consider myself to be a person who believes in God and has faith.  But I don’t know what to do with the rest of it. How can I still be Catholic if I question so much about my own religion, for example?

Of course there is also the whole thing of meeting some people  in recent years who professed to be oh so godly, so pious.  Quite literally holier than thou. They were as mean as snakes to some  and do the whole “bless your heart” thing to most. church 1

“Bless your heart” is basically a Southern Idiom as I know it and considered pejorative. When you meet these official “bless your heart” types they  will smile to someone’s face and stab them in the back before they are turned around, and well to me it is a sad commentary on humanity.

So are we more politically correct to be faith based, or is it a marketing tool of lobbyists and way too conservative for me personally political groups (or aspiring politicians)?

Faith based by definition is “affiliated with, supported by, or based on a religion or religious group”.  We live in a country founded on religious freedoms, so how does that compute?

What kind of God are we supposed to believe in? Allowed to believe in? Is religion supposed to be gentle and all enveloping or punishing? Is religion supposed to be a private belief system or a political platform?

So many questions.

I know truly religious and pious people who do amazing things and then there are the others who use religious beliefs as judgment, i.e. how people stack up against their moral high road to nowhere fast.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “what is a faith based world?

  1. What a subject….and you are so brave to open this up. I too have given up going to church. I think people use religion to hide behind as an excuse to pass judgement on others that do not believe as they do. Religion was created to control the masses..control the “legions” in Roman times. It has always been political. Look at the wars we have today in the Middle East. Nothing sets off a gathering faster in the wrong direction than a politically opposing remark or a birth control statement. Put the fear of God in all of us instead of Love. As children we are taught in Sunday school to love God, who is loving us unconditionally. As we become adults this gets jaded and shaded; “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has taken on a new meaning in our fast paced world. Translated, “I better do it or take it before someone else does! ”
    Discrimination against different faiths, races and sexual preferences have been preached across the pulpit for generations. As attendance in churches have fallen, i.e. the Catholic Church having to close many of their schools and holdings, maybe some of us are beginning to think for ourselves and it is time for a Faith Transformation. I believe that FAITH is a spiritual belief that God loves us and forgives. It matters not what religion you have been taught. My Faith is that
    God/Spirit or by any name, is everywhere for everyone, and it teaches me tolerance because I know I am loved unconditionally.

  2. Hmmm…this post will make us all think. I am Christian and do believe in God. My first response is that you need to separate the man made religion from the faith in God. Don’t punish God and your own spirituality because the man made venue of religious affiliation you have associated with has gone wrong or made mistakes. God sent us his word through the Bible and that is where you can turn to know God. Once man gets in the way it gets all messed up because humans are not God and will fall by their own limitations – which is why I believe we need God. Well that’s how it rolled out of my head – I hope it makes sense when read! I’ll have to stop back and see if there are other comments to read later.

    • What you wrote makes sense and is very thoughtful. I don’t punish God, and I believe BUT what I don’t like are people who use God as an excuse to punish. I was just thinking about stuff and out came the post!

    • Oh, and I found a church that tries very hard not to become ‘religion’ but a faith that points you to a personal relationship with God. There is a difference and it is so refreshing…people from all religious backgrounds have come..Catholic, Jewish, Hindu – because it is real faith. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend it to you cause I am in Montgomery County. Good luck getting the answers you are looking for.

  3. a long time ago we kept track of which we had tried more—churches or dancing schools trying to find the right “fit”. We tried quite a few of each and they had startlingly similar traits, too pushy, too crowded, too narrow minded, too demanding. God is with you always, in your heart.–not in a building. My dad used to say his favorite “church’ was his orchard.–his Quaker heritage coming thru? perhaps.

  4. As a child raised in the Catholic Church (I also attended Catholic elementary and high school) I really relate to your adult feelings today and confusion about whether to make a decision to go back. The minute I turned 18 and was no longer forced to go by my family I didn’t. But recently after having several children of my own the subject of whether to take my kids to church caused me to think about this again. My husband is a non practicing Jewish man so no help there. I visited a few different churches over the years (Episcopal, Pentecostal, Methodist, Quaker). So none of them felt quite right. Nevermind the new girl feeling. I felt all the people were welcoming and each had it’s merit. But am just not a fan of all the politics and rules that exist in all of them. So, in the meantime. I read the bible online when I feel moved to, I answer my kids questions the best that I can, and have decided to let go of trying to join what I consider to be a “religious” club. God will find you anywhere-assisting someone in need that you come in contact with, while working in your garden, in the laughter of kids…I’m so glad to be out of the “club”. Good luck!

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