I am at peace

Sent in by Jamie

Since de-converting, the question of "what is spiritual" comes up a lot. I am learning to just let it flow and enjoy it, whatever "it" is and even if "it" is simply my imagination.

The other day, a man I know shared about how agitated he was and how he realized that he was trying to control everything. "When I remember that it is God's will, not mine," he said, "then things are okay and I am at peace". I had to think about this a lot. From this new perspective of mine, it seemed meaningless. He said he was giving control back to God (or "letting go and letting God" in the cultural parlance). It occurred to me that what he thinks of as "God's Will" is simply the way things are. He is at peace when he accepts the world around him as it is.

...As it is... If we personified "The world as it is"--if the world could speak in the first person--would it say, "I Am"? Isn't that God's name?

The poet in me plays with this stuff. And whatever I call "spirituality" flows like this. I can no longer believe in the Christian God as He was presented to me. In fact, I am unsure if I can believe in any God at all. But I can believe that the world "is", that we "are", that I "am". And when I accept that, when I take a deep breath and breathe in the air that "is" and feel the keyboard under my fingers, and wonder at the world around me and the way I can experience it in the present...the way I'm 'designed' to and the only way I can...I am at peace.

Already I can anticipate the "yeah, buts" going on in people's heads...whether or not they actually are. Peace is elusive as long as I worry about what other people think of my spirituality. But when I think of all the people who now consider me lost, who think of my de-conversion as a pan frying me into human bacon, it hurts. I don't want people to have to think that.

After it hurts, it makes me angry. It makes me angry that I've been part of a system that perpetuates this divide (all the while insisting it's about unity). It makes me angry that it is still being perpetuated on all too willing souls. It makes me angry that the only way to bridge the chasm, it seems, is for me to reconvert and believe what I'm supposed to (which, at this point, means pretending to believe what I am supposed to).

Sometimes I have to remember that I take my beliefs personally, and so do most others. It's a fine line between "I'm right" and "you're wrong", yet it's the line on which I have to balance. When it comes to spirituality, nothing is provable. It's one of the few areas that I can say "I think I am right" without meaning "I think you are wrong". Because the truth is, that I simply don't know the unknowable. And so I remember that I have to let the anger go.

It helps that I have some friends who are willing to listen. Some of these are Christian friends. Some of them believe I'll come around even if I don't see how. One of these friends is agnostic and has been able to share with me some of the loneliness that comes along with losing faith. She assures me that things will be okay once the shock wears off.

And in the mean time I practice accepting what is and discover moments where I realize that there is wonder enough in what is to give me a lifetime of awe. And if there turns out to be magic in it, that would be okay too.

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Fretbuzz said...

Hey Jamie - you remind me a lot of my personal deconversion experience. The funny thing is, I now realize that all the so-called blessings of being a christian - ie. peace, love, joy etc. - have always been, and are still with me. As a musician, I find it very easy to accept what is when music is being played. I think it's great that your poetry is a vehicle (yana) to experience peace.

Yes, it's painful at first to disengage that entire world - but I'm glad you have at least one agnostic friend to be with (unlike many others surrounded by fundies).

"It makes me angry that I've been part of a system that perpetuates this divide (all the while insisting it's about unity)" <-- love that statement .. so true! How is one at peace when there is no ability to identify with the other? (the monster, the daemon ..)

Hey - maybe you could share/write some poems for other xtians..

Peace :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Jamie,

I feel the same way about life. I've considered myself a christian for a while but I slowly started leaving the religious mindset and just being spiritual. I just believe in a universal God just to be at peace with myself and the world around me. There is no rights, wrongs, or absolutes in my opinion. With the many religions we have out here, I respect the people thats involved in them and they're opinions.

My biggest problem with religion is that everyone of them claims to have "the" answer and "the" truth. I choose to look from the outside in and just do what I want to do and enjoy life. If religion is your thing then its your thing but dont condemn me to hell for not believing in your God you know. I still read scriptures in some Holy books that can apply to my life and help me see things from a different perspective but if something doesnt compute and logically dont make sense, then I choose to leave it alone. I look at it this way, if your God is the real deal then he will speak to me and lead me where I need to be. No need for me to listen to worship music or a sermon just to feel the spirit in the room.

Anonymous said...

Do you sort of feel that any intelligent creator of everything, shouldn't really be dependent on our love and adoration, and should be able to get by, without the constant assurance that we love him/It? I do.

It's nice to know that I don't have to worry about the mental health of God anymore.

Since I quit asking him for what I want, and telling him how much I love him, (over and over) I have received something of what I needed, that peace of mind that you speak of.

I have followed (here on Ex-Christian) YOUR change also, from being a somewhat, naive, believer to a fairly sophisticated Agnostic, with a talent for writing.

I now feel that I am allowed to enjoy life as much as I can, and it is my right to own my thoughts, and not allow a Bronze age mythology to dictate to me what to think and do.

All of the admonitions that those primitive people so brilliantly included into their directions on what, and who, and how, to believe, and what will happen to me if I don't, have failed.

I guess I was just lucky, or to lazy to pay attention. They never succeeded at getting me locked into their cult.

My natural skepticism was successful in inoculating me for the virus called Christianity. I don't think you will ever catch it again either.
Dan, Agnostic

Anonymous said...

Indeed, very well said, Jamie! I agree with FretBuzz, perhaps you should write us some poetry!?

Bill B said...

Hey Dano,

These words written by you, so sum up my life............

"I guess I was just lucky, or to lazy to pay attention. They never succeeded at getting me locked into their cult.

My natural skepticism was successful in inoculating me for the virus called Christianity."

Because I have always been naturally skeptic, I too was never drawn into the cult or caught the Christian virus, despite the fact that I tried so hard to get in so many times. I could never get Christianity to fully embed itself within me.

Jamie your friend you mentioned in the begining reminds me of the same old tired stories I would hear at the many AA meetings I attended. People would state that living their lives stubbornly on their terns never worked out, and it wasn't until they put their problems in God's hands and let him do things his way that positive chages occured.

It is just so crazy how something that does not exist can do so much for someone.


K R said...

Awww Jamie, that was beautifully written! I am not being sarcastic when I say that I just got a little teary eyed from reading it. I like how you differentiate the Christian way of being dependent on a god, compared with just letting things be how they are. Lovely. Thank you for sharing!

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