Thursday, June 18, 2009

Local insider info

Well kick me and call me crazy but I didn't know about this very interesting recourse on the Web - I'm impressed with this little recourse guide. Especially since I moved to the "big city" I can feel a little overwhelmed by event, places and people. This is a great little tool to get a local feel for the area or point of interest.

The reason I bring it up is my pursuit of religious enquiry. There are great ways to link to local flavor of the local religious community near me. Sweet.

Monday, June 15, 2009

the Value of Tolerance

I think many of my Christian friends would find it interesting that this month Pagan all over are talking about “Pagan Values.” Even if my friends think of Pagans as being hippie-dippy weed-smoking weirdoes? Well maybe some Pagans are (smile) but there is such an array of people that make up the earth-religion movement that I think my friends would be surprised. Those Pagans I’ve met (online and in person) are usually highly educated, caring, and other-centered people. I have no problem being associated with the Pagan community (though I’m not sure where I am yet with titles and labels).

I know that I did have many issues with being called a Christian, especially as a teenager. My friends were finally realizing that the history of the Western world was heavily influence by “Christian” wars and hatred. “Christian” meant things like narrow-minded, power-hungry, fearful, arrogant, elitists, oppressors, and the list goes on and on. All of these things are true. Yet what culture hasn’t done all of the above? And how many haven’t used their religion or a deity’s support to justify their actions?

Last year in an attempt to reconcile my issues with God I read The reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller. He brought up some good things about how culture and Christianity can come into conflict and culture often turns more wheels of culture and not so much on philosophy. As humans we use what we can to get what we want. He made a test of this by looking at the French Revolution which led to much death and oppression in the name of humanism. Or looking at the blooming of Communism which marched through-out Europe and Asia (and elsewhere) in the name of the Oppressed (in turn oppressing others).

So if this country turned on its head and became completely Pagan, I believe the devious and power-hungry would find a way to make war and oppress another “other.” Now I’m not saying the values of earth-based religions are less-than or just-like Christianity, but there will always be someone out there ready to exploit those around them. We (as humans) want to have comfort and peace but this world is just too big to make everyone’s desires and points of view line up to one another.

I think we have admit that the system of religious tolerance is the best way to make things work for everyone (unless humanity gets its act together). Christians and Pagans have to admit that they don’t often agree but it okay to disagree. As a fence sitter, I might not gain much respect for these ideas but that is one reason I am able to be a fence sitter. I can go to any church (or none at all) at this time in history. Now my family might not like my decision (as they are Christian) but they respect this idea of tolerance to point of letting me find my way. I think that if my family can do it, then it can’t be impossible for the wider world to find that balance, too.

Therefore, I think that if the Pagan community could truly be tolerant (because I’ve met some hostilities with-in this world) I would be more likely to join in wholeheartedly. As it stands I currently fear exposing my true feelings and attachments to the Christian beliefs I love and cherish too many in my local Pagan community. May things change for the better…

Friday, June 12, 2009

Religion and Spirituality Blog Directory

If you hug a tree, does it hug you back?

Alright. It's time for confession. I can't stop being a Christian (with all the baggage attached to the name). I love Jesus. I've met Him and can get rid of Him. Yet there is more to Him (the Trinity I mean). I know that the teachings I've received in the Assembly of God and Vineyard Churches are just part of the story. With this in mind I started exploring the "other" Christian philosophies and universal theories out there. I went to and took there "belief-o-matic" quiz for some perspective on what line of belief I really have.

I could help but come out as Christian (the answers are pretty ridged) but a liberal one at that. Not really surprise since I do know I believe in the feminine divine idea (oh, I need to explore that idea too...) Of the list I came across some interesting groups.

One I came across is Bahá'í ( faith and another is the Church of New Thought; the link is that they both look at Jesus as a part of the whole and have a church/building to meet in. They have a view of the world that is universal in scope with a liberal dose of Eastern thought.

I looked a little deep and found a Bahá'í decenter ( had some good insight into the patriarchal dimension and screwy "one way" doctrine that reminded me of Mormonism. Without going much deeper, I realized that was not a church for me.

Then I did some research on the New Thought movement and Unity Churches (there is one here in Pittsburgh). A large part of this ideology is that we have the Divine spark like Jesus did but we are really just like Jesus and just don't know it yet. I'm just not too sure about this idea. There is more to this world than just a bunch of bad decision - I do believe in evil and good existing outside of ourselves. This philosophy may be okay with my ideas but I don't see it so far.

Oh, well...I guess I'll just continue to hug my "Mother" and pray to Jesus for now...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The world of Paganism

Now I’m doing some more research on the world out side of fundamentalist Christianity. I just finished reading Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America by Chas Clifton (

I’ve been confused about what difference between Paganism, Witchcraft, Satanism, the New Age movement for awhile now since the church paint them all with the same brush. I found an interesting fairly balanced Christian website on this very issue (

I'll be writing more on this issue later on.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Buddhism and my background in church

Things are getting more and more complicated as I deal with this spiritual stoppage. My husband has now told me that he wants to go back to Buddhism. He wants to integrate Christianity and it's morals but to have the practices of Buddhism. I’ve never really been inclined to Buddhism and have attempted to read up on it. I find that it is even more theoretically diverse than Christianity and often removed from the idea of the Divine. That should make me happy, right? Getting away from God. But it doesn’t. Instead it just makes me feel ... wrong. It is funny that when I run up against the practices of another religion that my personal Christian history and comfort zones pop-up again and again. Though I am angry at God, there are a lot of aspects of Christianity that I like.
I like that the history of Christianity has given rise to equal rights and changes in society that helped end thins like slavery. There are good things that came out of this belief system. I haven’t really seen these things in other belief systems (yet). I look at Buddhist countries (for example) and you rarely see humans treating other humans with more respect or love because the faith of their fathers teach it. I am open to hearing otherwise of course. The evil that gets pinned on Christianity is a symptom of humanity. Nothing evil under a Christian system can be called original to that religion’s influence. Anyone can use whatever they’d like to justify their selfish desires or self promotion; whether it be land grabs, slavery, killing or what have you. Forcing a religion on another culture or people did not begin nor will end with Christianity.

However, I know that part of Buddhism's appeal for my husband is the individualism of Buddhism. There seems a strong aspect of self discipline and self enlightenment. Very much his style. He is always telling me to think for myself and so on. Also, since he was never one for church the practice of spiritual “together time” actually disgusts him. I am trying to understand this, but it is difficult since I have had so many opposite experiences from him.

I grew up in a charismatic church, including the Assembly of God denomination. I was used to singing, clapping, kneeling, lay down, dancing, etc. so for me church is a place a free expression. However, I learned on my own experiences that there is a time and a place for such things. I don't think these expressions are wrong but maybe it encourages a false form of "praise" to God. I have attended many types of Christian churches - Nazarene, Assembly of God, Messianic temple, non-denominational, Pentecostal, Southern Baptist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic and (this weekend) Orthodox.

Personally, when I actually wanted to spend time with the Divine Force I would sit in my room and meditate on a Christian song and writings and of course scripture. As a young adult I started learning about "Celtic Christianity" since this was the fad in music at the time. I was in love with Iona's music and the prayer-songs they had on their CD's. I learned that there were churches springing up in the "celtic areas" and got some of their prayer books. I like that they integrated nature and the seasons into the worship. In high school readings I'd been exposed to the Emerson/Theauro schools of thought and loved the idea that God was in everything around us. Of course the Celtic church is not a church I can attend around my neighborhood and I attempted to have my own times of church at home. Then I moved in to paganism. The Celtic Church was not the cause of this but it was around this time the I had a breaking with God. I have not really recovered from it either, but know I don't want to be a pagan/druid/wiccan... I just need to get this all figured out and to make my existence mean something, too.