Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Losing my religion

A year ago next week, April 4th, Easter Sunday to be exact, was the last time I stepped foot in a church for a worship service and Martha Stewart as my witness, I shall never again. I had begun to have my doubts about organized religion earlier that spring, but as the Lenten season progressed and headed towards Easter; I became more and more detached. The reasons for my decision to leave have been discussed here in previous posts, so I don’t think they need rehashing at this time. There is a handy archive on the bottom right of this page for your convenience if you want to know more.

So what has happened during this time? Not much. As mentioned previously, I feel nothing spiritually. I felt like a total hypocrite that Sunday as the glorious organ in the church blasted out Wesley’s amazing hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Helen Keller probably would have felt (and heard) more than I did that day. I would now call myself spiritually numb. The prayers that once brought me comfort now mean nothing. I drive by the mega churches here in Jackson and the bile rises in my stomach. I read about ministers using their pulpits to hurl their vile and spiritually corrupt sermons against my LGBT brethren and my heart sinks lower and lower. You can only hope and pray so much before you start to hit a spiritual brick wall, and you can only commit yourself to a church and then get rebuked so many times before you say “ENOUGH!” and move on.

And that’s what we (Tod and I) did. However, there is a still a member of our family who goes to Sunday School each week and who reminds us at our meals that we need to say a prayer. Anna still goes to the church next to us each week for Sunday school. While I think her motives are more for dress up and snacks than spiritual fulfillment, I can’t blame the girl for wanting to get fancy once a week. However, we remain detached and not involved with her spiritual growth. Eli knows nothing of church and at this point, I don’t really care if he ever does. I am glad we had him baptized, but now, I am wondering if it was really worth it for all the vows and promises we made that Sunday in the church that ultimately pushed me away from my faith.

Our year used to be marked by the liturgical calendar as it plodded through the various seasons of the church year. We would celebrate Advent and Lent, and look forward to the holidays that they brought. Now, we mark time a little differently. This year, we made a big fuss about Mardi gras and St. Patrick’s Day, and not for their religious meanings. We decked out the house in green, purple, and yellow and laissez les bons temps rouler throwing beads and makin’ whoopee to some New Orleans Jazz while eating shrimp gumbo and wolfing down some beignets.

So what about Easter this year? It’s hard to say at this point. For the first time since Anna was born, we will be somewhere besides our home for the holiday so it will definitely be different. For Eli, we’ll focus on the eggs and Peeps and the fun of finding what we hid at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. For Anna, I am certain she will go to church, but beyond that, who knows. My Celtic ancestors had strong ties to the seasonal changes, something the early Christian church understood and readily co-opted to their benefit. Maybe it’s time to get back to my inner-Pagan and look back in time instead of forward for how we mark time and celebrate the year. As spring slowly rears its lovely head here in Michigan, my faith in the world comes back, but my faith in organized religion has not. It will take more than a garden full of daffodils coming up to change my mind on that.