Monday, July 29, 2013

Losing my religion

Well, life got away from me again and I MAJORLY slacked on the blogging front.  I know, no surprise there.  But hey, I have two kids under 8 with the energy capacity of Red Bull-amped chimpanzees, so who could blame me?


I've said it before, I will say it again: I was raised Catholic.  Did the baptism, communion, confession, stuff.  Sang the hymns, can still repeat the proper responses expected during Sunday mass. My kids are both baptized. You know what I took away from my years in church?  There's a lot of Latin in Catholicism.  And the Bible?  SO not a user-friendly read.
As I have grown older, I have come to realize that my church is wherever I make it.  My "religion" is simply my relationship with God.  I have faith.  I just don't pin myself to an "organization" anymore. That's all religion really is, if you think about it: an organization.  Just like the Parent Teacher Association at school.  You have the devout, devoted, crazy-busy, living-for-the-organization folks, just as you do the uber-perfect, over-scheduled soccer mom in the PTA.  The church, just like the PTA, only seems to like you if you have something to give, and if you fit with their concept of "right."  I am not a PTA mom.  I don't fit anyone's mold.
So many use their religion as a platform on which to stand and spew judgment.  They justify their intolerance of others who they think are "wrong" with the fact that they go to church on Sunday, or read their Bible.  I don't know about you, but my parents raised me to believe that we are all humans deserving of love, understanding, compassion and acceptance.  It shouldn't matter who you love, where you worship, if you read the Bible or not.  If you are a good, hard working, productive, honest citizen you're all right in MY book.  I could care less if the person you are married to is the same sex as you.  Why is that my business?  If you pray, cool.  If you don't, that's also cool.  Cause guess what?  YOUR life is YOUR life.  Unless you are out there committing crimes or being a jerk, it should not matter what you do with your time, or who you do it with.
I know I have blogged about this very topic before.  You may be sick of reading about it.  But the truth of the matter is this: I wouldn't have to blog about it if I wasn't faced with overriding judgment every time I turned around!  It's everywhere!
What happened to holding yourself accountable for your own doings?  Owning your rights and wrongs, your sins and your triumphs?  Everyone says that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. They're right.  But you know what?  The fact that the Pledge of Allegiance has been taken out of some schools has nothing to do with that.  We are so busy looking for someone to blame for all the bad in the world, that we forget to stop and look in the mirror.  We forget to reach out a hand to someone in need, no matter where we are at in our own lives.  We forget to band together as a country and act like the beautiful, brave, free melting pot that we are.  We judge people who are different colors, who love differently than we do, who practice a different faith than we do.  Where's the love in that?
I am conflicted.  Really and truly.  How do I reconcile the church of my childhood with the wonderful people in my life that some religions say are horrible?  How can I look at my kids, remember what they faced, and think about what they have yet to face, and not want, no, NEED something to believe in?  I guess it comes down to just trying to be the absolute best person I can be.  I know that I will fail, and I will fall on my face, and it won't be graceful.  But you know what?  That's OK!  
If you truly believe, you know that you don't need a building full of like-minded people to tell you that you are a good person.  You already know.