Well, it’s almost a year since I joined my new church as a member, and over a year that I’ve been attending. I still enjoy it, and I’m very glad I went back.
Progress report: I’ve gotten more involved with the church by making Facebook posts on behalf of the church on our page, ushering, participating in a video interview, and I’m about to join the A/V team. I’ve gone to a few game nights, Lenten soup suppers, and we even have a sci-fi lovers social group, which I’m in. I think it’s so cool for a church to have that. I’ve also met several other members interested in writing. One of them even published a book. So, I guess it’s fair to say that the social aspect is still a big part of why I go.
How am I doing in my “walk”? For one, I pray more often, though not everyday. When I do pray, I try to really focus on what I’m communicating to God. I don’t just say the words in my head. For instance, if I’m praying for someone’s surgical procedure to be successful, or for an illness, or physical and emotional pains to pass, I put myself in that person’s place. I think about how I would feel as I talk to God about them. I think that’s important so that you connect with the Holy Spirit rather than just rattling off a half-hearted request to a far-off God. It goes back to my doubts about God hearing prayers that I mentioned in Part I. I think that we’re connected to God and to one another through the spiritual plane. The words are just the way we form our thoughts and feelings. They’re important, but not necessarily the part to which God responds. I believe He responds to our souls’ stirrings.
I won’t tell you that I don’t still have doubts about prayer and God’s involvement in our lives. I do. But I feel a connection, nonetheless. I think, sometimes, it’s hard to feel it with so many distractions and demands on our time. I push through it though as an exercise of faith. Isn’t that what faith means after all? To accept what we can’t see, hear, touch, or even feel emotionally or spiritually, at times. It’s a process, and an enriching one.
One of the doubts that gets in the way of my personal connection with God is the conflict between my traditional upbringing, with its strict adherence to the letter of the law of scriptures, and my changing beliefs. Specifically, being gay and knowing that the Bible says things against homosexuality. Sometimes I think that maybe the early church leaders “edited” the scriptures that had been passed down to fit their own beliefs and to keep control of the masses. I watch the skies for the expected lightning bolt when I even think that. I’m still working through all that.
A recent development in that department came a couple of months ago. My pastor writes occasional articles for the local paper, and who do you think saw one of them? My mother. The pastor mentioned her same-sex spouse in the article. I never got around to telling my mom that the church I’d chosen was a gay church. The cat was out of the bag. She wrote a bunch of scriptures down for me to look at and gave them to me when she was here visiting. She mentioned the article and said “you know it’s not the Lord’s will”, regarding same-sex marriages. We briefly debated the issue and I promised I’d look at the scriptures. I have yet to do that.
I will have to read them and prepare a response. That will be Part III of this post, and hopefully an open discussion with Mom.