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I have been thinking a lot, lately, about Faith. I don’t think that I concur that the words faith and belief are interchangeable. My faith is based on my security in knowing that there is a supreme power – whether it is called God, or Mother, or some other name. I have spoken before of my “belief” that I can best be categorized as a Spiritual Feminist. I believe in the power of the feminine, and I believe that spirituality goes way beyond organized religion, or a body of congregants that worship in the same way. I have heard others’ say that they worship in the church of Green Meadows, or other euphemism for worshiping by being out-of-doors. And there is certainly something to be said for finding nature a way to appreciate our planet’s beauty and grace. Mostly, though, I see that as a cop-out for dealing with the realities of organized religion. Many of the world’s woes can be attributed to disagreement about the nature of faith and the nature of the supreme being and her desires from established mainline churches.
Yet, just I believe, for the most part, that working within the system garners more results than working in extremism – I also believe that organized mainstream PROTESTANT churches have great use and validity in social reform; dealing with poverty, hunger, homelessness and environmental issues. Again, I believe that these churches are politically liberal, socially forward and spiritually devout. But it is not the only path, or the right path, or the destined path for everyone. I am a baptized Congregationalist (my maternal Grandfather was a Congregationalist minister) raised in the Methodist Church. I still attend, when I can (my church is an hour away by winding roads) and enjoy the fellowship, the music and the connection to those who have a similar faith to my own.
But (LOTS of ‘buts” in this blog today – my grandfather used to say “thousands of Christians are sliding to hell on their ‘buts’) that belief system – Methodism – is not really my faith basis. I don’t find comfort in reciting the Apostles Creed because of my faith, but because of my upbringing in the Methodist church. I believe faith is an appreciation of we cannot see, cannot touch.
I decided that what would be most helpful to me on my path to human and personal understanding is to list what I do believe, and what forms the basis of my daily faith.
I have faith in a Supreme Being that has neither gender nor physical presence – all around us and in us and of us.
I see Christ, Muhammad, the Buddha, Miriam, the Magdalene and countless others as brothers and sisters in faith . They trod the same path to human understanding and wholeness. I do not discount their possible divinity, but do not see them as divine in character, only in outreach and intent. We are ALL divine, and ALL human.
I believe the Bible is only one work of faith and belief – other religious holy books are equally important and equally divine. I see the Bible as a series of parables, told BY MANKIND to others, not as the word straight from God, but an interpretation of Godly intent and inspiration.
I believe faith is a path trod by ALL of us, in different climes, with different perspectives, and different approaches, all holy, and all reaching. I think until we stop the divisiveness and “holier than thou” attitudes that are tied in with mainstream religion and religious fanaticism we will never find peace, never be able to give hope and understanding and never be able to solve worldwide problems. We have to let go of having to be “right” and divisive by our religion, and move forward with an all-encompassing faith in humankind. On EARTH as it is in Heaven…