I haven't talked about religion in a long time because once my identity became revealed, I had to make this blog future-employer-friendly. But my spirituality is bursting out of me to speak.
I started this blog in the beginning of 2008 as a spiritual exploration: I looked for the faces of God and reported on them, one a week, hence, "52 Faces." Midway through the first year, the focus shifted to an inner face.
Two other things occurred that have made my life feel less spiritual since:
1) I changed relationships, from one with a spiritually open guy, to one with an extremely unspiritual one who really hated any hint of religious recruitment. (Bad experience with a crazy Korean Christian - we all know way too many of them.)
Being with a non-spiritual guy is tough. I don't feel entirely comfortable asking him to try out churches with me, even though he already said he would. I definitely share my Goddess card readings with him and tell him when God or the Universe has given me a message or intervened in my life. But it's hard not having a shared practice or even someone to pray with.
2) After the 2008 elections, I left my L.A. church group.
They're a really fundamentalist organization, and Asian on top of that, so you've got a really tightly wound clique. Though I knew they were all extremely conservative, we'd been social friends since my first stint in Hollywood, so many years ago I can't say it out loud for fear of sounding old.
It may sound naive, but it came as a shock when I discovered their political beliefs. The pastor praised Obama as a person of color (which was a mild surprise given what Asians and Blacks think about each other). But he denounced his pro-choice stance, and rejoiced over the nauseating ban on gay marriage.
All I could think was, "But the group has such nice people!"
I'd long felt a mismatch in energy and personality and culture, and I never felt truly accepted by all but one couple in the group. I hung on because these were some of my first acquaintances in L.A. But after that pastor's email, I had to decide.
I could speak out to the group, offering myself as a touchstone for anyone who was a little more moderate in their views. I wanted tolerant members of that group to know that they weren't alone, I was just as rogue as I ever had been and would support them.
But one of the tenets of Christianity is never to divide the church or to cause discord among the congregation. I didn't think it was my place to speak out, especially when I never felt I had a place with that group anyway.
And even though I can't and won't be a "Christian" in the eyes of most churches, it doesn't mean I can't be a Christian day to day.
So I left quietly and nobody missed me or tried to keep in touch. (Except for that one couple and, a year later, someone else, but that's another story.)
In NY, I go to Redeemer, which I yelp about to the high heavens. I know - they're just as fundamentalist as any other group and Tim Keller isn't exactly going to march on Washington for NARAL or the HRC anytime soon. But the guy speaks to me, and he makes me feel better about life, and he reminds me to that sacrificial love is the highest love and not weak at all.
I don't have a Tim Keller here. I know there's a Redeemer church plant but I'm hesitant to go. First of all, it's HELLA far from the ghetto ("lower middle class neighborhood" Jifo calls it) where we live, and ass early in the morning. Let's not front here: I still go to Redeemer in NYC b/c Keller's preaching slot happens to be the one closer to my family's apartment and it's at 6 in the evening, a good three hours after I've stumbled awake.
Second, the only time I tried a Redeemer pastor who wasn't Tim Keller, I almost fell asleep. Not just me, okay, my Jesus Freak ex who could go to church 5 times a day and be happy - wasn't impressed with that pastor either. So I'm not eager to ruin the great image I have of Redeemer with some non-Tim-Keller version.
Anyway, that's neither here nor there.
The point is, I think about God hopefully every day...I think every day. I think about the Universe and I see its signs everywhere still. I try to practice gratitude and I pray when I can. But I do miss something more - other people.
I wonder if this is good enough, a personal spirituality. Or if I'm supposed to, as Christianity teaches, court God a little more so God will come to me more.
I've gotten so used to living with a non-spiritual. Today at the Italian restaurant where we picked up our take-out, they had two free calendars. I chose the "inspirational quotes" one.
Now I originally chose that one because the "motivational" one was retarded. It was full of those posters you'd see in a life coach's office, with kayakers and the word "TEAMWORK" underneath. Now that's just stupid. (And you know I used to be in life coach training.)
But when we got home and Jifo saw the calendar I took, he said, "You got the inspirational one?!" He flipped it open and started reading the bible verses out loud in the same voice you'd read, well, life coaching slogans.
It didn't hurt me, it didn't sway me and it didn't make me mad. I accept his derision of religion in the same way I think he accepts and even supports how much I enjoy church. I said to him, "Those verses make me feel better! See I feel better knowing God is my light," or whatever the hell the quote said.
And even though I sounded the way I do when I talk about the genius of Stephanie Meyer (kind of like how I would talk about, I dunno...posters about kayaking and teamwork), I meant it.
To know there is the possibility of somebody loving me exactly the way I've always wanted to be loved, exactly the way my parents failed me and the way no human apparently ever can, makes me feel that much more hopeful - and that's all I can ask for.