Saturday, April 23, 2005

Starting Point

First, let me tell you where I am coming from.

If you counted all the grains of sand on all the beaches on the entire Earth, you will not have counted all the earth-type planets in our universe. Not counting the potential multi-dimensional universes that current theories anticipate, the probability that there is intelligent life besides our own approaches certainty. Given the vast numbers, it is probable that many life forms will be vastly different than our own.

Given this, is it rational to believe that a book of guidelines on how to live life, written by men, two-four thousand years ago could possibly be universal? I came to the conclusion that it is not. Is it possible that a universal creator in such a situation could focus on just one planet among all those countless possibilities? Is it possible that such a creator would be concerned with a single bird on just one planet? Arrogance, the ultimate egocentric, the result of childish beliefs and irrational fear.

This is where I am coming from. This is where I am, church, almost every Sunday. Why? I discount every belief taught and held by the members and clergy of all churches, yet I am here every Sunday (mostly!) Why?

Let me tell you what I believe about people of faith. There is a longing, a desire, a deep and important need many people feel that is ONLY satisfied by faith. Is it real? Is it rational? Yes, to both questions. BILLIONS of people say that it is real and rational and who am I to question it? I don't. On the contrary, I acknowledge that the vast majority of people feel the need for faith and I have a heart felt belief (!) that they should seek out that place, religion, belief or faith wherever it may be to fulfill themselves. Oh, do I think I am wrong given that BILLIONS believe I amÂ…? Nope. For me, I have fulfilled my faith need just fine thank you.

Back to why I am here every Sunday. You see, I have a partner. And we are raising a child. Both of them feel very strongly about faith and religion. Though our daughter is just 10, she loves church and talking about Jesus and God. I do much of the religious training in our house. I spent four years deeply involved in church including much teaching. I am familiar with the material! My daughter will tell you that she and her mama have God in their hearts, but not her Tracy. She knows that I am different about God, and although she doesn't understand, for now she is OK with it.

Before you think I attend Church for our daughter's sake, let me spell it out for you. I attend Church because my partner and our daughter think and believe that it is an important and fulfilling part of their lives. I too am an important and fulfilling part of their lives, as they are mine. Why would I not be part of all aspects of their lives.

If your spouse could have the desire, the devotion, the enjoyment participating in a sport or hobby that you LOVE wouldn't that be great! I don't have the same devotion to church my partner has, and as long as she acknowledges that, I am very happy to spend the two hours a week with both her and our daughter doing something that is very important to them.

If you don't attend church, regardless of the reason, are you honoring your spouse? If your spouse has a deep and abiding need for faith, belief and involvement in a church, can you not honor and respect that need? If you say yes, but that doesn't mean you have to attend church I will have to disagree with you. If you 'went out' every time your spouse invited a friend over, do you think both of them might feel offended? It is no different with religion. Honor your spouse. Do not grouch every week, do not whine, do not complain, just respect their need and desire and share with them that time they devote to fulfilling their need.

Last point. If you think you are going to get preached at every week, you will. If you think you are going to have faith thrown in your face every week, you will. If you think you are going to get caught up in something you don't want to, maybe you will. So what. I can watch a movie about anything, get really into it, and then walk out of the theater without it affecting my life. Can't you? Which is stronger, your belief, or their faithÂ…

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