I stopped ending my prayers by saying “we pray these things in Jesus’ name.” It was not that I did not believe in Jesus anymore. It was the presumption of Christians that unless you included these words at the end of your prayer it was somehow invalid. A similar thing happens with Christians’ sermons: unless you shout and quote scripture you have not preached. So I went from preaching to speaking without even knowing it. I stopped doing prayer always on bended knee and decided to sit and listen to my breath to clear my head and heart so I could hear God’s voice, only to find out I had stopped praying. I stopped going to church and started immersing myself in the glory of God found in nature only to find out this made me godless. I decided not to belong to places that were the poor man’s country club, nationalist cultural associations, or self-improvement societies. I decided to meet with people to do good things and expand my mind and somehow I became a dreaded humanist.
That, in part, tells my spiritual journey. I am now a godless, humanist who does not pray and speaks occasionally at gatherings of people who want to hear truth and grow in spirit, mind and body. This is my lot in life. But that is okay. I feel more honest and have less spiritual hubris. I will always have that good ole time religion in me though. On long trips as I drive along by myself I started singing old hymns in the voice my daughters mock as my “preacherly voice.” Loud and pronounced. I even preach to myself and report, since I am godless I will have to say to the universe, all my failures, successes and complaints. I must look quite the fool as people pass me on the road. This is of course is my version of a revival service.
But I have a lot of new-fangled religious ideas too. I believe truth can be found in all sorts of places, not just in Christianity. I love me some Jesus but Buddha, Gandhi, and atheists have a few things to say too. I do not think God cares one iota about sexual orientation except maybe as one of the varieties of life that “she” appreciates. If sexual orientation was so important would not Jesus have had something to say on the subject. These two ideas are considered heretical to some.
I have learn that loving your brother and sister around you is more important than loving a God you cannot see. And that is where I spend most of my time these days: trying to love people. I have learned I am not a natural at this. I want to love people but my head wants to judge or fix them. I am a little selfish in that I prefer my company to others. Certainly I enjoy the company of a specific type of person but all others I have to strain to bide time with them. I work on this very hard and fail quite easily at it.
I would imagine most people think I am a little pious if not an all-out prick. But more than likely they do not think of me at all. It is odd to be thought of as pious and godless at the same time but is what it is. When I enter debate with people with opposing views from me it is me who is always striving to grow more deeply and widen my knowledge of things. It is me who, though I am usually the most confident about things I believe, will question and obsess over: was I kind and am I right? They probably never think of it again except remembering how disagreeable or wrong they think I was.
I grow older. The stardust of which I am made has lost most of its star and is mainly dust these days. But I am convinced that this salvation I seem to be working out is my call. So in an age where the laws of immigration rule over compassion and the alt-right is determined to demonstrate hate I will think logically but will demand I love greatly. At least that is my prayer, but who knows, maybe that is not valid anymore.