One of my favorite parts about being American is the importance placed on freedom of religion. I love that people are free to practice and believe in whichever way they wish, and I love that I have been able to explore many types beliefs freely and openly. Over the years I have come to have some pretty strong beliefs about God. While part of me wants to make everyone believe the same way I do, I’ve found a lot of joy in the many pathways to God. We can love and respect one another and still believe different things. It’s a beautiful path.
How do God and Religion go together? After my experience, that question came to the forefront of my mind very regularly. It still does. Having come from a mixed religious family and having a love of many religions, I’ve often struggled to make my experience make sense in a strictly religious way. I will say, many parts of the Bible made much, much more sense to me after my experience. But the prescribed ways of being in all the traditions to which I’d been exposed couldn’t encapsulate the beauty I saw in my experience.
As I wrote in my bio, my father is Jewish, and my mother is Christian. Having been raised Jewish, I had a Bat Mitzvah at 13, and went Synagogue my whole life. My mother, who had converted to Judaism for my father, returned to Christianity when my parents divorced in my early 20s. I followed my mom back to church when I was 23 and loved it, and was baptized at 25. I taught Sunday School in a Methodist and an Episcopal church, experiences I loved dearly (especially the kids). I’ve learned so much from both of these powerful faith traditions, and I love them sincerely.
And yet, there’s a point where they fall short for me, now, especially since my experience. My experience taught me that God is in everything, not just in one place. God is in everyone, not just one person. I don’t say that because I read about it, I say that because I saw and felt it in my moments of union with the Divine and in the weeks and months thereafter. That being said, I still love to participate in religion. I think it’s excellent if you do too, especially if it helps us to celebrate differences in a positive way instead of being divided. Especially if it is a spiritual home for you where you can connect with like-minded people. Especially if it is a place where you feel safe and accepted. Especially if it is a place that helps you feel more connected to God.
Whatever you do, and wherever you worship, I hope you know that God is with you, always, and that God is love. That’s my two cents, anyways! Have a great day!