Goodbye Christianity

Today is my last day with Christianity. Sunday, March 25, is the Feast of the Annunciation, one of my favorite feast days in the Christian calendar. Even though it overlaps into my Place quarter, I plan to attend church and write about the day – my last hurrah. For now, I want to sum things up.

This quarter has felt like a disappoint to me. No juicy practice. No experiences that took me deeper into the tradition. I pulled away, farther than ever. I struggled with the desires of my heart. I didn’t write the deep, theological posts I was thinking I’d write during this quarter. And yet, I’ve gained a lot in the last few months.

I’ve seen just how ready I am to let go, to say goodbye to Christianity. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, Christianity is not my story. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have absorbed a lot from the Christian tradition; I’ve taken the best and left the rest, in my opinion. There was much goodness to take away, as both a practitioner and as a theological student. Loyal to the bitter end, I am. Coming to terms with this and seeing the realities of my heart and practice has been priceless.

I’ve also gained more readers this quarter. While Hindu search terms are my biggest draw (not a day passes that someone doesn’t search for Kali or reads my post on her, may it be a blessing to all who seek), my biographical posts have had the most hits.

I was going to list all the things I love and don’t love about Christianity, but… why list what I don’t love? Let’s end with the positive. It’s an election year in the US and what’s bad about Christianity is already on full display!

Things I love about Christianity*: Christmas, the resurrection, the concept that all humans have the spark of the divine within them, communion/the Eucharist, forgiveness, mercy, loving your neighbor as yourself, challenging the Powers That Be, the Virgin Mary, all of the art – classical and devotional – that has sprung up from it, the Incarnation, the rich theological traditions it contains, Quakers, liberation theology, icons, all of the music – from requiems to gospel to simple chants – inspired by it, contemplative prayer, the concept of grace. And many of my favorite friends and family.

A benediction for this ending, and for all who read this:

The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.

 

*Many of these things don’t belong solely to Christianity, I realize, but they are present none-the-less.

 

Print Friendly

About Niki Whiting
  • Elaine

    Niki, your post moved me to tears, as they often do. The list of the things you love about Christianity, and that beautiful blessing. Yes, all the good things are there. I share your move away from Christianity, for many reasons, but there are still things I treasure, particularly the music and the beautiful cathedrals here in the UK, most of which I have sung in, and where I have occasionally experienced true peace and deep spirituality. I love your honesty, the clear truthful seeking that you are using to further your understanding of the human and the divine, in all their expressions. I will be so interested to read your further posts, you write so well and I love your congruence and truthfulness. Love and blessings (wherever they come from). xxxx Here is one of my favourite Christian Blessings: (from Ireland – you probably know it) “May the roads rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your fields and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram myownashram

      Oh, that is a beautiful blessing – and so perfect for this equinox day! Thank you for your kind words and support. You are a blessing, Elaine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nvaleri Nowell Valeri

    You know, I think the (pre 20th century) music the Christian tradition has provided is almost cause enough for forgiveness for all of the negative things it has done to our civilization.

    It sounds like this was a worthwhile exercise for you- in the process you came to understand fully what the Christian practices mean to you at this point in your life.

    Bravo!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram myownashram

      Thank you! Yes, it was worthwhile. Sort of like going to a high school reunion and letting go of past regrets and ‘what ifs’ and realizing you moved on a long time ago. Still uncomfortable, but worthwhile.

      And I agree about the music!

  • http://freebiblestudiesonline.wordpress.com Frederick Olson

    Maybe if you looked at it as a relationship… a way of life…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram myownashram

      Looked at what? If this is the only post you’ve read, I encourage you to read through the last three months, and possibly read my about page too.

      • http://freebiblestudiesonline.wordpress.com Frederick Olson

        i meant christianity is meant to be a personal relationship with the LORD… it’s not just a religion… like a relationship with with your family and friends… although you are apart from them… they’re still your family and friends…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram myownashram

          If you’ve read my previous posts you’d see that I attempted relationship with him and we’re not a good fit.

  • johnfranc

    I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m so happy in Unitarian Universalism – it lets me maintain a connection to the good parts of Christianity (especially the hymns) while not tying me to the parts I can’t accept, and while giving me room to work on being a good Pagan and Druid.

    There can be meaning and value in any religion – it just takes work to find the one that’s right for each of us.

  • http://theredlass.wordpress.com theredlass

    It’s good that you feel you have taken something worthwhile from it though. Too many people who come to alternative religion completely reject their previous faith and speak of it like it’s this disgusting thing from which they were saved by paganism or what have you. I admit to having been one of those but in recent years I have become more and more understand towards the spirituality of others and whatever it involves.

    But let’s be frank, everyone loves Christmas!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram myownashram

      One of the things I’ve noticed in my time in Paganism is that many people seem to have chosen Paganism not because it is true/fantastic/their way to experience the Divine/whathaveyou, but rather that is ISN’T Christianity.

      I think it helps that I wasn’t raised Christian and so was able to latch onto the parts that were healthy and reject what was cultural nonsense more easily than people who’s greater lives rested in that culture.

      • http://theredlass.wordpress.com theredlass

        See I find that fascinating. Most people (in America at least) are sorta raised Christian by default. I remember I went to Sunday School when I was a kid but it was never heavily emphasized. My mom didn’t discuss religion with me because, as she said, it was an intensely private matter and she doesn’t discuss it with others. My family wasn’t religious. I don’t even think we went to church on Christmas and Easter except for a few times. So when I started learning about Wicca and Paganism it just sorta felt right.

        I was interested in what you said earlier, about feeling a pull towards a deity. I’m what you might call a believing skeptic. I do believe in otherworldly powers and the divine, but I tend to be very skeptical about the “interventions” they have in our lives. I’m more the sort who believes that the gods won’t do for you what you are damn well able to do for yourself. So I don’t end up praying for help or aid a whole lot.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram myownashram

          My Australian relatives are Christian, but they were far away. My in-town relatives certainly weren’t.

          I think the gods are not The God, so I think they enter into relationship with us when it is mutually beneficial. I don’t think a random shout out to a particular god is a good way to get things done. But I agree that the gods help those who help themselves.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X