I told you a while back that I would explain what I was doing at a Catholic church recently. After reading Post Traumatic Church Syndrome and having energy work done on me, I felt really inspired and moved to heal myself from the bitterness and anger I carry towards Christianity.
Having that in my psyche is not helping me. It’s not productive. It’s really only hurting me. I’ve known for years that it’s something I need to let go of but I haven’t felt ready. I can’t explain why it took about ten years from the time I felt let down by Christianity to forgive it but it just suddenly felt right.
Now that’s not to say that I’ll be okay with the underhanded scare tactic evangelism of some Christians. I still feel angry at the mindset of some Christians that their narrow view is the only possible way to Truth and to God. I’ll never be okay with that. But what I’d like to be able to do is to sit in a church or a mosque and be able to feel the presence of my Gods there and worship there in my way. I want to be able to feel peace around other spiritual seekers even though they are different from me and to not feel that I am complicit in their beliefs just because I’m sitting in their worship service.
For the first time in a long time I feel like that’s possible.
Spiritual healing is tough. I have one Patheos colleague who was not as enamored with Post Traumatic Church Syndrome as I. He couldn’t relate to it but rather than admit that, he made all kinds of absurd theories about what causes spiritual crisis. He thought it had to do with not idealizing your elders and leaders enough growing up. From my experience and the experience described in the book I would say that is the opposite of true. I had such tremendous faith in my leaders and I put them on pedestals. My spiritual life was rocked to the core when I came to the realization that they were human beings with flaws. It was heartbreaking. Idealizing your elders does not protect you from spiritual crisis.
I think what causes spiritual crisis is having leaders that refuse to address questions. When doubts, concerns, and questions come up they should be encouraged and discussed without fear. Instead too many churches and other spiritual organizations become extremely defensive and tell children to stop asking questions, that their faith isn’t strong enough, that they are supposed to believe absurd things with no basis in the reality of their lives. That only serves to make the impending crisis even larger. If your religion doesn’t have an answer to questions, what good is it? Let children ask and learn. Be willing to admit when you don’t know and explore the issue together to find an answer within the framework of your faith.
I was drawn to Catholicism because it has a lot of rich iconography and rituals like Hinduism. I thought it would be comfortably similar. I think, though, that I might need to go to one of the few services still entirely in Latin. If I can’t understand what’s being said I can’t get mad! This church I went to spent the whole sermon talking about how evil Planned Parenthood is (which is an organization that provides women’s health for those who can’t afford it. I’ve depended on their services in the past myself). So that was pretty uncomfortable.
But it didn’t shake my desire to keep trying and to keep working on feeling worshipful towards my Gods in these other Gods’ spaces. It may seem strange but I just know that this is something that I need to conquer or else the consequences to my sanskara could be devastating.