The religion I would have wanted

Last night, my husband and I had dinner with the priest for his new Episcopal church. I have to say that it would be the exact kind of church I was looking for at one time: liberal, LGBT affirming, social justice oriented. I liked talking to the (female) priest about Emmett Till in the context of social justice issues and being sure that she would be familiar with the name and story.

I’m really happy that my husband has found this place. I have so much respect for his new path and the reason he searched for it. I’ll happily go with him to the transgender support group they host there once a month.

But–and this is a big “but”–I’m still not interested in going to any church at this time in my life, not even the one that perfectly meets all my criteria.

I’m trying to figure out why I just have no interest in it, when once it would have been everything I was looking for. I still believe in some sort of God, but as my husband says, it seems to be a very vaguely defined God. And I completely agree; it is.

Is it that I’m going through a season of not needing a better defined God? Maybe simply believing there is some sort of God is the best that I can do as I wrestle with the challenging and scary life circumstances right now.

Or maybe it’s that definitions of God that are based on the Bible and liturgies don’t resonate with me. I’ve always felt God most intensely both in music (not religious music though) and in silence.

To circle back to the scary life experiences, maybe trying to throw myself into a religious system is just too much right now. It feels like work, a job, not something that brings me peace.

Maybe, probably, on some big level, I’m also really mad at God, however vaguely I define God. It’s not fair for my husband to have cancer. It’s not fair that the odds are strongly against us growing old together. The Buddhist influence on my thinking knows that we are guaranteed nothing in this life. We’re born and we die but what happens in between is variable and often unpredictable.

The laws of the universe say that some people will just die before they get old. And I think that right now I’m just finding that cruel fact of nature too heartbreaking to bear. I’m not connecting the dots between that and a 2,000 year old book.

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