"nonreligious thoughts on christian spirituality" by donald miller
i wasn't going to make a post about this until i finished reading it, but i've decided to go ahead and do so.
a little bit of background on myself....i was raised in a methodist home and went to sunday school and church with my parents for most of my elementary and jr. high years. high school i was completely rebellious and hated the institution of church, so i managed to weasel my way out of going most of the time.
since my high school years i have been in a constant struggle where my spirituality is concerned. some days i believe in "god" and other days i just don't. and i'm still that way. i tend to have more of a belief in humanity. and more of a spiritual connection with mother nature or a goddess....in more sense of a paganism type belief....or even something along the lines of buddhism. if you were to ask me if i were a christian, my first answer to you would be absolutely not. but sometimes i tend to have "christian" beliefs.
so all in all, i'm confused...yes i know....BUT i also think i am stronger of a person than most christian sheep because i tend to question ALL THE TIME. if it's not tangible...it's hard for me to really believe. why am i like that with god, but i certainly believe in extra-terrestrials and ghosts and other unexplained phenomenon....why do i not give into "god"?
it's a constant battle within myself and i am at a point in my life that i hope i can find some sort of path or direction. because this has been going on for over 15 years now. i feel like i'm missing something inside myself....some part of my soul is not connected as it should be to whatever it is that i truly believe in.
my father is the most amazing man i have ever met in my entire life. he's one of the most selfless human beings and mild mannered and so caring. and he is a christian. he is very active in his church (the church that we had gone to since i was a very small girl). and in my eyes, a true christian. what a christian should be....not a pseudo christian or a poser christian. *example: cough - what our president claims to be* and believe me, i have encounted wayyyy too many of those folks in my life. enough to push me away from that faith in general. my dad understands the struggles of my beliefs and spirituality i've had in my life. he's even given me articles of spirituality that he thought might help me...that might guide me.
so when i was over at my folks house about 2 weeks ago, he gives me this book to read and is just raving about it and thinks that i will be able to relate to it very well. i am reluctant, but i take it anyway and decide that i will read it to see what it's all about.
when i first opened the book, the first 20 pages or so were almost a few moments of "eye rolling" to me. like i stated...it's hard for me to get into the "god" thing....and donald miller talks about god. alot. it's a book about god. and about jesus. and connecting with them on YOUR own level. and about how he dislikes the institution of church or institutions in general and the struggles he's gone through in his life as a christian, but swaying from the stigma of a christian as most people in the world view it.
after i got past my general reluctance to the book and really started to get into it and as the pages unfolded, i found myself really letting in what he was saying. i could relate to some of his struggles and some of his views on "christianity". i am now 3/4's of the way through the book - actually a bit more -but the pages i read last night were the ones that i truly connected with. when he talks about not fitting in at a certain church he goes to or most churches for that matter. he joins a church that a friend of his opens in portland called imago-dei. the church they started was small in numbers, but eventually grew into a huge community. and community is a major thing with them. they had a very diverse congregation....hippies, artists, just your general "non-conformists". i truly connected with this. and i thought....i wonder if there are any imago-dei type churches in my area? i wouldn't mind going to a church like this just to experience it and see if it calls to me. another thing that donald talks about is finding a church that god sends you to. the one he knows that's right for you. and maybe i'm starting to hear his calling now. maybe reading this book has become a first step for me to actively go out and find this part of my soul that is missing. this connection that i need to find with god...or with jesus....or with the goddess....or whomever it may be. i almost feel a little less tense today.
my dad knows me a lot better than i thought he did. when i talked to him a couple of days ago he had asked if i had gotten to the part that they are in portland yet. and i hadn't. and as i was reading, i knew this was the section of the book that he was talking about. i realized that he knew that this part of the book would be calling to me. and it is.
so with all of this said, i am going to finish up this book this weekend and start actively seeking my own spirituality and my own connection with my belief. it's funny because i had a discussion with the davish one about a year ago - a very long, drawn out, philosophical discussion about this same thing. i wanted to go on a search....visit some churches...find my path. i didn't follow through with it because i lost the focus, the desire. i think i lost the focus because it just wasn't time for me. reading this book has jarred something inside of me and i now realize it's time to go on my own journey. and i couldn't be more excited.
so dad, thank you. i love you.
p.s. you can read some excerpts from the book here if you are interested.