It's not great, unfortunately, again I lack the equipment for high quality video just like I lacked the equipment for high-quality singing in the last post but it's a start. If you like this I promise I'll find some better way of doing it in future!
If you hate my faith/spirituality ramblings please do feel free to ignore this one ;o)
And now on the the main topic of my post - faith, religion and God, or rather my confusion about all three! Oh don't I always come round to this topic (btw I'm blaming Isobel for this one, her recent post "Mormons rule. Pass it on." got me thinking about it big time!). I can't help returning to this over and over because I am, let's say, both completely amazed and completely baffled by faith and religion. No that's not right, I "get" faith - faith is about having faith in something based on your own experiences and feelings about what is true even if you don't have concrete evidence. In terms of faith I know roughly where I stand - I have faith that there is a God of some kind and that God has a plan far bigger than any of us can comprehend and that even the things we see as "bad" have a place in that plan. But when it comes to specifics I don't know what I believe - I haven't experienced enough to know the specifics and this is what baffles me about religion, I wonder how there can be so many different specifics that in one way are so alike and in other so different - like how our faith in God dictates the way we live our lives and whether we believe in one God or many Gods or many facets on the one God etc.
Sometimes I wish I had spent more time looking into this when I was younger - but when I was younger I never questioned the specifics... I believed in God and that was all that mattered. I spend a lot of my time questioning specifics nowadays - it's like my childhood faith vanished when the tiniest seed of doubt was planted in my mind only a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, this was a good thing, it made me think and it made me read and it made me question and I now know far more about different religions than I ever did... which is good. I have a long way to go of course, but I'm getting there, slowly. For example, Isobel's post got me looking deeper into LDS and what it actually means - I really didn't have much of a clue. I still don't... but I have a bit more of an idea since watching some of the videos on the web and having a look at the Book of Mormon which I have never looked at before.
I like being challenged like this and I feel that God, whoever that is, is bringing me people and situations to help me discover what I need to. Just the other day I met a Krishnan monk on the street - I had not made lunch that day and was in search of something to eat (difficult when you can't eat wheat or lettuce when most shops only sell sandwiches or salads!) and so I was walking down the street in my search when he stopped me. I was conscious of my time but something made me stop and listen to him. We had a good old chat, which reminds me I really must send him an email and thank him for that! I took a book off him and brought it home and started to read it. I didn't understand it all - just like I get baffled by the Bible sometimes despite growing up in a predominantly Christian society: I just haven't been taught about the history of the Bible and what it means and so certain parts baffle me as to what they are on about! Doesn't mean I don't try to understand them.
This pattern of being brought opportunities to experience, learn and question runs through my life. My family is not religious in the slightest but somehow I found my way along a very spiritual path. I spent several months as part of a church choir (let's not talk about the fact I spent most of that pre-occupied by my fear of singing - that just shows how crazy I am!) I then spent my 3 months in Germany living with a Salvation Army family and working with them and others, which despite being away from my home and incredibly difficult were also 3 of the most joyous months of my life. These months were also at a time when I had turned away from the church from a bad experience, turned to new-age spirituality which made perfect sense to me, and then was trying to understand how it all fit together: how could both feel right in their own way?
Tim and I have spent many hours talking about this - how we'd love to be part of a community but do not want to join one that stifles our own searches for God. We've looked into different faiths and the more I do this the more connections I see as opposed to differences - yet the differences still exist. And this baffles me. I don't have an answer and I doubt anyone of us does. But it excites and intrigues me no end. So I'm off to do some more reading now.
NB: Do you like the way I "passed it on" for Isobel whilst actually managing to integrate it into my own post. I don't know enough about Mormons to know if they truly "rule" or not, but I think Isobel is one classy chick and she certainly made me think!