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    Why Do We Believe What We Do?

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 9:09 AM [General]

    Long has been my personal debate over why I believe what I believe. There must be "why", a ready explanation, to my belief system in order to provide a sound foundation. Yes. This is, in part, the beginning of my spiritual journey that has lead me to my present spiritual environment. The question I posed my self after several years of empty religious experiences was "Is this the TRUTH or is this merely what I have been taught, conditioned, to believe?" ON the surface this question seems small and fairly straight forward but upon contemplation it is much more complex than I had ever imagined.

    I realized that I never truly put my beliefs to the test. Never had any experiences that suggest my old religion was TRUE. Now, my logical mind says "If truth is truth, then it needs not hide behind merely is." So...what is Truth? Truth should be validation through experience of that which is held in faith. So, in my mind, to have faith requires having experiences that continue to nurture that faith not blindly believing because you are told to. But this is a large expectation I have run into over my life in must believe in what you cannot see without evidence. But is that really true? In my mind that doest validate TRUTH...its merely avoidance. Faith in my mind is experiences that validate a particular belief. So, for example, have faith in prayer would require you to believe what you are praying will be fulfilled...and so to establish faith youd have to have an experience of fulfillment of prayer...right? HMMMM. Faith is equivalent to experience. But what is taught, most times, is faith is equivalent to hope. But the truth, being truth, doesnt need merely IS.

    And so, religious doctrine lays out the in's and out's of faith...the do's and dont's, so to speak. So, as many religions pronounce themselves as TRUTH, I have found only that there is some Truth within not as an entirity. This is so hard to reconcile with hardline teachings of one TRUTH, one WAY. Can there be some univeral truths extracted? Probably, but my mind is not deep enough to ascertain them.

    I am left with an understanding that spiritual growth is constant questioning of what is considered TRUTH by religions. If I ever get to the point where I am saying, "I know the TRUTH" I will know I am farther away from Truth than I could possibly imagine. I may be able to say, I know parts of the Truth but never the full truth...I am not wise enough for that...but it is a growth process and one I will embrace...the knowing I will never fully know.

    So, to me faith means experiencing that which you have faith in which gives rise to higher levels of spirituality and richness of faith. Faith, to me, is not merely hope because if it is the TRUTH, it will be self-evident and will be understood through experience over time and across environements (ruling out the self-fulfilling prophecies originating in our own minds).

    To all things pose the question of Why.


    Many Blessings.

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    Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 11:36 AM [General]

    In all my life, I have not experienced such numerous spiritual activities. I prayed to the Goddess that she merely be close to me, help me to know her, and to people my life with like minded people. Low and behold I continue to find that people already in my life are pagan and or leaning/open to paganism. I have to admit....I was very afriad at first to take that step into the unknown but I am finding it much more rewarding. My heart has, in some way, always known this path is right for me (maybe not for all). I feel a certain amount of spiritual congruence is settling into my heart. Although, I am still questioning all things in order to determine truths; I am making slow, smal, determined steps towards the Mother Goddess. I know many others around me will not understand and I do not want to appear zealous or "witnessing" to them. In many ways, this is my path alone to walk and it shouldnt matter what anyone else knows, thinks, or long as I give others the respect and love all humanity and nature deserves.


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    Tuesday, December 9, 2008, 2:19 PM [General]

    I am feeling encouraged. I prayed to the Goddess to show me the way and to reveal herself to me, provide me with what I need most. Thereafter several incident occurred that couldnt readily be explained by chance. I received a message from a person from the past I havent talked to in well over 15 years, who happens to be pagan, too and a fount of information and support. Then I find a coworker who believes very similar things and is very supportive. All this in a community that is VERY STRONGLY CHRISTIAN. Untile now, Id never met another pagan in person. Never in my life as a Christian have I had such overwhelming support spiritually. I am encouraged as my heart is saying a big "I told you so". So controlled by fear I couldnt stand to listen to my Higher Self, to the Goddess, and recognize my connection to all creation. My spiritual evolution is progressing and I dont feel stagnant any longer. I have found some peace. For me this is my path...for others it may be Christianity...what I am learning is, the way isnt the important thing, its the lessons learned along the way.

     Blessed Be.

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    Time of year

    Monday, December 8, 2008, 3:20 PM [General]

     I felt it coming again. Starting near Thanksgiving the saddness returns and lasts throughout Christmas. My heart aches...somehow I feel if he was still here things would be different somehow. My grounding, my stability. I knew everything was right when he was near. A person of few words but strong in love. I dont know if I ever fully recoved. A place in my heart is missing...he was the father i wanted but didnt get. Knew how to listen and share his gone away forever. My heart sinks as his Death date approaches...the anniversary. Things seem to have fallen apart since youve been gone. I need you to listen, I need your adivce...I need you here. I miss you.

    To my grandfather.

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    Pefection and Illusion

    Monday, November 24, 2008, 3:37 PM [General]

    I wrote last of my insecurities and the mask of anger I frequently wear. I continued my meditation and introspection and found further insight. My insecruities as rooted in the expecation for perfection. I must be the best, the fastest, the most well respected, etc. etc. and if I do not achieve such a place of admiration I lash out with anger (at myself or others....not seriously harming, mind you) which is just a facade for the deeper insecurities and fears of imcomptenecy....impotency....not meaning anything....etc. I suppose it boils down to a most basic existential question of meaning. I want to be special and liked and loved and be good at things! But how did I arrive at such a harsh, condemning, hypercritical, self-evaluation of myself when I fail to reach perfection? Yes, my hypercritical father was a contributor....nothing was ever good enough...perfection was expected. My strict Southern Baptist indoctrination over the years has also led to deep seated beliefs that perfection is expected....if not youll "go to hell"...even in that there was strange contradictions of we "all fall short of the glory..." and "the wages of sin is death". Perfection and imperfection....grace and punishment. Those I cannot reconcile...I suppose my rebellion is rooted in my anger at not EVER being good enough for my father or my FATHER....according to human doctrines at least. Now, I struggle to free myself of these chains of perfection and expectation. I struggle to accept my humanity as something other than "sinful" albeit not always good, either. I am worn out from trying to be perfect. I am exhausted from trying to be perfect. I am emotionally and spiritually dehydrated. I am tired of praying and not being heard. I am tired of asking forgiveness for failing to live up to an impossible standard, just to turn around and fail again. I just want to be content with my humanity...without judgment. I would like the peace to just "be". I feel I am on a precipice...a cliff's edge where danger lies inches away...I feel I am moving into un"forgivable" territory. Will I be labled a traitor, a back-slider, a SINNER?? Will I go to HELL for doubting...for wanting to feel ok in my own flesh?? I dont know. It scares me but my heart compels me onward. I will continue this process to wherever and to whatever it leads. I ask for your thoughts and blessings.

     - To Peace of Mind, Heart, and Soul.

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    Dawning insight

    Thursday, November 20, 2008, 5:29 PM [General]

    I noticed the other day that I am an angry person. Not in the rude, obnoxious, foaming-at-the-mouth kind but the kind of angry that always seems to boil underneath the surface for reasons slightly out of awareness. I had several initial reactions...first, I was repulsed because this is NOT the person I envision myself being. Second, I felt a surge of exhiliration...wanting to lash out. Third, and most importantly, I saw how vulnerable my heart is and how I posture myself in defensive ways to protect that heart. I expect conflict, anticipate it, fantasize about it....about protecting my heart. I realized then that it wasnt anger I was truly feeling but an intense sense of inadequacy as a person, doubt of my goodness. I noticed how sad I truly am. That my seemingly easy confidence on the outiside is just skin deep. I see that I overreact and lash out when my sense of inadequacy is tickled. I remember then memories from long ago...a hypercritical father, emotionally cold and who was seldom around. I realized that my critical voice was my fathers and my sense of inadequacy was the lesson he instilled in me..."lazy" "no good" "stupid" etc. etc. etc. How ingrained are these lessons learned from early early childhood and how POWERFUL they return to haunt us. I still want to please him and gain his love and acceptance....I yearn for it. He is still so distant. Another dawning insight...that is the exact relationship I feel I have with God...distant, cold, unhelpful. I think this is why I struggle so much with my faith. I keep seeing father in the Father...maybe that is my problem..maybe its a barrier. But what if it isnt? My heart aches but I am convinced that these dawning insights will only make me stronger. We will see.

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 8:14 AM [General]

    An awareness is growing within myself of an incongruence of the way I live my life and my convictions. Are my convictions realistic or are they toxic introjects from childhood? So much pressure to be perfect under the banner of Grace and Forgiveness...what irony is this!? It seems I cannot reconcile this life with those convictions. I am afriad I will never be good enough for You. Is there no room for self-acceptance in this life? I have lived with my fathers scrutiny and I feel the pressure of Your judgment. Is it not too much to ask to rejoice in the complexity of human nature or must it me damned? The peace I felt was only temporary. The questions are still unanswered. My  quest continues.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
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    More politics...more promises...more problems.

    Monday, September 8, 2008, 9:05 AM [General]

    Problem 1. More promises of "Change".

    Problem 2. Two dominant political parties controlling the majority of our government.

    Problem 3. 1% of the population controlling 90% + of the entire wealth of the nation.

    Problem 4. Those people/businesses are major contributors to political campaigns.

    Problem 5. The American public must choose from a handpicked group of candidates (usually Dems or Reps only).

    The concept is old: give the horse enough rein to feel he is in control but hold the reins tight enough to control the horse. This sums up our political process. The bulk of the American public are currently being stretched financially, tired of war, tired of 8 years of poor decisions, and are eager for change. This makes us very susceptible to believing, because we want to...need to, that change will come with the election of a new president. The problem is still that Big Money talks...sure if we, the middle and lower class had the time and resources we could rise against the machine but the reality is that we are tapped out...we cannot afford to take time off work because we need the money now more than ever! You see, we are right where the Big Money wants us...vulnerable and hungry...eager for change. What is worse is the polarization of the public towards Dems or Reps. I have friends who are so hard core Dems or Reps that they lose perspective of the issues just to prove their party is superior. There is no fix to this is the way it is. The only way is if the public, somehow stands up to the Big Money and says enough. I am tired of picking the lesser of the two evils. I am tired of the BS regurgitated on our TV and Radio. Lets get real...the only change coming is that there will be a new politician in the White House, either Dem or Rep, and the same old BS will continue. Big money for Big for the rest of us, we just try to survive.

     I realize my post is dark and jaded. I wish I could believe in the ideals our country stands for but since its conception and our rise to power, there has also been a snow-ball affect that has been taking the real control out of the publics hands and placing it into Big Moneys hands. What has started will likely not be stopped. Pray for our country and pray for one another. And for all that is Holy, use your own brain in making the decision who to vote for...not merely political party.

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    On the recieving end.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008, 8:32 AM [General]

    For those who do not know me, I am a white Irish American (red headed and all). I am married to a Hispanic woman. I live in a city that is predominantly black and Hispanic and is the 4th poorest city in the state of Texas. I love my neighbors who are of all races and creeds. I work for a non-profit agency to help the poor. I make less than a elementary school teacher. I think of myself as open-minded, accepting, and nonjudgmental. With that said, I was a victim of racism and prejudice yesterday. I was filling up with gas when an old car with about 5 African Americans pull in behind me, nothing unusual here. A girl from the back seat starts talking to me just loud enough to get my attention but not quite loud enough to distinguish what she is saying...the car load of people burst into laughter after her comment. I ask for clarification and she says, "Not all us people can afford to fill up like that, how much you puttin in? Us poor ol black folk...think you are better or somthin." I was taken aback...I empathized and commented on how tough it is for everyone right now with gas prices. A man from the back seat starts making sarcastic comments...all I can make out was, "..lots of money...s&*&, Ill hold yo quarter's"....more laughing and dirty looks. I cant hear the other comments but its clear they dont like me for what I represent...wealthy, white, upper class (ironically, this is farthest from the truth!!) For whatever reason, I dont know how or where this came from, I simply said, "I hope things get better for you and I hope you have a good day." I pulled out from the gas stall and they did too. I can only guess they saw me standing in my work clothing (the only nice black slacks and button up gray shirt I have) and took out their frustrations on me...they drove off afterwards without buying any gas...strange. As I drove home I started to feel a strange pang of anger coupled with sorrow. I felt angry and wanted to justify myself...tell them that I dont have money and I am barely keeping my head above water,too. I felt sad because, after all this time prejudice and racism still runs rampant. The contempt and hate in their voices rang in my ears all night last night. I had a thought, "When the pressures of life starts to bear down on a people, a person; we move to action, blaming, judging, hating because that at least gives a sense of purpose and control in life." As sad as that is, it happens over and over again in our world. I hate it. I am glad that I was able to resist returning hate for hate. This experience disturbs me. I am saddened.

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    Maybe It's not God

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 1:25 PM [General]

    A thought came to me today, "Maybe it is not God who is removed from me, but possibly it is me who is removed from God." This is such a commonplace idea that many evangelicals teach. Yet the truth of this weighed down on me and it became a personal experience. I need clarity of mind....not of religion. I feel encouraged to know that it is the pursuit of spiritual growth...the getting up after being knocked down...the rejection have having to be perfect in order to avoid punishment and get into heaven...that counts the most. I want to grow. I want to develop. I want to understand. I must first get out of my own way....I must let go of my old ways of undestanding to make room for new understandings. I will continue to claim being a Christian as I believe Christ is an example of a holy and spiritual life but I will not adhere to dogma or doctrine written by man. I feel encouraged today.

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