I know I have written about religion before, so I was reviewing my past entries to see what I had written. I talked some about moral and ethical issues, but not so much about where I stand on religion. It's a sticky topic, but I spend a great deal of time thinking about it, so I wanted to write about it. Maybe get an idea of where I stand.
A little over 18 years ago, I had a spiritual experience where I felt God convince me that I had to leave the life I was living. I had a burning bush experience. It is etched deeply in my memory, and I can attest to a strong and unshakable belief in Gad. I would not be here today otherwise. Immediately after that experience I was introduced to AA. The first 2 or 3 years I was a member I attended anywhere up to 11 meetings a week. I learned to pray and think about God in a way I could understand in a roomful or people from all walks of life, poor and homeless to wealthy steel heirs, from followers of Islam to Christians, to Jews. I attended meetings that were predominately gay,only women, newcomers, in mental health centers, the veterans administration hospital, the Birmingham City Jail and at the Salvation Army. Some meetings I went to, I was one of the few white people there, many meetings I went to, I was one of the only woman there. I went to meetings when I went out of town in New Orleans and even in Paris. (yes France). I was a regular in meetings in Beaufort, SC. Occasionally I went to meetings where I may have been only one of two people in attendance not locked up.
All 12 Steps are necessary for recovery, but none are more important in my view than the first 3 as written in the 2nd edition of Alcoholics Anonymous:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
That brings me to what's been on my min and "as we understood Him." This is what I know about God. He is a being of my own understanding that guides me. I learn how he guides me when I am vigilant about morning prayer and meditation and I listen to or feel His guidance. That's the whole thing for me. It's really very simple.
Then there is religion. I'm trying to come to grips with religion. I want to bring my son up in a caring, responsible way, and I want him to find God of his understanding without having to crawl into the bottom of a bottle. The only way I know how to do that is by sending him to a local church and setting a good example for him. So I find myself once again at a crossroads of whether or not to attend church and what I hope to gain from that.
This is what I'm thinking. I want Sunshine to identify strongly with his community, and I want to be a permanent part of a community.I want to do good works. I would love to be part of missions, particularly to serve the poor or mentally ill. I want to be part of a group of people that are trying to live the best life they can by exemplifying the teachings of Christ. I want to learn how to lead a better life and develop the kind of relationship I had with God when I went to AA. I want to be a good example fro my son.I do want to sing loudly and joyously.
I don't want to be put into a box where there is only one way to believe and one way to get to heaven. I don't want to be judged because my religious and political views are a little different, my personality is a little odd and my clothes look a little funny. I don't want to feel nervous or pressured.
So tomorrow I go.