Is Organized Faith, Structure Prison? Hmmm, Not Really
I have never been the most religious person, that is true. I could not understand why, and as I look at the decline in the church, and I have returned to the fold, I wanted to take a look at this.
For me, without having realized it, though I always from when I was a child knew there had to be a big daddy for the earth, stars etc.. and though I constantly prayed in my own way, communicated with God, no one had to really teach me to pray, apparently I just from a very early age less than a year started “talking” looking upwards. I guess I always had this understanding of something larger than creation. What happened? My dad who used to say I was his princess and whom I adored walked out when I was seven, no family meeting to explain anything, nothing, just suddenly gone. My world as I knew it had suddenly changed and that was tough to swallow for me and though I did not realize it at the time, subconsciously it affected my relationship with the faith, the church, God. If it had happened later on when I would have understood that mom and dad should not have ever come together in the first place, none of it was my fault, it would have been different. However what I didn’t realize that I realize now is that his leaving when I was not at a point to understand and the way it was done really messed up my relationship with God. Whether I knew it or not, it created a rift between me and my creator, as well as the church. I couldn’t trust God, how could I, not really, not completely with total surrender in prayer or anything, not surrender in that you don’t actively also move to change what has to be changed, no. I mean I couldn’t trust God would be there for me, if He wouldn’t then why would any man? Why would I think any man could love me and make any kind of commitment to me and why would I think, if I had caused my dad to leave, which I didn’t but really getting it is not all that easy to do, that truth, I would be “enough” in any way to make a commitment to the church, to God? Then there was the issue of the dependency my mom had on me because she didn’t speak English well, so I had really not had a life, created a life for myself, pursued my dreams, had run around in circles because in the back of my mind what kind of a daughter would I be to abandon her, that’s what dad did,? The notion of dependency on the Creator, on Christ was a bit of a tough one to fathom. I didn’t want dependency, not to be dependent, nor anything like that placed on me. It sacred me as I had had that with mom for so long. Take all this with a creative side and a strong personality and likes to beat to her own drum, along with society saying faith and religion are irrational, not a good recipe for faith and faith affiliation. Rules and regulations we can see as a prison, someone giving you guidelines as being told what to do, so for me religion and church were not something I felt comfortable with, not really. What changed?
I realized that fundamental truth about my dad and I know he and mom never should have married to begin with, so it ended as it would have family interference or not. I also realized that being part of a group does not negate my individuality, the core of who I am because the core of my personality, who I was meant to be God gave me. Who I am fundamentally in my heart and as an artist is who God made me to be, when you take away any crap life can do to you, or you allow it to do to you, to change the good you that He meant you to be. Being affiliated with the Catholic church and honoring natural order of nature, sexuality etc… does not negate anything, nor does providing solid guidelines. My being in faith group that has a wealth of tradition and guidelines is a blessing, not a problem. It provides a community to work with that can help me focus and discipline myself with my gifts, my life etc…There is a lot to be said after careful prayerful consideration about being part of a faith group and institution that provides clear, solid guidelines to life. You may not agree 100%, maybe 95%, but a solid fundamental base and community is what we require, not global, but local, for future generations to thrive and a respect for law and order, civics, Constitutionalism and these things can not be accomplished by sheer individuality and each person deciding life, laws etc.. as they wish along the way. I realize that now and am grateful I have a spiritual home to go back to and have a solid structure of people, community. Structured faith does not require giving up individuality, not when that group is truly of sound theology, philosophy and wisdom, while still honoring the gifts, talents of the individual.