I was raised Catholic. Educated in Catholic schools. Prayed in the Catholic church.
I am not a very good Catholic. I said that once in front of my sister and she said “it’s not that we aren’t good Catholics, we are lazy Catholics”. Potato …. potato. I’m not very good at it. So I can’t talk well about religion. I do take comfort from knowing I can walk in to any Catholic church in the world and whether I know the language or not I will know what is going on and what is being prayed. That feels good. If for no other reason than the comfort of familiarity, like being home. But for the most part, I just can’t do religion well. Religion, correct me if I’m wrong or you disagree (which I am totally okay with) is more about technicalities of a church. Laws, by-laws, rules. There are things one must do to appease the church.
But faith? That’s something all together different. You must believe, and live according to what is right. Which will in turn please God.
I am full of faith.
I read the book Embraced By The Light years ago. Written by Betty J. Eadie. It was about her out of body experience. Her description of heaven made sense to me.
This weekend I read Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. This is Todd’s story about his four year old son’s experience in heaven.
I read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. A story of faith, different from any other story I’ve read.
I don’t read these stories to validate my faith. I read these stories because they speak to what I believe. That there is some One infinitely wiser and greater than we know who created us. And who we return to.
I’ve taken what I learned from my Catholic upbringing and mingled it and mixed it up with what I have discovered as my gift, my faith. Can you pick and choose what you believe? My answer to that, of course, is yes. I pick and choose. My faith is like a smorgasbord of this story makes sense, I do believe God is like that. And then I love how that preacher interpreted that, it seems so simple and clear. I might not understand the business of religion. But I fully embrace the gift of faith. When something rings true or feels good, I seem to have a better grasp of it.
I love to talk to others who believe. I love talking to people who get the bible. I don’t get it so I love it when someone else does, and they share that with me. I believe that is a gift as well. To be able to take the messages in the bible, and understand them fully. I may be somewhat of a dimwit, but I usually need an interpreter to explain the messages of the bible. But that’s fine with me. It’s the sharing of someone else’s belief that makes it important to me. It’s the sharing of their faith and their understanding of faith that inspires me, or pulls me in.
And I love talking to people who see things completely different. They may not believe in God, but they believe in something. They just don’t know what that is. And talking to those who don’t believe, or feel, like I do is not a threat to my faith at all. On the contrary, it usually makes me feel that much more secure, that much more safe, in my faith.
I also happen to think if we spoke more about the things we love and question we wouldn’t spend so much time hating and arguing about what we don’t understand.
Ah. There is no real purpose to this post other than I read a good book this weekend. Or rather, I read a book that I got a great message from. And it just got me to thinking about other’s people’s stories of believing. That’s all, no purpose here but believing.