Here are a few questions to ponder today.
Are you “religious” or “spiritual”?
Do they have to be different? Are you both? Neither?
How did your upbringing or early life experience lead you to where you are now and how you classify yourself?
If you're wondering what brought this on, bear with me and I'll attempt to explain. Sometimes I get going on these things and I wonder if I'm even being coherent. In recent weeks I've gotten a few comments here, mostly polite, from people who I would consider “religious”. For the most part, these comments have shared concerns that spirit communication is from the Devil or evil. I apparently need to find God… which is weird, because I feel like I have a pretty close relationship with him, actually. I have no intention of censoring these comments, providing they stay respectful. And just to be clear, I have comments set to be approved mainly due to the fact that I have students out there. They're free to read, but they don't need to comment. 🙂
In one of the comments, the reader discussed how she was once into “the occult” (a term that is SO misunderstood and is often confused with “cult”), but now she's Christian. It was suggested that I repent and “seek God, rather than demonic spirits.”
Well… I realize it is dangerous to go here, but I'm going to. As soon as I read the comment discussed above, I couldn't help but think about how my path has been the opposite of hers. And, I suppose, we both would see each others paths as backwards. I grew up and spent a LOT of time in a Southern Baptist Church. My sister and I were the third generation of our family to go to this church. By the time I was in high school, I was a staff musician and was getting some great experience. But it was also around this time that I learned some disappointing things that were going on in the congregation. Not only that, but nationally there was a lot of controversy going on with the Southern Baptist Convention spreading and teaching hate. Ellen Degeneres had come out of the closet and so of course they boycotted everything having to do with ABC and Disney (their parent company). Ring a bell? People can be so very hateful in the name of God… and they'll follow anyone who refers to themselves as a “pastor” or “preacher”. So I think my family determined that there was more love and acceptance at home than in the church. But I decided to stay until I left for college, gritting my teeth the whole time… and I made that decision for one reason only… music. In college I worked in two or three different churches as a staff musician and for a year was a director of music. I've been known to say that the only thing I got out of these church experiences was music, which has ended up being a huge part of my life, but that's not exactly true. There were many people who helped raise and support me in my hometown church, people who I have lots of love and respect for. There were many nice people who I worked with in college. But… you can lose a lot of yourself in organized religion. And most definitely, not everything shouted from a church pulpit is good… or even true, for that matter.
Around 5 years ago I began what I refer to as my “spiritual shift”. I am so much closer to God now than I ever was before then… and I don't regret leaving organized religion. I don't think anyone is ever truly enlightened… and I definitely have my flaws (oh boy, that's another blog post), but I've certainly come a long way since then. It's like my eyes are opened now. I can't imagine going back to a time where I knew nothing about a spirit guide… or meditation… or energy, or the fact that we're all loved, no matter what and no one is judged! And… I can't believe there was a time when “ghosts” were just people wearing bedsheets on Halloween. Aren't we doing our children an injustice by teaching them that there is a physical land up in the sky covered with clouds and angel wings where only some of us go? I remember praying a lot growing up… begging to not go to the fiery place where the red guy with horns would torture you. And if we're teaching kids that to get them to behave (Jesus on the shelf?), then we have serious issues. To me, closing my mind and going back to a world where dogma is kept alive to keep leaders of churches and religious organizations in power would be a giant leap backwards. I know too much now. And spirit communication? I've yet to have a negative experience. Why wouldn't we want to learn more? (Side note. Check out MOSS's two investigations [HERE and HERE] of a church that DID want to know more. Cool experience!)
So… I know everyone has their own path. I get that. I know very little about these readers other than their “religious” comments. They very well may be the nicest and sweetest people one could meet. But… how does one respond? Do you smile and just move on? Do you write up a blog post about it? 😉 Am I even being coherent? Am I going to Hell? Care to start a discussion?
Christians and the Occult (kristinemcguire.com)