Hello. My name is Dana and I’m a heathen. (well that’s what my husband calls me anyway). Although I do have a “Christ Consciousness,” I haven’t practiced main stream religion for many years. I don’t plan on changing this anytime soon.
The above statements are how I plan to introduce myself to Father Dan, the priest my husband invited to our home for a “house blessing” and some coffee talk. (Cawfee tawk) – thank you Linda Richman and Mike Myers -coffee talk is not just for Jews by the way).
More later on how the house blessing went.
I told Al that I would be happy to meet Father Dan but I didn’t feel it was necessary for him to bless the house when I could do it myself.
Me: You do know I regularly bless and cleanse the house with sage, right honey? (I don’t know how he wouldn’t realize this – the odor can be overpowering – but I thought I’d mention it anyway)
Al: It’s not the same.
Al: Because it’s not (hesitates and clears throat) ……….. “legal”
Me: Legal? Legal, how?
Al: It just isn’t. That’s all.
Me: I see. (no I don’t – rolling my eyes and singsonging in my head)
Al: A priest or a minister or some kind of clergy who’s been ordained needs to bless the house for it to be “right”.
Me: Oh, you mean someone who has an “affiliation” to an institution that tells you how you should believe in God? Like what rules you have to follow and stuff like that?
Al: Why are you trying to start an argument?
Me: (I ignored him) Can I ask you a question?
Al: Do I have a choice?
Me: No. Was Jesus a Christian?
Al: What the hell are you talking about? (sputtering)
Me: Jesus was born a Jew. He died a Jew. All of this Christian/Catholic/Protestant stuff happened later. He taught a “consciousness.” He taught love. He didn’t teach people to go to church on Sundays then go and break all the rules, receive forgiveness by faulty humans and go out and do it all over again.
I know I’m going to get flack for this blog – it’s okay – bring it on. Diverse opinions are welcome here!
Discussions of this type are ongoing in my house. My husband is a Catholic and I would say that he follows about 75% of the rules 60% of the time. The other 25% of the rules he makes up to justify whatever situation he may be currently facing that doesn’t fit in with the church’s law. My husband is a Christian and he’s a very spiritual man, (most of the time) however, I think he’s a Catholic strictly for “insurance” reasons. He knows and understands spiritual truth in his heart. He understands that God is within all of us and that we have a direct connection to Him. But, he remains a Catholic “just in case” the church is right and his own heart isn’t. Of course hubby won’t know this truth until he transitions so this is why he carries the church “insurance.” Better to be safe than sorry when you die.
As you probably know, I was born and raised a Jew. It’s a beautiful religion with rich traditions and I love many aspects of it. I just don’t want to practice it. For me, it’s too limiting. I was instructed into religion by the Old Testament where and “eye for an eye…………..” was an acceptable practice. The Old Testament also tells us to “……………love thy neighbor as thyself” which is in complete contrast to poking someone’s eye out if you got pissed. So, what are we supposed to believe?
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish faith means fasting from sundown to sundown. If you do this, any sins you may have committed in the past year will be forgiven. Traditionally on this day Jews go to the river to “cast your bread upon the waters.” (Taslich) As the river carries the bread downstream and it dissipates, so shall God carry away all of your sins. It’s a nice thought but really? All of your sins for the year? So you could just do whatever you want the entire year and all you have to do is starve yourself for a day and throw some bread to ducks? This just didn’t work for me. I knew there was way more. Much more.
As I grew older I began to really question who or what God is and my purpose here on earth. I found myself “church hopping”. I attended the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Southern Baptist (that was a hoot) and various “Born Again Christian” churches. I even checked out the Jews for Jesus. I read about Buddhism (there weren’t any temples in my predominantly Jewish neighborhood go figure), a little bit about Hinduism and a little bit about Islam. I was more confused than ever. Most of it made sense. How could all of those institutions be right (or somewhat right), yet the world be so divided about God?
As I was questioning all things spiritual, I happened to be living with my grandmother. She found some Christian literature in my underwear drawer one day (yep nothing was private) and freaked out. Oy vey. She called my father and told him I was involved in a cult. That’s when I became the black sheep of the family; the pariah. Whatever. It made me more determined to discover my truth. I do have to say though that holiday dinners were a bit strained. I’m pretty sure I heard my uncle call me an “idol worshiper” when he thought I wasn’t listening. If rabbis heard confessions, my family would have dragged my ass to synagogue.
It isn’t just Jewish people who get upset when you break “the rules” though. I was only threatened with being cut out of THE WILL (there wasn’t much money so I was fairly certain I had nothing to worry about), but my Christian rule breaking friends were threatened with burning in hell for all eternity. In my family it was a SIN (probably a mortal sin if I had to compare it to Catholic Church standards) if you ate a ham sandwich on Passover. Jews are known to be adept at imposing huge amounts of guilt on one another. It really is a fine art. With all the nagging that a person has to listen to for committing a sin, I sometimes think that burning in hell might be a better alternative.
So where did all of this confusion come in anyway? It is said that the Bible is the word of God. Okay. I can accept that. But perception is reality. Everyone perceives what they read in a different way. Each religion has their own interpretation of the scriptures. One sentence can mean thirty different things to thirty different people. So who is right?
The truth is that we really don’t know with exact certainty what happened at the time of Christ and at the time after his death. Except for the Romans, the people at that time were mostly all Jewish. Everyone knows that when you have 2 Jews you have 3 opinions so what happens if there are thousands of Jews all trying to wrap their heads around things they had never before encountered? A calamity I tell you! 🙂
Many times when people hear “Christ” or “Jesus,” they immediately fall into a preconceived idea based upon their upbringing or particular religious background. Throughout history, the perspectives people have had on the life and teachings of Jesus have been varied. Some say Jesus was “just a teacher.” Some have called him a prophet. Some have disregarded him completely. Even the opinions of those who call themselves Christian are not always in complete agreement about the meaning of Jesus and his work.
After all, How do we really know that everything written in the Bible (either New or Old Testament) is truly the Word of God? Is it a possibility that some of it could have been influenced by man’s opinion or perception? And if we could believe it, how do we know that the Bible we know today was actually THE ONE that was actually written? In my opinion, it isn’t. (Check out the Nag Hamadi texts – lost books of the New Testament found in Egypt in 1945) . How did those texts get “lost”? Who “lost” them?
Then there is the already acknowledged but wide variety of opinions on the “apocrypha”. Who decided which of these texts were to go into the Bible and which ones were to be left out? Trust me when I tell you that it wasn’t God who decided. (It is entirely possible, however, that The Council of Trent (1545-1563) had a God complex). Is it so difficult to believe that the people who lived in and around the time of Christ (and later) didn’t have personal and political agendas that may have altered the things that Christ really taught?
There are people like myself who look at Jesus’ life in a way that unifies all of humankind rather than dividing it. This is the Christ Consciousness and it has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with love and humanity. God has given us a gift of free will. If we err, we eventually will rise and return to God because God is within. We will live our spiritual inheritance and experience a relationship with the I AM presence.
I am not a student of the Bible and don’t pretend to be. I’ve read the Bible but quite honestly, not a whole lot stuck with me. For me, personally, it’s all about how I feel not what I’m told I should believe. I know that God is in my heart. After all, He created me. Through my personal experiences I have “found” God by looking within. To me, God is love. God is the GPS system of my soul. Jesus preached the word of God through the Old Testament. He brought forth the true meaning of the that Word with one other very powerful word – LOVE. If we approach all things we do in our lives and every decision we make with a heart full of LOVE, we can’t go wrong. When we steer off course by not listening to our GPS we are wise enough to recognize that what we’ve done is not in line with our God self.
And why are mere humans wise enough to recognize these things by ourselves, you ask? Because God is within. We just have to listen with our hearts. <3
Thank you to my sister, Holly Robbins, for her beautiful photography and for always shining her light on my dark moments. <3