Two and half years ago I shared a story about my breakup with Religion. I have been spiritually practicing outside of religion for two years. And I honestly don’t believe I would’ve returned to an organized religion if it weren’t for my son. When reflecting on my life, and how I’ve gotten where I am, I acknowledge that it was often due to the people I met, and who supported me through the churches I attended. As a child, although church could be boring and often not too fun for a little girl, I realized that something comforting about church was that I’d always be fed, and looked out for. I realized that I often got my needs met when at church. Now that I have a son, I'm trying to do as much as I can to ensure he has strong values and social support. That there are plenty of eyes on him in my small town that can keep him safe.
So I did some research. And returned to Religion. This time I returned to a church that was pivotal in my life as a child. One church that changed my life for the better. And I read the theology to ensure it aligned with my strong values of freedom, love, and acceptance. I was nervous to return to religion because the church hurts people all too often. Church and organized religion are often more harmful than good. But after much thought and care, I began to attend.
I feel so blessed about my decision. I feel called to share because it is the story of how you can truly transform and grow and still find newness in the old. The new community I’m now a part of as an adult is one I never expected to receive so much from. There’s so much love and kindness for myself and my child. There are phone calls to check-in. There are formula angels who bring us what we need. There’s a rector and a deacon who truly care about making the world more just and who truly follow the ways of Jesus. I’ve really enjoyed the community aspects that I haven’t had in two and a half years. I’ve enjoyed the time of togetherness which I feel I took for granted prior to the pandemic.
I’m aware more and more that the raising of children should not be done alone. It truly should be a community effort because if we care about our community and work collectively we can get so much more done than alone. I want to instill in Rory the notion of collectiveness because in such an individualistic society it’s easy to become siloed in your privilege. Jesus always entered the community spaces, Jesus was in the collective. He consistently encountered people of all backgrounds, the rich and the poor. And that’s what I want for Rory.
Religion and community go hand in hand and give the opportunity to reach outside of yourself. It gives the opportunity to meet others where they are, serve others where their needs are, and extend love in a world full of darkness. I hope more people can experience this within religion because then we would have a lot less hurt in this world. I wish we could leave the dogma behind and follow in the ways of Jesus.
"Find God, but leave the dogma" -Macklemore