Monday, February 25, 2019

Deconstructing My Faith

I'm being a bum today. I'd planned to ride my indoor trainer but I'm sorta just fine doing nothing except for catching up on my blog. Between stained glass projects and keeping our driveway cleared of snow, I've been quite busy. It doesn't appear that there's much of a break in this snowy period we find ourselves, but at least we're breaking snowfall records. It would be a shame to get this much snow and walk away with nothing to show for it. Just for fun, here's a look back at two years ago and here's from two days ago. Yes, I'm very proud of my snowbanks—thanks for asking.

I finished the stained glass window to the left yesterday (the one in the middle). There's something calming to me when looking at the lines of these windows. I suppose it speaks to the Virgo in me and my desire for things to be orderly. I won't try and explain it any more than that—you either get it or you don't. Here's a link to it in more detail on my Etsy site.

Here's a short video I took this morning of all seven panels. Hopefully, we'll have no more bird strikes into our sunporch windows now that they're all in place.

I'm overdue for my next bout of cluster headaches. It's been more than 18 months since my last episode with them and 18 months is typically on the outer reaches of how long of a reprieve I can expect. Tammy suggested I go in and see my neurologist to have all of the prescriptions in place that I'll need when they return so I'm not caught flat-footed and scrambling. I did that today. If you're interested, you can do a search of my blog for "cluster headaches". You'll find several posts there detailing a dark side of my life that I try to think about as little as possible when I'm headache free as I am today. I'll shut up now.

It's been since last summer that Tammy and I attended services at Family of Christ where we'd become members two years earlier. I have so little desire to return at this point. Tammy still participates with her friends in the book club there but she's lost her desire to attend as well—for now. It has nothing to do with Family of Christ. It's a fine church.

I've been deconstructing my faith for most of the last five years, questioning more and more the religion that was instilled in me at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Bloomington as well as other churches along the way. They're some of my core beliefs and to walk away from them, much less question them is not something I would ever do without serious consideration. I still maintain my faith in God although God looks different to me now. I still spend a fair amount of time in prayer each day but I no longer hold fast to a belief in either heaven or hell, or the Trinity, or God and Jesus being one-in-the-same, and as I've written here before, I struggle with so much of what's written in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I don't know that I'll ever read through it again and that to me is a sad thought. I've been blessed beyond measure in my life. Don't I owe this all to God? I'm conflicted.

To be honest, lately, I've been entertaining the idea of reincarnation. It's not something I've ever studied or even talked about with anyone, not even Tammy. I recall how sad she became a few years ago when I began questioning the Trinity and expressed my doubts about it to her. I was breaking away and she was worried for me. But I can't pretend to believe in something when I no longer do. Reincarnation makes about as much sense as any other belief system to me. In my version of it, we're sent here to experience life from varying levels of class, race, and opportunity. What better way for us to truly walk in our brother's shoes. How certain am I of this? About as certain as I am that the Bible is truly the inspired word of God. I have a lot of room for doubt with both beliefs.

For the longest time, I've had a strange thought that occasionally creeps into my psyche—that in my previous life I was Uncle Herman—my grandmother's brother who immigrated to the US from Finland ahead of her. This is the only photo I can find of him (he's in the back left). But Herman died when I was two years old so how can it be possible that there could be a connection between us other than blood? I suppose I would see that as a problem if I had even a handful of memories to draw on before I was a few years old but I don't. I'll never have all of the answers in this life but I do have thoughts and beliefs that I've been going back to for decades, and the idea of some weird Uncle Herman connection has been with me long before I began pondering reincarnation. I have no idea why. I could be entirely wrong about all of it and I'm going to hell for questioning these things. Does it make sense to banish someone to an eternity of torturous fire for questioning that which nobody can see or prove?

It's getting late and I should probably wrap this up. I'd like to do a long indoor ride tomorrow and begin another glass project while immersing myself in questions I'll never have the answers to in this lifetime, because it's what I do.

That's all I've got.






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