I spent the last two days taking down the Christmas decorations. There are only two physical remnants of Christmas 2012 left in my house. One is the blue and white Portuguese bowl on my counter filled with nuts, candy canes, green and red Hershey’s Kisses and the bag of Milk & Chocolate Ghirardelli Squares Santa left in my stocking. The other is a piece of bubble wrap I jumped on to distract our three year-old granddaughter Eden when she started to throw a fit because I was taking the ornaments off the tree.
Eden had grown fond of hiding and rearranging the Christmas ornaments, especially the breakable ones. Now she is very fond of the piece of bubble wrap she trails behind her like a tattered piece of a favorite blanket. She hasn’t said a word about the missing Christmas ornaments.
I was in a hurry to box the trappings of the season because we’re going on vacation to Colorado from the second to the twelfth of January. I don’t want to face the tear down task when I get home. The other reason has to do with outwardly admitting something I’ve kept to myself for two decades—I’m not Christian.
The first time these words traveled from my brain, hit my vocal chords and flew from my mouth was about a week ago. At the time I was looking out the window in the kitchen. I admit the timing had something to do with an occurence earlier in the day at a book club luncheon. My husband RJ’s comment was, “I thought so.”
What does it mean to say I’m not Christian? It means I don’t believe Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior. It means I don’t believe He is the only way to salvation and people and religions who believe otherwise are wrong (or right.) It means I don’t believe if a person isn’t baptized they will burn in Hell. It means I don’t believe in Hell after life. (There is enough Hell during life.)
It means I believe in following the teachings of Christ (and Buddha and Gandhi and Mother Teresa.) It means I believe in God; a God people give different names to, whether it’s Higher Power, Allah, Divine Being, Yahweh, Collective Consciousness, etc…
I talked to my daughter Ashley last night about our pending Colorado trip. She could tell I was multi-tasking and asked what I was doing. I took a deep breath and said, “I’m writing a blog about how…I’m not Christian.”
Ashley said, “I know you’re not Christian.”
So much for the big reveal.
“I’m Agnostic,” Ashley said.
“I’m not. I believe in God.”
“But you have no proof he’s real,” Ashley countered.
“Yes, I do. I've experienced a physiological connection to something greater than myself. I’ve experienced moments of grace; moments of a sort of knowing that are not from myself. I have an unusual connection with nature also.”
“Aha!” Ashley said. “You’re Pagan.”
I looked at the art and photographs of nature surrounding me. "I am definitely not Pagan.”
“Then you’re monotheist.”
“Well, yes. I believe in one God that is called different names and affected people in different ways at different times because that was the context in which it would work for that person at that time. I was raised Catholic but it didn’t stick.”
“You’re a Deist,” Ashley declared.
“What’s a Deist?”
“You follow Deism, which means you believe in God based on logic, experience and nature. Hang on… Here's a good definition. 'Modern Deism incorporates the latest interpretations found in the fields of science, philosophy, psychology and history so that it integrates classical and modern viewpoints with the wisdom of the past with the discoveries of the present.’”
"Where did you find that?”
“On moderndeism.com. But don’t say you’re a Deist in your blog, Mom. Don’t label yourself.”
“Because if you say or do anything that doesn’t suit Deism you’ll be called a hypocrite.”
I laughed. "This is one of the many reasons I love you Ashley.”
I’ve lived in the Bible Belt for almost eighteen years. My fear of losing friendships, being drawn into religious arguments and having friends and family worry I’d lost faith are the main reasons I've kept my views to myself. I hope my fears are ungrounded.
I have a close relationship with God. I haven’t lost my faith and didn’t lose my way as a Christian because of anything that’s happened to me over the course of my life. You can’t lose faith in something you never believed.
If I had to classify my beliefs perhaps the closest thing at this point in my life would be Deism. This morning I pulled a Staples folder out of the closet in our office. I peeled two white address labels from a sheet and wrote “Deist” on the first one and “December 25th Commercialist” on the second. I stuck the labels on my shirt and wore them all day. I needed to know what it felt like to be free.
Causes Jules Jacob Supports
Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, American Horticultural Therapy Association, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, National Jewish...