I was quite sad to read a certain post earlier today. It talked of worship and places of worship. It made me reflect again on what worship and spirituality mean to me.
Firstly, I see spirituality as an essential part of all people, in the same way that we have an emotional, mental and physical part to our make-up.
People seek spiritual enlightenment in different ways. Even those who dismiss any notion of God are still often aware of that sense of self that goes beyond the physical, emotional and mental.
How it is developed and nurtured is, to a great extent, dependent on parental and family influence as well as any more formal worship and experiences in life.
With or without church I would be a spiritual being as we all are, I believe.
In my own case, I was raised as a Roman Catholic and received all the sacraments that are believed to encourage spiritual growth. I attended Roman Catholic schools where the ethos and message throughout was on God’s saving grace and love and our responsibility to put the awareness of these into actions.
I did question my faith as a young adult and looked to Buddhism and Judaism as possible ‘alternatives’, seeing something in them that I felt perhaps our church lacked. I studied some of the teachings and read as much as I could until I came to a conclusion. The lack was in myself.
I realised that different cultures embraced different faiths but that, ultimately, we all worshipped the same God with very similar routes to enlightenment. I knew that I believed in God, that I wanted to know more and draw closer. I knew that I could do that through the faith in which I had been raised and where I already knew so much of the ‘route’.
I chose to remain in the faith in which I had been raised and to become more enriched by it.
Others are free to do the same and find where they are most comfortable or challenged. Where they feel at home.
I have belonged to the same parish for most of my life and there have been many changes of clergy over the years. I have not always ‘liked’ certain personalities although, for the most part, we have been very fortunate in having a spiritual leader at all times, with experiences of life as diverse as their personalities and natures. Some have struggled with their own demons and, in doing so, validated themselves as part of the human experience rather than as some alien being who knew nothing of life’s experiences.
Regardless of who has been the parish priest or how much I liked or disliked their personalities, I remained with my church because the church was and is more than the man at the front.
The church is us. We, as a congregation; we, as a community; we, as a nation; and we, as a world.
The Catholic church did indeed correct what they believed to be erroneous teachings. If memory serves, they reconsidered their view of the church as a hierarchy and used the analogy of concentric circles instead. The outer circle – the church – is everyone because it is the body. From the body, others are drawn to grow more closely to the centre. In all clergy we look for guidance and, unfortunately sometimes, we are let down. The sins of the person may reflect on the church but the church is humanity. And we are all guilty of sin. We share collective culpability.
The clergy are not special beings with omnipotent powers. They are people. They have flaws and yes, they fall. As do we all.
My reason for attending a place of worship is to firstly, honour God by dedicating some special time on a chosen day to receive and be in communion with Him. I strive for this every day and in daily life. The dedicated worship is because I need it. I need to draw close to the source in that significant way.
Others may not feel that need.
I do not think that they are not spiritual. Because we all are.
Some people seek certain types of worship and I would be happy if, at times, we could have some gospel music and more happy clapping. But I also love the solemn and the serene and the ritual.
I believe my faith was a seed that was nurtured by others and has grown in me. I hope it continues to grow.
Should all church buildings be wiped off of the face of the earth tomorrow, I would miss many things about gathering together in worship. But, perhaps we would gather at lakes or mountains or in deserts or in others’ homes.
I would still, however, be a spiritual being with the need to continue to nurture that part of me as much as the physical, mental and emotional.
I probably would not have written such a post had I not read the earlier one mentioned. But I did.
This is very much who I am and where I am coming from. I fail and I fall and I move on and I try and I seek and I desire with all that is in me to be that better me; the spirit housed in the body, the spirit that is linked with the spirit of all and the source.
And we all do it in different ways. I believe.
31 thoughts on “T.M.I?”
Thank you for your comment, and for the link to your blog from mine (http://simuladoratur.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/the-problem-with-religion/). I’m also glad that my post caused you to reflect – I always hope to give people something to think about, though normally do it with a twist of humor. Sadly, I just couldn’t find the humor in the subject for this post, because I think the realization caught me off-guard.
In answer to your concern (I read your post in response to mine), I have actually never ceased my journey. Being an ordained priest, myself, I have been able to continue to celebrate a Low Mass since my options of chosen worship have been taken away for the most part. But I guess that’s what my original post is primarily about. I agree with you that we are spiritual people even without the churches; but to continue being spiritually fed, one needs a form of worship (whatever that means for each individual). For me, and others, it’s the need for the traditions that have been easily tossed aside over the past few decades. When I’m able to immerse myself in them, I’m able to feed more fully, releasing the heart and mind into a higher spirituality to unite with the Godhead while the body does what it needs to do.
The sad thing, is that there are so few clergy who feel this, or understand this. Most are more interested in pushing the modernist envelope, even within traditional parishes. This always ends the same way – with the faithful lay sinking into unfaithfulness, or spiritual ambiguity. In a way, it’s like being forced to switch one’s regular diet from that of fresh fruits and vegetables, to one of strict McDonald’s and Burger King. One is still being fed; but it’s not the nourishment the body needs.
Thanks for the chance to read your blog and the link to it. 🙂
If it’s possible, I feel sadder still. I understand your need to feel unity with the Godhead in a way that allows you to feel immersed. I have that every time I go to Mass and share in the ritual and Communion. It is something I can carry with me and revisit at any point in the day. I would feel a great loss at being unable to share in that. By being immersed in this way I feel very much alive in the spirit and I hope it permeates all of my actions, especially the ones where I fail miserably. It is at those times that my need is greater.
I don’t know that a different form of Mass would affect me too negatively. I have gone to Mass in places where the solemnity of the occasion has varied greatly but nothing altered the truth for me.
I do know that people are turned off by too much ritual or seemingly insignificant meaning in their worship. Perhaps this is why some churches have tried to embrace a more modernist approach to enticing youth or others who are disillusioned. It does not, as you say, always have the desired effect. I think this may be attributable to the fact that people are not so easily fooled by illusory pretence, if that is how they perceive it.
The one thing that appears to guarantee spiritual growth and worship in all ages is a genuine sense of the spirit; a washing in it. Where the Spirit is alive and well and flowing freely whether in gospel or ritualistic ceremony, there is an ‘inpouring’ of love that is recognised and may be immersed in. I am not speaking here of overtly charismatic measures although I have nothing against that at all. Where genuine goodness and Godness are evident, it is felt.
I pray that your sense of that continues to grow in whatever form your worship takes.x
Interesting, you have deep insights into yourself and what it means to be human. I come from a faithless background, yet have discovered my own spirituality as an adult. I find flaw in organized religion, yet without organization it is hard to “keep the faith” and keep growing. The main teachings are universal though aren’t they, the golden rule being one.
Flaws are inherent in any organisation as in human nature. As a child, I quit the Brownies and the Guides because I didn’t like the rules and a lot of the senseless routines. I do find, though, that the flaws in religious organisations do not alter my belief but somehow add to the recognition that I am part of something that is human and frail but aspiring to be better. I do shake my head sometimes and wonder at certain people and their antics but the unity within the body of the church is something I value. I suppose it’s like joining the flawed with the divine and hoping and believing that growth comes from all both can bring.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
The One is with us all.x
very deep, strangely heartbreaking and yet, full of hope. beautifully written and felt profoundly.
I’m not always hopeful, sadly. But I always believe. In many things. Thank you for reading and commenting. x
I will try to write a little as it seems my fingers are running amuck today.
I normally don’t read post about spirituality, as I have found where I am comfortable after trying everything under the sun (it seems). I have some very real issues with regard to good and evil, God and Satan, and they are really hard to get around. I have found for me, acceptance of all is important, and then, as another commenter wrote, the Golden Rule should be part of all of us. My Mom is strong Mormon, and I have learned this is what she needs, but also made it clear I don’t want missionaries, people from her Church, or her to try and get me active. I have the information I need to be written off the Church rolls, and will do so when I can stop blogging and concentrate at the same time. My ideal world is one wherein we all worship whatever Deity(ies) we choose, love the Earth from which all life springs, and just adhere to ‘…do unto others…’ philosophy and actions. I don’t find it hard, and often have a very hard time understanding why others can’t seem to do this. Instead it appears they spend a great deal of negative energy just to hurt another. I simply do not get this at all. As long as we are not hurting another, and trying to live as a caring community, I don’t really care what you believe in, what day you choose to worship, and what words you say. Even Jesus spoke of Love being the ultimate answer, not how many days, how much tithe, or how well one knew the Gospels, as the answer to try Happiness. I wish the world could see it like you do, open and loving, instead of thinking it is all or nothing.
You have it all in one word. Love. Of self and others. Too many wrongs are done in the name of religion. People do forget or choose to ignore how love of all manifests spiritual growth. The most all-loving people I know in my life shine with the greatest of spirituality whether they profess a faith or not.
We each strive to find our own way and it should be done with love.
Thanks for reading and commenting, especially as you don’t usually read posts of this type, as you say.
I did read another post on religion yesterday, and I think I reblogged it. It had to do with Dr. Who and religion. It all came down to his character being moral, kind, and loving. It was a good read, made me realize one of the reasons I have loved Dr. Who all these 1,000 years, and how much I really miss it.
Is it not still on?x
It is on, I just don’t have the means to watch it anymore. In fact, right after this last Dr. came on, Matt Smith, I lost cable, so when they announced a new Dr. because this one had been on 5 years, I was confused. Then I started counting and realized I had missed almost all of Matt Smith’s episodes. I just haven’t been able to watch any TV in so long, I have forgotten what it was like.
It’s mostly the oldies I remember, having watched them years ago. I’ve seen some since and I rather liked David Tennant in the role. There’s always something strange and slightly addictive about his method of acting.x
Oh, yes, I loved David Tennant. I would love to have seen the other shows he has been in. I have seen on BBCAmerica the write ups of his shows, but have not been able to watch them. What is funny is that while I was watching Dr. Who, Mom would leave the room, as she has never thought any of the Dr.s were good looking. This new Dr. they announced really stirred her ire for whatever reason. She had to tell me over and over again how he wasn’t good looking. Hmmm…do you think she has been snared by the beast of judging a person by their looks, especially celebrities? She also didn’t like my video on the Gottan Project, as it wasn’t classic Tango. There is art in so many things, but she is blind to much of it. She doesn’t like B&W photos, whereas I see a great deal of art and beauty in them, as well as color. She is just mired in her own world, and something has to be spectacular to be beautiful in her world. I will never live in a world wherein I won’t at least look at something, listen, watch, and give it a chance. Even if it doesn’t mesh with me, I will not condemn it, it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t particularly think this new Dr. is great looking, but I bet his acting talent is extraordinary. I would love to watch him in action. And, yes, the show is addictive, and I think much of it is the hero we all miss from American TV coming in. Any hero now on TV, can do good, but he is also got some part of him that is doing some sort of serious self-harm (drinking, smoking, drugs) or he has real bad self-esteem issues. No more are the days of Clark Kent, the Lone Ranger, and just heros. They all have to be reluctant heros, wherein they are drug into a situation and choose to do the right thing, not that it would have been their first choice. What is ironic is she loved Torchwood, and John Barrowmore especially. When she learned he married his partner and was openly gay, well…that ended that infatuation. She is anti-gay as well, at least quietly here at home, but not openly campaigning against them. She is just so not like me. Her mind is so closed. Enough said, blah blah, jeez enough fingers…
Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how some parents and children are related. A post I was reading today was talking about nature and nurture. A fascinating read. So many different reasons for why we become the people we do and so many unknown factors too. It must be very difficult for you just now. Your mother is living with you, I think you said. Everything that is different is magnified when forced to face it every day. As much as I loved my own mum I did find it difficult to live with her for extended periods of time. She would come to stay at my invitation and, after a while, unintentionally I believe, she would adopt the earlier role of parent and could be hypercritical of things not done the way she used to and so on. I always needed a breathing space afterwards! A certain distance, once older, is more than desirable to maintain harmony. I’m pretty sure my own children will feel exactly the same way about me.
It’s a pity you’ve lost the facility to be able to see your favourite shows when you enjoy them so much. But just think of all the fun catching up when you can. A marathon of entertainment. 🙂 x
Yeah, I am thinking a, at least, month long BBC marathon, and then at least another month for SyFy channel, and then one more month for shows I watched on I.D., BIO, and other channels combined. That is three months of doing nothing but TV. So, if you loose me for three months, you know I am cooped up somewhere just watching TV.
Your eyes will go square, as my mum used to say! 🙂 x
I was always told I would go blind. I figure I am going to 50 in, wow!, a few days here, what the hell. Give it to me!
Nothing wrong with 50, remember. 🙂 x
I did psychology in 2002-04 and I focused on nature/nurture and its a bit of both. Think about this, babies will move to music without being taught, bees dance in the hive to give the other bees directions to the best places to get pollen. We communicate with our body 30 seconds before we open our mouths. Nature…..=) If children are brought up with violence they will tend to be violence, during the second world war orphens rescued from the streets of bombed out cities found to hoard food even when in the safety of others, this is also seen in childrens homes present day. The nature to survive, all young animal are cute, babies smile cutely so they all appeals to your emotional response so you won’t eat them. =)
I’ve observed that with every one of my children. Dancing before they could walk, singing before they could talk (like the Abba song!) as if it were innate. And then you also have the children who are raised in a negative manner and become determined not to emulate the parent and so the pattern of behaviour. A wholly fascinating field of study.x
Religion or Faith is something very personal. I don’t believe in advertising my religion or faith because it looses its humility. This is my opinion. And as you said, I believe it too.. there is one Energy or God either in form or omnipresent.. How I reach for this super power enlightening energy, is my sole journey irrespective of the path I choose. I seek for harmony and peace.
I will try and write this again, I wrote a couple of hundred words and my puter decided it wanted to restart, Anyway…..
I stopped attending church some years ago I have three reasons why. 1/ I was getting tired of the politics preached from the pulpit, there is no room for politics and religion in the same pulpit 2/ The snobbery within the church, especially from the older generation with them being Sunday Christians. In the Church of Scotland before you can be Christened, married or buried you need to become a member, I was brought up in the Pentecostal Church where everyone is welcome. So for me to get married in church in Scotland I had to become a member. In 1989 we moved to a new town, to be able to attend the local Kirk our lines (membership details) had to be moved from the last town kirk to the new one. A week after that had happened our new minister called uninvited and asked a a family we could read the first reading for the start of the Christmas celebrations, we agreed and we were invited to attend our new church on the following Sunday. We walked in, we were met by the Minister who directed us towards the front pews and he said he will ask us to join him near the pulpit in the second half of the service. We sat down and within 2 minutes we were being told to move by this irate old lady who informed us that we were sat in her family pew, which has been in her family for over 100 years, this pew around 9 foot long enough for a large party, but all there was, this little old lady, this made up her family, but she insisted. Family pews were no longer part of church life. A few weeks later we were sat in a pew and I over heard a conversation about how there were to many new young people coming in the church and how the church will go down hill, the last thing they wanted was young people in their Kirk!
We got a new minister when the church elders push the older one out, yes he was not the most charismatic minister, he was droll and if you have ever been to the Scottish Isles and attended a Kirk of Scotland there you know what I am talking about, the kids at the high school called him Doctor Death, he did look like Lurch a bit……Any how he was forced out and we got this young, go getter minister Scott Rennie, who had great plans to form a youth club, football team and get youth into the kirk………..well as he needed permission from the Kirk Session, they didn’t like it, so they didn’t allow it. Poor Scott just did as he was talk, Kirk Session has spoken.
You have to remember that the Scottish Kirk was the law before the 18th century in Scotland, you had a problem with your neighbour, you went to the session, there is an account of a woman in the 1700’s, who was drunk at the time vomited in the Kirk pews and she was punished by making her stand for 2 hours on a barrel at the towns cross for 4 weeks, in her defence most people was drunk as the water would make you ill so a low alcohol was brewed in most homes, nobody knew why but if you drank ale you didn’t die, the alcohol killed the bacteria….. Anyway history over with.
Poor Scott a married Scottish Minister, we celebrated the birth of his first child, a girl. He then stood for election of the Liberals, which he failed to get elected, which I was glad about, I believe if you become a minister your have a responsibility for your church and those in it and becoming a politician, his time would be taken away.
Now Scott got his own back, big time, a few of us knew that his marriage had failed and had a few other personal problems, then the bombshell…………He came out his Cassock Cupboard and from the pulpit he announced he was gay, this shook not only the church community but the Scottish Kirk, how I laughed and shook Scott’s hand, I think God had this planned all along for the fuddle dud-dies who denied new members their pews. Scott left a few years later and went to a kirk in Aberdeen, if you Goggle Scott Rennie you will find him and his story….
So you can see how powerful the Scottish Kirk can be.
I have always knew there was a powerful being from being very small, God was never talked about in the house when I was under 10, I loved looking through the heavy leather bond family bible, with the metal clasp and the smell of musty damp, on the inside page was the names of people from my grandfathers past.
When I was 11 I was introduced to the Elim Pentecostal Church, I had been to church before with the cubs, a church of England with its cold pews, its smell of incense, the musty hymn books along with bibles with broken spines left to the church by the dead and the relatives of the dead, the clocked man trying to sing, the choir boys dressed in white with ruffles around their neck, at 9 I have not heard the stories of Vicars and …….well you know.
The Elim church was fantastic, youth clubs, youth bible class, people who talked to you, services with load music played on the electric guitar, drums and non choir boy castrated high pitched whine.
Here I learnt about the real God, the real Jesus, the real spiritual world, I felt it, it was strong and happy. We went to concerts, Living Waters at the Royal Albert Hall. If you have never felt the spirit move, you have never lived. I loved it all,
When I was 16 I joined the RAF, to cut a long story short I had so much going on in my life the church was put on the back burner, I still prayed for family and friends at night but life took over and the not so spiritual side of life took over………………..Fast Forward to present day, I still don’t attend church as I don’t need to, I have learnt that spirituality is not in a building but in oneself, if you try and lead a good life, follow your heart, you know what is right and wrong, read your bible, I have it on my tablet and on my phone as an app, where you can read many different versions, I have difficulty reading long text so I have chosen the one I have a very soothing male voice who reads to me, I get to understand the words and the context here is the link for the one I use they do it for Android, IOS and Windows 8
So to finish this, my spiritual life hasn’t been greater, I try and live a good life, I try and read and understand the bible and listen to what it is telling me.
Sorry this is so long winded, but its been my journey and I liked telling it. If you got this far Thank you for taking the time and hope this has stirred your spiritual inners 🙂
Oh, I read right to the end. I was riveted. I wanted to laugh and cry in equal measure. I had no idea that the Church of Scotland was as entrenched as you describe. 1989? It sounds like something from some distant bygone era. Seriously, I cannot imagine such a situation and would have struggled to believe there were people capable of saying that they didn’t want new, young people into the church for fear of it going downhill!
I loved the history lesson too. Drinking alcohol because the water would make you ill?! I’m going to test that theory again tonight! And I will drink a dram to your very good health and wisdom.
I looked up Scott Rennie. The name didn’t immediately ring a bell but, once I began reading, I remembered a little about this story breaking.
I can’t and have no wish to unbelieve in God. I do and have long recognised the myriad ways people seek and manifest spirituality in their life. My ‘version’ of God is one who embraces all humanity including gay. I cannot conceive of a God who would ‘diss’ sections of humanity in the way that humans are capable of doing. Bigotry and racism enrage me. It all comes under the umbrella of bullying to me.
Everyone who has commented here has demonstrated what I believe, that we all are spiritual beings with a need and an urge to know and understand that part of ourselves better, however we choose to do it.
It’s not an easy subject to discuss because, quite rightly, everyone feels and feeds their own relationship with God/the Source/the Universe/Nature. Interpretations vary. And some do not believe in a One.
To you and to all the other commenters, I thank you for your thoughts and words which have helped enrich my understanding. In the immortal words of one Dave Allen, ‘May your God go with you’.
You have just made my year, I have never had a feedback on a piece of writing as you have given me, I thank you big time. I could and may write more and add it to my blog. If you look around at different religions they all have one thing in common a almighty being who created the world. I have had many discussion with non believers who come up with “How do you explain the dinosaurs? ” my reply is “Have you ever changed yoyr mind”
They look at me a little confused, I cannot explain the dinosaurs, all I know is that they where here and then they were not. But what I do know is that I have stood next to people who have spoken in tongues including my mother, who was born in Fleetwood, worked in a jam factory and raised 4 children, she didnt have time to learn an ancient language no longer spoken and was the language supposedly spoken by Christ, I have stood in a room and felt the Holy Spirit move among people, the warmth and the lifting both emotionally and physically, I cannot explain it but it was beautiful. I was told it was mass hysteria, hardly with 5 of us. I just know its real. God bless you 😀
You are so welcome. I loved your response. It deserved an answer worthy of the thought and feeling you had put into it. There are mysteries so beyond our understanding.
I have no problem believing in so many things like the Loch Ness Monster and fairies. Probably not the best place to say that considering the topic of discussion!! But you know what I mean. 🙂 x
Well I spent from the age of 14 to about 2 years ago researching the Paranormal, I along with serioys researchers one being a gentleman Brain Allen a renowned expert on Roslyn Chapel and author of many books, I have witnessed things I coukd not explain including just over a year ago a 6ft woman in a hooded cloak wrapped in living ivy standing at the end of my bed with arms out stretched. =)
I try to avoid the paranormal. I’ve had a couple of scary personal experiences that left me rather shaken. There’s too much to risk, I feel, in certain areas.
I would have a hairy-canary if anything appeared by my bed again.x
It was a bit of a shock, but saying that I have been in some interesting places, seen interesting things. I know what the bible says about the Paranormal and I have been over and over things and asked for guidence and it was a strange thing, over a few days I lost interest, so I took that as my sign, I think i was alliwed to do my thing, learnt what I needed to and then my ghost days were up. I have seen many things, listened to many things as well as peoples experiences that it strengthened my faith as the paranormal things I witnessed were real, then God had to be real, the more I delved the more my faith grew. Once my faith was up there then my interest in ghost wained and after well over 30 years I have no interest and my wife is happy about that lol.
As a footnote, I was told I have a psychic ability, somethings from my youth tells me so, after I had given up on it all I had the visit from the woman, mentioned this to Brian and he said that this same woman has been seen over the centuries and she is a fairy, or wood nymph normally they dislike humans but the out stretched arms is a form of greeting. Take from that what you wish lol I now stay away from it all, dont even watch the paranormal programmes on tv, mind you I didnt before that idiot Derek accora (sp) turned what was a real science using psychological techniques and scientific instruments into a joke.
I have no background in physics although a tentative knowledge has allowed me some insights.
I believe a recognised law is, ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’.
I have never dabbled in ouji boards or such but I did display more than perhaps was a healthy interest in some aspects of the paranormal and had several experiences of the ‘opposite force’ which helped convince me that where evil exists there is an opposing goodness. I cannot begin to explain here the impact those experiences had on me. Suffice to say, I trust in a power greater than myself to deal with an opposing power greater than myself. My constant, reassuring refrain at the time was, ‘Trust me. And I will do the rest’. That has held me in good stead for over thirty years. I would never wish to feel or see again the manifestation of evil that does exist within our world. I know exactly what this sounds like and it is something I am not in the least comfortable speaking about so I will only say that there is good reason why we are advised to refrain from delving into areas we are incapable of managing on our own.
I am more than pleased that this is an area of your life you have closed. Sincerely.x
I have always believed in the two oppising forces but with faith and the love of the Almighty we who do believe can continue through life protected, play with fire get burnt. The board is one thing I stayed away from, Waddingtons sold them as toys in the 60’s & 70’s lol. When I do feel fear I ask for protection and feel safe. Do you know you must be one of the best conversationalist I have found on here, I have really enjoyed your responses and open honesty. I don’t sleep well so its normally around 3am when imturn offnthe tv, I am currently watching a very bad 80’s horror, the acting terrible, blood is faked badly and they must use the same female scream for every female murder lol, used to think they were gruesome when the came out on video in about 85 lol, we can see more gruesomness ( I think thats a new word) on the 6 o’click news. Its Fright Fest on film four everynight at 11ish, but some are classics others are so back. This one is called Inferno, no idea where the flames are, just bad hair and moustaches. There is a contact form on my mysoresoul vwebsite if you wish to email. =)
I used to hide behind cushions at the ‘Hammer House of Horror’ films! x
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