Thursday, August 09, 2012
Why A New Religion?
Maybe some of you don't know that I first came to Paganism in High School. I had been victimized as a child, and Wicca seemed a path that offered both personal power and freedom. I was also very frustrated with mainstream Christianity. I grew up as a choir director's daughter. Church at that time felt like a show. It was produced. And it was always full of drama. Usually behind the scenes. Churches are full of gossip. My front row seat as a witness to what people could do to each other, people who went to church every Sunday, soured me a bit. And Wicca at that time was as much a slap in the face to what I had been raised with as it was a genuine religious change.
A few years later, I came back to Christianity. I felt lost and broken, and Jesus promised to be my healer and my guide. This time I was going to do it right. I was going to devote myself to being a good Christian. The kind who was righteous. I don't know what I thought would happen if I got it right, but I knew I didn't want to get it wrong.
When Sarah died and I dealt with that internet shit storm on top of my grief, it was the first big huge crack. If I could not accept that I had to be actively dying to end my pregnancy, what else couldn't I accept? Well, that answer turned out to be really simple. I couldn't accept that my Gay and Lesbian friends aren't entitled to the same rights I am. I couldn't accept that they were "intrinsically disordered". I struggled with how to be true to a faith that taught me such a thing.
I continued to argue theology and scripture with people on the 'net. Some of these people opposed women going to college, driving cars, using any form of birth control, or even ending an ectopic pregnancy (one of the leading causes death among pregnant women in the first trimester). I was fighting with people of my own faith, about things that were serious and important. And they often didn't even see me as a sister in the faith. I felt like I was falling down a rabbit hole, and it was all about being right. One day I'd stand before God, and if I hadn't been right, I wasn't going to heaven. But I couldn't be right about everything. I just couldn't.
I realized that I was drifting farther and farther from the faith. I took a break and began to study. I read a lot. Buddhism, Ancient Christian texts, Pagan authors, Twilight (What? I can't read serious books all the time!). I remembered what it was like to experience faith and the Divine, and to have that experience be what matters, as opposed to what is right.
Faith is supposed to make us better people. But Christianity had been making me judgmental and small. Which, I should point out says more about me than the faith. For many people, Christianity is a beautiful thing, and they become transformed by it. For me, it simply wasn't working.
I rediscovered Wicca. No longer feeling the need to stick it to Christianity, I could embrace this faith as a true adult. I could experience the connection with the Divine forces of the Universe. I could see it reflected in nature, in the people around me, and in my children. I could embrace the people I loved as true equals. I believe that this faith makes me a better person. I still worry from time to time about what people with think of this decision. But ultimately I have to do what I think is best for me and for my family. Embracing Paganism has brought a peace to my family that was simply not there before.
For more about what Wicca is, here is a very basic description. I'm an eclectic Pagan, but Wicca is sort of my jumping off point as to what feels comfortable for me. I prefer using the term Pagan because it is sort of a larger umbrella which encompasses more of the community. As always, please, feel free to ask me questions if you have any.