Oct. 11, 2022

Do you find God in a building or in others--or do you find God-- in you?!?!

"Growing up, I can’t recall one Sunday I wasn’t in church, attending Sunday School,  singing in the choir, or performing in THE MESSIAH at Christmas Time.  I was a loyal member of First Christian Church in my hometown of Pine Bluff.

After marrying and changing my “church home” to that of my husband’s church---I was just as loyal to the Central Presbyterian Church.  Now I was older and my eyes/ears were becoming more aware of those around me. It was apparent that some believed just being in church--every time  the church doors opened--made them a Christian.

I experienced a father-in-law who appeared sanctified because, Sunday after Sunday, he sat in the same pew, under the same stained-glass window---paid for by his father----and sang from the family's personalized hymnbook.  I never saw him share his time or money with others and yet, a favorite song of Christians says “You will know we are Christians by our love.”

The church secretary, another “lifer” in the church, was a wife and mother of four, a regular choir member, and, for a while, seemed like my true friend.  After learning she was having “afternoon delights” at the apartment of one of my young and single-doctor friends-- while telling her husband she was at my house--I ended that church connection.  As Christians, aren’t we suppose to be a role model for our faith?

Another eye-opener was the church minister. He insisted on dropping by my house in the early days of my divorce, wanting to console and counsel me. Don't most women see their preachers as saints rather than people? Certainly, I never “saw” any minister as sexy or handsome or---"appealing”.   Anyway, this particular “man of god” attempted to hug me, kiss me, during our so-called counseling sessions. He even suggested that “exposing myself” to another man could provide the confidence I needed to make-it through the pain of divorce. If you can’t trust “God’s Spokesman”--who can you trust?!?!

Nine years ago, after relocating to Arkansas and feeling overwhelmingly- alone, I attended two different churches, on separate occasions. Rather than feeling God's love or hearing his words of strength and compassion, I, instead, heard sermons about money,  tithing, and sharing my "wealth" with the church.  Over and over, I heard the ministers repeat-- that God loves a cheerful giver.  It was only after receiving two letters in the mail, asking me to sign monthly, monetary pledge cards to both churches--that I ended my relationship with organized religion. I know how to praise and worship God.  I know exactly how to find God without buying a ticket.

I could go on and on--citing incidents that opened my eyes to what was real and what was mystic and ritual.  Everything I've experienced through the years has helped me find God--- in me. I don't need to search for God in fancy buildings---or with groups who are labeled Christians---or by signing a monthly pledge to give a certain-amount of money.

I know God.  God lives in my heart. We've been friends for ALL my life. We are together throughout the day-- every day-- and not just on Sundays."

 In love, always----------------------------------------------Sally.