These last several weeks, I’ve had increasing opportunity to search out God in lunches with a new Muslim friend, while communing and spiritually stretching in a BaHa’i devotional, while offering an invited prayer (on my Birthday, very memorable) at a anti-gun-violence prayer meeting / peace vigil, and having deep theological discussions with disaffected or questioning members of my own faith (etc). I’ve learned much, and shared much. I believe that in every case, I see people who are sincerely and diligently searching for God and for themselves (more on that in Part 2). Some couldn’t really give much of a d’m about religion, except as a means to organize people to accomplish righteous goals.
As and aside: regarding this last point, it seems as if these faithful people are organizing outside of institutional religions as these institutions really aren't doing squat. These institutions appear to be collapsing and are thereby forced into a substantially inward focus. This may bode poorly for the organizers who are attempting to rally support from the faith community.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have rarely been blessed to have such deep, important discussions, even within — perhaps especially within — my own religion.
Inside the LDS Church I was accepted (at least in the past, not so much now) perhaps because I was arrogant about my knowledge/understanding, about truth, and about the entire concept of conversion to a church, its leaders, its culture and its narrative. I had a testimony. I had certitude. I was converted to a religion and wanted to inculcate the same, because I was convinced that is what God wanted. I fit in.
Of course that is different than being converted to God and yearning to know Him/Her/Them. Of course it is. Someone intently searching for God is not searching for a society except as a means of expression of their faith. Only someone converted to religion instead of being converted to God would so totally miss that. Mia culpa.
Outside the LDS faith I was historically shunned and rightfully so. I was arrogant about my knowledge/understanding, about truth, and about the entire concept of conversion. I was converted to a religion and wanted to “share” the same.
Of course that is different than being converted to God. Of course it is. Someone intently searching for God is not searching for religion and only someone converted to religion instead of being converted to God would so totally miss that. Mia culpa.
Of course people of other faiths respond completely differently when one presents as a person who is sincerely attempting to come to know God and to see His face. Of course they do.
I thought people of other faiths didn’t want to talk about God. Like with so many things, I’ve had it all wrong. People who love God love to commune with others who love God. Additionally, they are quite willing to open their hearts and discuss their feelings, their fears, their questions, their hopes, and unite in worship, praise, and prayer. The problem was never them.
Bottom line? Once getting my priorities straight, my Mormon beliefs are no impediment to unity, fellowship, learning and love with others who want the same. All I have to do is say, “My Religion’s Seriously Screwed Up, How About Yours?”