Saturday, August 18, 2007

Would I go back?

This question has raised itself a few times recently. Would I return to the religion that I left? It's a tricky question for me, because there is so much emotional baggage attached. There are times, I wake up, and I actually do feel inclined to put on a suit, and head to a Sunday morning meeting. Over the year, those times have reduced, but it still does occasionally happen. One of my friends recently stated to me, that they couldn't be involved romantically with an ex-member because of the fear they would have about them going back. I must admit, at times I have had this same fear in people I've been involved with.

But, would I go back?

It's a funny thing, my answer to that question has remained the same: No. However, my answer to the follow up "Why" question has.

Previously, my answer would have likely been some gibberish about doctrine, or child molestation, or blood transfusions, or the issues with biblical contradictions in the literature. But, when that question was so recently posed, those prior things never even came up.

Some things in life act as ground for you. That ground is a part of your life that you can look back at, and use to chart your course in the future. These are the things that our personal compass works off. A well grounded person has benchmarks that aren't trivial. They are solid fixtures around them. When making a decision about faith and God and who you want to be in life, the ground for that decision must be strong for that decision to be meaningful.

When I first came to Kansas City, a 23 year old boy, my ground was barely tangible. The reason why I couldn't go back? It just didn't seem right to be there. The arguments I could make in regards to the Bible and prophecy and all, did have solid facts around them. But, argument can easily convince people of things that are less than factual - and denial can work in to cause one to reject things they thought to be true. Sitting on a guest room bed that first night, the world spun around me, and I longed for the comforting embrace of familiarity inside the walls of my former church. I sobbed myself to sleep.

A lot changed after that night, and over the year that followed. I faced my father, and in doing so, I feel, grew into adulthood. I left home, worked, played, 'fell in love', made friends, did some stupid things, did some smart things, saw people, enjoyed new experiences, and made solid memories. As I did this all, I never realized how I was changing as a person, and the new things I was using to make judgments.

Why would I not come back today?

The first thing to come to mind is not some explanation of the Bible, some random fact about archeology or history, some piece of trivia. The first things that came to mind?

A (now) 4 year old boy, seeing me in the front door and shouting "Anwooo". Then, lunch on a Sunday after a 45 minute drive to see a newlywed couple. A phone call with the mother of that same 4 year old boy, and smart ass comments by her husband. A party for a friend moving into his newly purchased house. A wedding and all the guests that came. "My first love" with a strong and passionate woman. Christmas dinner with a coworker. Going to an Indian (near Pakistan India) Birthday party and watching the amazing mix of American and foreign cultures.

I look at these things, and they give me a much clearer view of the world around me. I once wrote that the perfect Holiday was not an actual day, but the collected memories that someone builds around Holidays. At one point, I felt like an outsider looking in, and while that feeling is still there, I realize now, that I have started the process of building a new life. I have been adopted into a wonderful and loving family.

So, why would I not go back? I only need to take a look at the people around me, my new adopted family to see why. It's not even a question. Any religion that would tell me that this family is something of evil or demonic has at that point shown itself so. Unlike what the religion said about those around me, they aren't selfish, immoral, backstabbing people. Yes, they aren't perfect. But frankly, the people in that old Church caused me far more harm over the years. When I saw one member of the Church, and listened to her cold comments, and realized what an icy Bitch she was, versus the person she portrayed herself as earlier... And when I hear talk of how I'm obviously troubled or evil by members of the Church.... All of these things, I see in stark contrast to the people here.

And the amazing thing, if I went back to the Church, these people here would still talk to me - but they would cry that I couldn't talk to them.

That is why I don't go back, and can not even begin to picture it happening.

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