March 13th, 2005

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Marriage, faith, and trusting ourselves



At first glance it may seem that Dave and I are too different to belong together. We ourselves have often been amused by the differences that seem to make us unlikely mates.

Prominent among these is not only our religious backgrounds but additionally, our different levels of religious involvement.

This is the surface understanding of our lives.

On a deeper level, I have always found Dave to be thoughtful about spiritual issues but with no sense that there is any attractive outlet for his spiritual urges. As he talks to me about his Catholic upbringing and about organized religion in general, he is telling the story of a promise unfulfilled and a mode of spirituality that (for him) seemed anything but. This has left him with an overall skepticism about faith and religious groupthink that I think some former devotees may find familiar.

I have tried to be both a model and an encouragement for a different type of spirituality, one that does not force us to abandon our authentic selves and live a life of suppression and subjugation, but one of transcendant joy and discovery that makes us even more vividly ourselves than ever. When we abandon or truncate our selves in supposed service of the Divine, we are really servicing the needs of the institution. These needs may actually be counter to the wishes of the immanent God who is with us always. The lie we are told is that the needs of God are aligned with those of the organization, which does "God's work." Such a God is no one I can relate to, and I think this is at the heart of David's disconnect with organized religion. Why go through all of that to connect with a "God" that you don't even relate to?
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