Monotheology…

My Road…

For the things that have mattered to me most; hobbies, interests, business practices, and even in matters of personal fulfillment, I have always preferred the path of being self-taught. That is, I’m at my best when I work within my own structure and on my own schedule.

Translation: I have an authority problem…

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For nearly 2 decades I’ve been attempting to create and adhere to a personal theology. My own beliefs, practiced within my own structure, and within my own timeframe and schedule. During the last couple of years, I feel I have made significant progress in this area.

The beliefs I value, the rituals I practice, and the sermons I create and study on my own behalf, have become an integral part of my daily life. And I can say with great certainty that they have made me a better person.

Though this Religion Of One is something I am quite proud of, some part of me has always questioned whether it’s the correct path. In a world full of ornate houses of worship — great and small, paint by numbers acts of ritual and obedience, and volumes of scripture which everyone has read but nobody has written, to state that I have carved out my own theology can seem lofty, ignorant, and selfish – – even to myself.

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Though I have mostly embraced my personal theology, I have also been skeptical of it.

This past Sunday I attended a structured house of worship for the first time in many years. It was with a small congregation in the small town where I live. Everything about it was cordial, charming, and peaceful. That is, I found the experience to be everything that is right with religion. It was pleasant.

As I took it all in though, that skepticism I’ve had of my own theology slowly and steadily began to flake off and fall from my skin. Though I greatly appreciated all that was taking place around me; the observance, the reverence, and the community, I felt uncomfortable and out of place. I was longing to be back out in the woods, conversing with my maker and contemplating my place in this vast and complex world.

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Leaving that service last Sunday, and stepping back into my own rituals, my own forms of charity and community, and on my own schedule of observance, I felt for the very first time that my Religion Of One is not a path of blasphemy or guilt, but the most available and the most direct road to where I’m going. So I will just keep stepping – – left, right, left, right, left, right, down the center of my own little path, with the absolute belief that this is just right for me…. Jhciacb

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If you have not already, please scroll up and  hit the subscribe button in the upper right-hand corner. Please check back in a couple weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP  button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Shiny Ribs. Enjoy….

This, I Believe…

Christ-miss…

December 25th, 2013, Christmas day.  I was blessed to have been invited to spend time with my daughter, and her mother on Christmas Eve; to stay the night and to wake up with them on Christmas morning.  We shared good food, laughter, and created memories.  To me, that is what Christmas is about – regardless of faith.  I am now back home, in a house which now seems far too big.  I am alone with my dog, and my thoughts.

Like many secular Americans I still appreciate, and take time out for Christmas.  I embrace it as a holiday of both internal and, external peace.  I get to step outside the flow of the world, if only for a day.  A sort of, world peace day.  Christmas day, save the occasional school shooting day or profound natural disaster day, is the only day of the year I feel connected with my fellow man in a way which helps me feel good about my species.  The inevitability though, of religious argument this time of year, if not religious confrontation, is a given.

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North of Coos Bay, August 2010. It felt like a doorway into another dimension…

Baby overboard…

Several days ago I explained to a friend that I was excited to be celebrating Christmas with my daughter, and her mother.  My friend was quick to suggest that we would be spending “just another day” together.  Meaning that, unless we had planned to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a dogmatic way, we would not actually be celebrating Christmas. I strongly disagreed, though I did understand the foundation for his argument, probably far better than he did.

I suggested that Christmas means different things to different people, and that to me Christmas represents a time of family, of giving, and of peace – regardless of faith.  My friend accepted my reply as an insult to the birth of Jesus, and did not stop short of attempting to sell me on the ideal of a conversion in an, it’s never too late kind of way.  I was left with the feeling that an unnecessary judgment had been directed at me, and I was labeled a non-believer.

 Step back nonbeliever…

I am a believer though, and I have pity for anyone so ignorant as to doubt what I believe.  My beliefs exist to my core.  They are malleable to be certain, and as the winds and rains of a changing society reshape and redirect my life’s path, my beliefs may change as a result, but they remain imbedded, and are not for sale.  When somebody suggests to me that my beliefs require changing simply because they are not consistent with the beliefs of another, what they are telling me, in unmistakable words, is that they believe my very existence is invalid.

The only painting that has ever mattered to me...

The only painting that has ever mattered to me…

What I do believe…

I believe in absolute universal oneness – period.  That is, underlying everything that has ever happened, every person who has ever lived, all the things and people yet to happen, and in times, spaces, and dimensions which may parallel, crisscross, or piggy back on the very dimension from which I write this, that we are all interconnected.  I am you, you are me, and some day we may be that tree.  That ideal is my god, if not my God.  I believe I have a responsibility to live as such, which is why I’m usually the first to apologize, even if I’m first to pick the fight, because I believe that in fighting with you, I am fighting an aspect t of me.

What may make this idea of oneness so challenging for others to accept, I believe, is that clearly in the here and now we are separated by tribes, borders, values, circumstances, and intentions.  In a word, individuality.  We fear losing our individuality.  It is negotiating these divisions though, in my opinion, that our individuality is cultivated – or not.  These divisions are where we are tested.  Of course all the answers to the test are located in the back of the book, and we don’t get to see what’s in the back of the book in this lifetime.  We choose our answers based on faith.  I’ll choose my answers based on my faith, and not somebody else’s.

World peace day…

I believe that a successful future for mankind is absolutely dependent on religious acceptance and plurality.  That if we are to ever get humanity right, we must to first get good with human acceptance.  That is my belief.  I would gladly accept a painful eternal death over separating myself from that belief in favor of another’s dogmatic stance.

How I feel when somebody attempts to cast their beliefs on me...

How I feel when somebody attempts to cast their beliefs on me…

There is no one day though, not yet, for people of all beliefs to put down those beliefs, put down weapons, put down agendas, and open up the boundaries and borders that we may experience this universal oneness – if only for a day.  Ah, but that is my belief, and may not be yours.  Until that day of world peace finally exists, I’ll just celebrate it on Christmas…  Be well.  rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head. Hint: It probably isn’t going to have anything to do with fitness  or exercise.  Oh, and there’s this from Tasmanian, Tane Emia-Moore. Enjoy…