That Whole God Thing

I was raised Catholic, but not in the usual way. We went to a very alternative Catholic church in Massachusetts called Community of God’s Love when I was little. We didn’t use gendered pronouns in referring to God. (“God,” for instance, was “Creator.”) Women sometimes gave the sermons or even led the mass, we had a lot of queer congregation members, and the politics of the church were extremely liberal in general.

When we moved to California we found a slightly less radical church where I served as an altar girl and started studying for my Confirmation. When we got a new, more conservative priest who decided that girls could no longer serve at the altar, it was the last straw for my mother. She already felt that the Catholic church unfairly excluded women. If this church wasn’t going to welcome her daughters as full participants, then she wanted no more to do with it.

My whole family left the church when I was 11, and my mom now says she’s an atheist.

I know that at some point in my life I was enthusiastic about the idea of religion. I did, after all, hold up that Bible every week at Mass and carry the crucifix around the church for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

Since we stopped going to church, though, and through my upbringing in secular coastal cities, I’ve grown very uncomfortable with the idea of the divine.

I don’t regret at all not being Catholic; I think it’s in many ways a screwed up political institution.* My grandfather has been giving me optimistic crucifixes for birthdays and Christmases for years, and I have no compunction in never wearing them. I do miss the presence of some spiritual community, though.

I feel very self conscious about spirituality. I’m drawn to it, particularly to the kinds that embrace women and sex, but I’m also very awkward about the idea of being too New Age or woo-woo or superstitious or whatever. Perhaps I’ve spent a lot of time around people who judged others for believing in much of anything that couldn’t be proven.

I’ve nonetheless had some very powerful experiences which make me believe in some kind of energetic connection that underlies everything and which we as beings can access. I want to write about those in more depth in future entries, but suffice it to say for now that I feel called to explore.

I’m not necessarily excited about the idea of deities, except as metaphors for particular kinds of divine energy, but there’s a lot I can learn. I’d like to consider this post a resolution to give myself permission to go there. I want to not be shy about the pull I feel towards the divine. So I’m coming out as a (novice) spiritual seeker. Here I am, and I’m going somewhere in that direction.

*The Church does a lot of good charitable things, but also a lot of messed up gender and politics things.


On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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