any other Christians have problems with being embarrassed about/kind of ashamed of being a Christian? like i know i’m not supposed to be but sometimes when i’m surrounded by judgy atheists who act like having faith is stupid or juvenile i just feel embarrassed. and like i didn’t pray this week bc i was staying w someone and in order to i would have to ask for time alone to and they kind of view faith as crazy and it made me feel bad :/
Oof, well @sugary-bowl , I cannot stress enough that you have come to the right place. Welcome to the Spiritually Curious Club! Grab a drink, have a seat! You may be here for a while, and that’s completely fine.
If you are not currently feeling Grace in your usual sacred spaces, I would begin by asking, “What has changed?” What specific elements do you find spiritually fulfilling, and what do you feel is missing now? Trust yourself - it’s your spirituality, and there are no wrong answers at this point of the journey. Honestly, I think “cherry picking” spiritual practices is vastly underrated, and we spend a lot of time denying that every single religious sect is a product of it.
As an exvangelical myself, I totally get the “Catholic brain” thing. But I find that often enough, by stopping to check out the side-paths and by-roads that appeal to us in our spiritual journeys, we discover more about what we find spiritually fulfilling in our current practices. You mention mysticism/magic specifically. These practices both involve lots of meditation and high ritual - both huge elements in Catholicism! Not to mention, Catholicism has a profound mystical tradition. As distant as a spiritual path might seem from your own, chances are, there is a common thread that will shed light on what brings you closer to that sacred presence in your life. Feeling trepidation is normal, especially if you hail from an “us versus them” religion like the Abrahamic faiths. But the history of the Abrahamic faiths is peppered with people finding God in unexpected places.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to explore, read up, and check out local spiritual communities (in a safe, social-distancing way). Maybe your research will lead you to a different path, or maybe it will show what you appreciate about your current path. Either way, keep me posted! You’re in an exciting spiritual moment right now, and I’d love to hear more about it.
Hey anon, thank you so much for reaching out! I’m so sorry to hear about the painful experiences from your college years. That’s such a confusing point in life to be in an unhealthy church environment–as if there’s ever a good time for that.
It’s important to look at both of these concerns separately and with care–the need for healing from the painful experiences from the past and the desire to move forward and enjoy church community again. It’s possible to slowly join a church community and seek healing on the way, but in your case it sounds like there may need to be some healing done before you step into those waters again. Healing could take the form of a supportive group of friends, psychotherapy, spiritual direction, or whatever your situation would require (I always wish I could ask for more details on these asks!).
Once you feel that a substantial shift has taken place–that your body, mind, and soul trust the situation (and it’s ok if it takes longer than expected)–I would encourage you to be patient with the church search and don’t be afraid to start small. You don’t have to sign up for 15 small groups and service projects right off the bat or even talk to anyone until you feel ready. Especially in these circumstances when so many churches are offering virtual services/meetings, now is a great time to just check out a few Zoom events a church may offer. You have complete permission to dial in, hit “Mute”, turn off the webcam and just observe for as long as you need. Make a list of what you liked about each church community and what was less comfortable.
Trust your gut–literally. Listen to your body’s as well as your intellect’s wisdom and responses as you visit each group. It may take some time, but the time will be worth finding a community that makes you feel welcome and safe, both spiritually and emotionally. I hope this helps! I would love to hear about the search as it continues!
bc of how last night was & how i’ve not been on my usual pray routine i spent extra time tonight just to pray with my parents, catch up on church online, pray the rosary, and do my personal prayers to God before bed. it was a spiritual reset of sorts to get me back on track and hopefully to help me have a better week. highly recommend
if you’ve not cried before, during, or after reading from the book of Psalms are you even a Christian?
me: *goes without praying like i normally do for 2 and a half weeks (bc of outside circumstances and tbh shame around certain ppl)*
everything: *falls apart*
fun story i don’t think i’ve told on this blog: when i was 12 and my parents found out that i was both an atheist and questioning my sexuality they sent me to a Christian therapist to presumably pray the gay away and guess what?? the therapist told me about her friend who was a Christian lesbian and she’s the reason why i accepted myself and considered coming back to Christianity in the first place :)
riddle me this: why can i believe that Jesus literally came back from the dead and walked on water but as soon as i think about an afterlife existing my anxiety is like “nope. too unrealistic.”
like bro what??? my doubts are so stupid but i can’t seem to overcome this one atm
Where You Gaze
“…the light must first sink in before it can ray out. They must first be filled with the glory, before the glory can stream forth. They are not so much like a reflecting surface as like a bar of iron, which needs to be heated right down to its obstinate black core, before its outer skin glows with the whiteness of a heat that is too hot to sparkle. The sunshine must fall on us, not as it does on some lonely hill-side, lighting up the grey stones with a passing gleam that changes nothing, and fades away, leaving the solitude to its sadness; but as it does on some cloud cradled near its setting, which it drenches and saturates with fire till its cold heart burns, and all its wreaths of vapour are brightness palpable, glorified by the light which lives amidst its mists. So must we have the glory sink into us before it can be reflected from us. In deep inward beholding we must have Christ in our hearts, that He may shine forth from our lives.
And this contemplation will be gradual transformation. There is the great principle of Christian morals. ‘We all beholding … are changed.’ The power to which is committed the perfecting of our characters lies in looking upon Jesus. It is not the mere beholding, but the gaze of love and trust that moulds us by silent sympathy into the likeness of His wondrous beauty, who is fairer than the children of men. It was a deep, true thought which the old painters had, when they drew John as likest to his Lord. Love makes us like. We learn that even in our earthly relationships, where habitual familiarity with parents and dear ones stamps some tone of voice or look, or little peculiarity of gesture, on a whole house. And when the infinite reverence and aspiration which the Christian soul cherishes to its Lord are superadded, the transforming power of loving contemplation of Him becomes mighty beyond all analogies in human friendship, though one in principle with these. What a marvellous thing that a block of rude sandstone, laid down before a perfect marble, should become a copy of its serene loveliness just by lying there! Lay your hearts down before Christ. Contemplate Him. Love Him. Think about Him. Let that pure face shine upon heart and spirit, and as the sun photographs itself on the sensitive plate exposed to its light, and you get a likeness of the sun by simply laying the thing in the sun, so He will ‘be formed in, you.’ Iron near a magnet becomes magnetic. Spirits that dwell with Christ become Christ-like.”
“Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 MSG
Love makes us like. Where is your gaze?
“… we believe Him; whatever happens, we will hang in to the fact that He is true.”
//From Oswald Chambers’ The Great Life
Christian! rest not until thou knowest the full, the unbroken shining of God in thy heart. To this end, yield to every stirring of it that shows thee some unconquered and perhaps unconquerable evil. Just bring it to the light; let the light shine upon it, and shine it out. Wait upon the Lord more than watchers for the morning, for “the path of the just is as the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day.” Count upon it that God wants to fill thee with the light of His glory: wait on Him more than watchers for the morning. “Wait, I say, on the Lord.” — Andrew Murray.
“…there are occasions when man must stand aloof, and all must be left to the almighty Disposer of all things.” - Pulpit Commentary on Psalm 46:10
a little something I wrote about my faith journey.
TW for church hurt and internalised homophobia
‘Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. ’ Psalm 100, Verse 3
You’ve grown up sheltered - or at least you think you have.
Gays: that was always distant. Not relevant. Not until it seeped into your bones, into the inner fibres of your being.
As soon as you realised it had made itself a home there, you tried to bulldoze it. To no avail. For now, a fence will have to do.
The questions come at night, casting shadows in spite of the darkness. So you close your eyes and forego sleep. The answers never come.
So you build a fence around the piece of your soul. All in white. Your picket, your pretence. But the truth doesn’t like to be caged. Not for long, at least.
It tears at your seams, bursting out in moments of solitude.
Think, it says. Think. Close yourself off. It’s old-fashioned anyway.
Particles of dust settle on well-worn pages, containing wisdom you refuse to see. There’s a shadow there.
You’re torn. A thread of you wants to be held, the other to be ripped away, from it all.
“Help!” Mute screams fill the air above your lips. Mailbox. An ironic thought makes its way through to the front.
“You’ve reached God. Unfortunately, I’m not able to take this prayer right now. Try calling at a later time or contact my son.”
Surely, He has to understand, I think. He knows pain, knows suffering, knows loneliness.
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
It’s not easy to climb your way to the surface when you’re drowning, yet the thirst is there. The thirst for something else. For the pain to cease.
Something, someone in me knows I’m not alone. I lap up scripture as fast as I can. Ruth and Naomi dry my tears. David places a cape over my shoulders.
Emmanuel. A light spreads through my cells.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
I cling onto those lifelines and slowly but surely, air - not pain - fills my lungs.
I breathe. I rejoice.