I simply had to write a Christmas blog! Its been ages since my last one and, well, its just what you do.
So, where to begin. What a year!!
This mad journey never stops, and even in the crappy times there is a new hope and joy that is better than anything I could have imagined.
I've spent the last 3 years or so, sifting and sorting what I believed - taking many cautious steps back to shake free the paradigms (yes, my favourite word) of fundamentalist, traditional christianity. The last year in particular has seen a huge shift as I have refused to be locked in by dogma and traditional thought.
I have read and studied relentlessly, found the loose ends of traditional beliefs and pulled the threads to see exactly how much is revealed if we dare to simply keep unraveling.
At times its been scary, simply thinking I'm losing anything resembling faith and chucking the baby out with every drop of bathwater. But every time, the essence of faith and spirituality takes on a deeper and stronger meaning, a more powerful life, and a new view into the vistas of love, joy and peace.
The fruit of my journey is the only criteria that defines and directs my path. Is it love?! Does it bring peace and joy?! Does it bring love to everyone else around me?! Then I'm on the right track.
I've had to redefine even the very basics of things like:
Who is God?
Who is Jesus?
Do doctrines about things like the Trinity even matter?
Do the doctrines around Jesus divine purpose really matter?
Is christianity simply another religion based on ancient cultural myths?
These aren't light questions, and after spending over 40 years in the church, studying, reading, wrestling - looking at endless doctrines, looking at my heart and struggling to find integrity in every aspect of my life, I've dropped a LOT of stuff.
Spirituality is now far simpler and far more profound. Christianity is now just another religion, with many profound and deep truths, and many profoundly incongruous and stupid beliefs as well.
Who is Jesus? A good question. One I'm unwilling to comment on any more.
In unraveling christianity, I'm seeing how horribly self obsessed it can be - how disgustingly exclusive, condemning, judgmental and self righteous!
But in all the uncertainty there is now a freedom - to be wrong, to not know, to search and question, and not be afraid of the answers, even if they are simply more questions.
At the risk of sounding a bit arrogant, I've found integrity in who I am and my journey. I no longer care (mostly) about other people's opinions or beliefs and simply trust God, knowing that there is nothing I can do that would separate me from him/her, my journey and future is guaranteed, no longer defined by fear and dogma.
Am I still a christian? I don't know! And who cares? Its only a label we use to make sure people are "in or out".
I am me - I am!
My only choice is to "live loved"
Oh yeah, so, Christmas...
Its a hodge podge of religious festivals, mainly about Jesus, but who cares really, let's just celebrate life, family, unity, and LOVE. Simply enjoy the festivity and fun and don't get stressed!