God died recently. It was a long, slow, painful death. There were times I was forced to turn away because I could no longer bear the agony of witnessing the death of the One who I had held so dearly for so long.
God was who I turned to for answers. God was my rescue, my salvation, my way into heaven and ticket out of hell. God was Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and always knew better than I. God saved me, literally and figuratively.
I grew up in a spiritual household. My childhood is filled with memories of my grandmother sweeping her floors, humming old hymns like “One day at a time, sweet Jesus.” She would fall asleep in her glider rocker with her Bible in her hand, and as she grew older, she would fall asleep on her bed. I would often go into her room, take her glasses off her face, and cover her with a blanket, always marveling at this woman who had so little materially but boundless faith.
I started attending church when I was a teen and my aunt and uncle became born again. I would beg and plead with my mom to take me, and occasionally she did. I dabbled with Christianity until I was about 22, when I became serious and committed my life to Jesus. And commit, I did. I changed my lifestyle, my friends, my job and myself. I became one of the “Bible totin’, scripture quotin'” types I’d always made fun of. I gave myself to God when I came to the end of myself and I believed wholeheartedly that God saved me. I still believe that my faith, however immature it was, gave me the tools and strength to leave behind a lifestyle that no longer served me.
As I grew older and more mature, I began to question this faith. I began to question whether one religion really had the monopoly on God. You see, once I opened my mind, I was easily able to find value in all other religions. I see the value of the enlightened path of the Buddhist. I believe the Wiccans are on to something with the high value they place on the masculine and feminine. I believe that W. Paul Young, author of “The Shack” nailed it when he wrote:
Again Jesus stopped. “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were not part of any Sunday morning religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some were bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.”
Does that mean,” asked Mack, “that all roads will lead to you?”
Not at all,” smiled Jesus as he reached for the door handle to the shop. “Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.”
I don’t claim to be a religious expert but I do know that I am very confident that an Infinite God cannot be understood with a finite mind. I don’t think that any person, institution, or organization can claim they have the answer to understanding God. I prefer a much more humble approach to religion and spirituality, which usually begins with “I don’t know.”
God died for me when I surrendered my belief in an absolute system that came in the form of a church. I don’t know that there is any one religion or spirituality that is right…I don’t know where this path might lead. I could end up right back where I started but right now, I am a spiritual seeker beginning the journey of a lifetime. To me, God dying simply means that I am no longer fully reliant on a religious system to tell me how I ought to behave, how to believe or what is truth. I am assuming full responsibility for my life, my choices and the meaning I create. The death of God does not mean that I no longer believe…just that I am choosing WHAT I believe and on what terms, based on what is true to me.
That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight. Losing my religion. ~R.E.M.
— Lisa Vallejos