Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Swinging Bridge

Are you ever confronted with something that makes you questions your beliefs?

I recently was confronted with just that exact thing.Let me explain.

There is a local lady that I had an interest in becoming friends with as we shared some things in common.I offered my friendship and in reply she said that after reading my blog she couldn't be friends with a born again christian , republican,pro life person.It made me go back and look at my blog and really examine if I had put forth these characteristics.Would I be ashamed of these characteristics? No I wouldn't although they don't accurately describe who I am.

In going back and looking at what I have posted here I guess it does present what I believe more than sometimes I am willing to admit to myself.Those who have read here for any length of time know that I have struggled with my faith since losing my parents and a baby all within a span of 5 years. I have not attended a church on a regular basis since 2001 but find my self inextricably drawn toward the arena of faith at many twists and turns in my life.I have always sought a spiritual relationship with a higher power since I was very little. Our parents didn't attend church even though they both believed in God so it was only as an adult that I went to church. It was in my 20's and 30's that I sought to find a church that I felt at home in but just couldn't seem to find it because I was single or married with no kids(not by choice) and most denominations just don't seem to have room for these people especially in my experience(mine only) the Baptist faith of which I was brought up in so I stopped going to church as did my husband.
In looking back I guess I do believe and seek a relationship with a higher power more than I thought. I guess my belief is stronger than I thought also but in response to the person who said that to me. I am not ashamed of what I believe and am much more complicated than those labels she placed on me as a female from the south.

I also want to thank her for making me examine my life in this area so that I could explore and seek out the holy in my life and maybe find a home of faith this year that I feel I can be part of.In keeping with my journey of Simple Abundance this year I want to be true to myself and find the bridge to a better life that I seek. One that at its heart is linked to a higher power called God.I guess at its heart the Simple Abundance journey is just that isn't it?

"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." ~I Corinthians 14:33


Katney said...

Wow! What a wake up!

I had a wake up early last fall when I realized that my faith did not seem to me to be shining forward in my blog. It is definitely a major part of me, so where was it hiding? I changed that.

Your experience appears to be the opposite. Or at least, from what you say, you perceive it to be. Your faith shines through even though you had not intended it to.

Do you have a post which explains what simple abundance is?

Janna Qualman said...

Well, I think it's great you'll continue being who you are. She may not have wished to be your friend, but it's her loss. Maybe though, down the line, she'll recall something you said or something she read here on your blog, and it'll spark something. Maybe her life will be changed down the road; we never know when we're being used for God's purpose in such a way.

Kerri said...

OH Yolanda, this post has made me weepy! I have struggled with "structured" religion all of my life - you MUST do this or that kind of thinking. However, recently I have found a church that is ALL ABOUT LOVE! Which is what I believe God is about also.
This church has been such a blessing to me. I hope you find some sort of fellowship that will minister to your needs.

I am so very sorry that someone did not want to be your friend because of your beliefs or what they perceived as your beliefs.

Silver Valley Girl said...

Well, after reading your blog, I think she is probably missing out on something pretty special in her life, because it seems like you would make a very wonderful friend. But God puts interesting people in our path at times. I think your response is right...questioning and examining what this means to you. And I hope in the end your relationship with God is strengthened. Have a wonderful day.

Lydia said...

A really lovely, soul-searching post. The woman who wrote about served as a friend to you, but just not in the way you'd hoped or that we regularly think of as defining friendship. I have a daily meditation book that I've recycled each year for over a decade; one of the days is a reading based on that saying: when you are ready the messenger will appear. So, in your case, message received!
I found my connection with God the day I got sober and it's a sweetly spiritual, fully trusting, ever growing, deeply personal relationship. It's the "deeply personal" thing that will keep me from organized religion, especially evangelical, big-box churches. God approves of my decision. :)

acornmoon said...

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!
Shakespeare said it all.

white_lilly said...

Hi Yolanda, thank you for visiting my blog. It is great sharing with other born-again Christians.

My blog is a mixture of all sorts of things, sometimes I share about my veggie patch and other times a little about my faith.

In regards to your friend I think about Gods first commandment to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and I know God will bless you with many friends, ones that will love and be delighted in who you are.

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your parents and baby, this is a pain that only God can heal if you let him.


Debbie in CA : ) said...

Hello Sweet Friend,

I wiped away a tear of knowing just of what you speak. Likewise I have been rebuffed by "churched" ones who found me too open. Alas . . . I rejoice in following my specially-designated path to God through His Son. He designed me uniquely and Has never left my side as I struggle with the religious superhighways and worldy byways.

I encourage you to read and contemplate and pray and seek . . . God promises you will find HIM (and who could want more?). I will be walking alongside you as a fellow pilgrim and lover of life, seeker of joy. I designated last year to "Listen" and I heard amazing things that changed my life. This year I reach up to Him for all blessings. 'Tis a good thing to leave the world's clamor for peace with God.

I will be praying for you as I read along in your perfectly imperfect place ~~ I feel at home here. : D

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

Hi Yolanda.
I'm sorry I lost connection with you.
I know I will be your friend no matter what but I don't have really a religion. Is that ok? I believe in God but I'm not sure I'm seeking anything more than that, at least not right now but I know that I love Him and that is all I believe.

I lost your blog link for a bit and when I was in the hospital for the 2 weeks before Christmas, the holidays arrived, my birthday arrived and things happened and I am glad you reminded me of your presence!

I have linked you into my reader now and please, feel free too to email me anytime you like, I really don't mind at all!!

Willow said...

I have not necessarily seen all that in your blog over the months I've been reading what you write. I've sensed the struggle with your faith. Interestingly, someone who I am acquainted with in my community has decided to ridicule Christians and Republicans,etc, whenever I am in hearing. I never have made an issue of my beliefs with her, but 'somehow' she picked up on 'who I am'. I figure it's just The Spirit shining out. I agree with other comments that sometime your acquaintance will recall words you've written, things you've said.

I'm sorry your experiences in church have been so 'limiting' with people's attitudes. I've noticed this recently in some churches when my dd has become a divorced single mom (not by her choice) and I'm taken aback by the 'dicomfort' people in church have displayed concerning her situation. Of all people, she should be loved and cared for.

When I lived in Oregon I was most fortunate to attend a wonderful church that boldly taught the Word of God and quietly ministered to everyone's needs.

Please hang in there. God does have a plan to give you hope and a future! (Jer 29.10)

SandyCarlson said...

What an interesting encounter. I am glad this person triggered a worthwhile process for you. It's interesting how folks can do that. I can't see anybody wanting to be anything but your friend after reading your blog, but hey, that's me.

I have had my own strange encounters with churches. I am glad I was raised as an active church member and wish to provide my daughter with a similar footing, but the more I see the less I want to be there. Good ol' Marcus Borg brings it alive for me at home.

Redwoodhouse said...

Hi Yolanda just a quick comment to thank you so much for you offer of help with my blog I have now sorted it and wished I had asked all you lovely ladies from blogland before.
I am now of to read your blog
Thanks once again

Rosezilla said...

Ok, as a born again Christian Republican pro-life person, I know where you are coming from! No one really likes labels. They don't begin to describe who you really are. Losing a child is unbelievably tough. What finally helped me, though, was knowing that child is not lost at all, but safe in the arms of Jesus. Doesn't mean I don't want him in my arms, though! The church issue is tough, too, and I am comforted by the scripture "where two or more are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." Pray a lot and devour the Bible and God will lead you where you need to be.

Flower said...

Stunning have been given a gift and you are so brave to admit it, here, in writing! There are many of us who don't hide our faith in the loving God that finds us..calls us and gives us strength. You are being cared for!

Childers Corner said...

Your story really touched me. For me, my faith can't be shaken. My faith in God anyway. My faith in my fellow church members was shaken though several years ago. Thankfully, I do not believe that Church is the only place that you can worship God.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This does sound like a jolting encounter, and I'm impressed that you are taking it as a prompt to growth. I relate to some of what you write. I was raised Baptist, but it was not a good fit for me, and I've journeyed through several denominations since then because I've never lost my love of God. I hope you find a faith home that feels like a good fit for you.

Lydia said...

I'm smiling as I read all these thoughtful comments from your readers, Yolanda. See how much support and friendship is out here for you? I promised you (in my reply to your comments at my blog) that I'd always be honest with you as your friend. SO. I must say that I am a Democrat. I don't identify with any organized religion, as I mentioned in my earlier comments at this post. And I am pro-choice/pro-life. What does that mean? I believe in a woman's right to choose and I passionately support the life of our planet.
That out in the open, I too have found your blog to be a place where I feel comfortable. I firmly believe that we're all in this together and that friendship can cross boundaries, religions (or none), age, race, politics.

I like you so much, just the way you are and just the way you're growing!

Connie said...

Wow! It is always good to evaluate what we believe in...sometimes eliminate things that no longer work for us. For awhile I was timid about mentioning my Christianity on my blog however it is a part of who I am. Each individual has something to teach us and we can teach others...I enjoy your blog just as is, I am a fairly new reader and I intend to continue my visits. So many others here have said wonderful things about you and your stay true to yourself and the friends you need will come along!!!

Evelyn said...

Hi Yolanda:
I haven't attented "church" in a number of years because I got really tired of the hyprocrisy in most organized religions. I think there is a big difference between being religious and being spiritual. I have a very deep faith in God and know I wouldn't be where I am at today if it hadn't been for him watching over me and providing for me and my family. I have friends from many different faiths and some with none at all, but they are all dear to me and I have learned from each of them.

I don't believe you have to go to a church in order to worship God. I feel closer to God when I am in a natural setting.

I also have questioned my faith and beliefs a number of times, but I have learned more each time.

I am really looking forward to meeting you when we move to Oregon. We had hoped to be up there by now, but that evidently wasn't what God had in mind for us. It will all work out in the right time.

Tipper said...

We have much in common in the area of our faith-and our struggle with it. Your posts speaks to my heart-because it tells part of my story-part of my struggle in my walk with God. Made me feel good that the post ended on a positive note.

Tipper said...

We have much in common in our faith-and our struggle with it. Your post spoke to me-because it spoke of some of the things I struggle with in my walk with God. I'm glad your post ended on a positive note-and I hope both our struggles do too.

Cloudia said...

Faith is bigger than labels.
God is too big for our boxes.
Live in gratitude & compassion, touch others in love,
and you ared doing God's work.
Jesus is a liberator,
NOT the yardstick we're reduced Him too,
that we use to judge
and to punnish.
"Come unto me ALL."
And those hurt in that Name
can call me whatever they want.

gardenpath said...

Yolanda, I wouldn't worry about it. You are on the right track. Strange what people choose to get out of a blog.

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Your post and all the comments are really, really interesting to me! Labels can be intellectually useful, but they can shut us off from so much of the good in life. So many of us have become terribly uncomfortable with people who are different in political views and/or spiritual ideas, myself included. I am learning how to be more comfortable in my own skin, and thus, to be more at ease with the "other." (If you believe from a spiritual perspective that we are all connected, then there is NO "other"!) I did not attend any church for many, many years, but I have recently found a place that I call home. I know you'll find a place for yourself, too. (And thanks for asking about the snow here -- it's melting rapidly now, but no flooding, at least in my neck of the woods. Yay!)

Gayle said...

I can't believe you didn't crack up laughing! Really...I've only been reading your blog for a few weeks and know you are much more than some silly label she put on you. One of my best friends is a completely different faith than I am. We respect and honor one another and the choices we make. I love my friends for their kindness, their grace and laughter, their journey and that they honor me by sharing it, and invite me to share mine. That's real friendship.

Shelby said...

You are such a beautiful soul. Whoever the "friend" is, they are missing out by choosing not to be friends with you.

inlandempiregirl said...

I am very surprised at this woman's take on your blog. I see so much more. I feel like Katney and sometimes feel like I don't put my faith up front enough. Now perhaps I should read my own blog with "new ideas" and see what people would see!

Kathleen from Eggs In My Pocket said...

Hi, I found your comment on my blog and came over to visit you! As Christians, we are not supposed to judge others, yet sometimes, more judging goes on in church and it chases people away. It's unfortunate for the lady who does not want to be friends with is her loss. Just loved your words, blessings, Kathleen

Kerstin said...

Hi Yolanda,

Wow, so much going on in this post.

I think I have to re-read your blog because if anyone had asked me today what your blog is about those labels would NOT have come up for me. Not at all. I guess it's another example of how much individual perceptions can differ, even if we are all looking at, or reading, the same thing.

I don't talk about it too much on my blog but I have been an agnostic, perhaps even atheist, most of my life. I wish this wasn't so as I would love to feel the comfort and wisdom of faith. Yet I have never felt "it" inside of me. And since my move to the US I have been quite fascinated by how much "god" is mentioned in politics over here even though the constitution separates state and church. In Germany for instance you would never here a politician say "God bless Germany", yet all Germans pay church tax and the church as an institution is very integrated in the political and public life. And, if you don't want to pay the church tax, you have to get "unbaptized." Personally, I am not that comfortable with all the "God bless this and that" speak, but that's probably because I am not used to it. Faith and spirituality, however, are two areas that I, too, would like to explore more.

Lastly, the woman's reaction saddens me, for I would see it as an opportunity to learn and expand outside of my own narrow perceptions, if I were offered the friendship of someone with differing religious and political beliefs. It speaks to your own character that you take her rejection as an opportunity to examine those very beliefs.


karen said...

Yolanda, simply from reading your blog you seem like a wonderful, caring person, with a deeply spiritual side to you.Keep on being your lovely self x :-)

Carver said...

That's a beautiful visual you have with this thoughtful post. I have to say that I'm amazed someone said that to you at so many levels. For one I would never have characterized you the way she did from reading your blog. I just don't get that. I also don't base friendships on that type of criterion. I have friends that are so different from me in all ways. It's good that she made you think but the judging part is hard for me.

I'm pro choice, politically liberal, believe in a higher power but not in man's ability to name it yet I have friends who are politically conservative, born again and not pro choice. As long as someone can agree to disagree with me and I agree to disagree with them, it doesn't affect friendship.

____Maggie said...

Man, what a snob! You don't want to be her friend! She is too closed minded! One of my best friends is as opposite from my thoughts on things but this is why I love her. She points out the obvious that I nevah see and I am eternally gratful! You be you and forget the judge and jury types. Faith is too important to be judged by mere mortals. :D

Robin said...

Even if you did present certain characteristics in your blog (which I don't know as a new visitor), we all need to remember that someone's blog, no matter how much they put out there, is only a quick glimpse into their lives. Snap judgements made based on these quick snapshots are more often than not flawed.

I'm sorry for the damage this has done to a budding friendship, and I admire your willingness to search for what you need spiritually.

Carolynn said...

I'm all about introspection and self-examination. I suppose it could be mistaken for navel gazing for those who are far less evolved than I. *wink*

I've had my sense of self scrambled by strong opinions others have felt compelled to share with me. In the end, it's just one person's opinion and they are welcome to it.

I have never been placed in a position where I've doubted my faith in God (thank God), however, I've moved away from attending a church in the last couple of years. Perhaps a time will come when I will seek another one out, however, for me, at this time in my life, the time I spend at the stable is my connection with the Divine and I'm at peace with that.

I also find that I'm becoming a little more intrigued with the Tao philosophy. I happen to believe that the two beliefs can co-exist, so I'll likely enjoy a hybrid of some kind.

I also love your concept of Simple Abundance. I'm not sure why, however, it speaks to me and I'm going to adopt my own version of that this year, as well. Thank you.

I also LOVE the last bible verse you posted there. Peace has always been a by word for me and that, more than anything, speaks directly to me at this time in my life.

There are no coincidences and I'm very pleased that you chose to come and introduce yourself to me today.


Jan said...

I cannot imagine someone basing an opinion about friendship on those aspects at all. You're better being yourself. Blah.

Mickle in NZ said...

Yolanda - super well done to you and all who commented here.

I initially have responded to you in a private email. I know I am naturally very reserved on first contacts.

I have read so much here that I can identify with - all words and thoughts let loose by your amazing post, dear Yolanda.

You contacted me "out of the blue" at my blog effort. I am grateful and thankful many times over for this.

Rescue Cat Zebedee is purring raucously on "our" bed - a stroppy call for me to go to bed.

Sending care and huggles, Michelle and Zebby, downunder

Egghead said...

I used to have those feelings quite often years ago but going through certain life trials has made me realize that it is most important and even vital that you are true to yourself above all else. If she has decided she is not worthy of your friendship (yes I say SHE is not worthy) then you don't want a friend like her anyway. Thanks for visiting my blog and I am looking forward to spending more time catching up on yours. I love your layout...very soothing.

Suzan said...

Yolanda - my idea of what faith and God(dess?)are change every day. It's a bit hard to keep up with myself sometimes:) I pray you find what YOU are looking for

Susan Tuttle said...

being who we are is very important, otherwise we are not being authentic or true to ourselves. we all have commonalities, no matter what our belief systems -- it is those things we need to accentuate, but honor and respect the differences as well. I have a dear friend -- she and i disagree both spiritually and politically -- however she has the kindest and biggest heart of anyone i know. We can see past the constraints and cherish each other's hearts.

Tracy said...

May you continue your journey of faith, and bringing your full light to your blog--and not being afraid or ashamed to do so! This woman you have so generously and warmly offered friendship to will be missing out on your lovely spirit. But others will find it. :o) Wishing you JOY along the journey. ((HUGS))

Paula said...

The outpouring of faith and friendship right here in this post and these comments is awesome! I'm sorry this person choose to put labels on you and reject your friendship but you've taken it to such a positive light that I think this person has helped many of us through you.
I have just read a book called "The Shack" that is a novel, but it takes the concept of organized religion and puts a whole new fresh perspective on it. It's a very good read and I think you would enjoy it. By Wm. Paul Young, a Portand author.

Britt-Arnhild said...

God bless you on your way Yolanda.

His Girl Friday said...

Thank you for your soul-searching honesty; beautifully said. I can so relate to what you've shared, and have had similar 'dealings' with religious people who want to put you in a box, and then with non-believers (for lack of a better word) who want to also put you in a box.

I pity the people who are so narrow that they cannot embrace someone who is different; even if it is to agree to disagree. We are sanded smooth with coarse sandpaper. How boring a world were everyone to think alike.

It is said that God is written on our hearts. One only has to look at history to see man's desire to worship something greater than himself; our Creator.

robin bird said...

it was your photograph that first drew me in but then it was your words and heartfelt post that took me where i need to go. it is so important to me to always, always recognize that judgement is so often made from thinking that you know something about another person. and since it is my work to take the time to know things about someone i can say with confidence that guessing or assuming is a dangerous and often hurtful thing. it is a wondrous experience to have another person take the time to talk about themselves and help to create understanding. i am babbling here i realize. but i do know that these assumptions that are made about you are only true if you tell us so. and you have today told us you are a spiritual seeker, a curios soul.

Anonymous said...

That woman's comment about not being able to be friends with you because you were a christian said more about her than it did you. I have found in my walk with Christ that there are people who are very uncomfortable to be around me whether I speak any "christian" talk or not. Just knowing I love and follow Christ makes some people very defensive. I have learned it is because they are afraid of being convicted and may have to change some things about themselves should they decide to become a christian. Ever been around drinkers who just hate it when you don't join them? The same goes for non-christians, they want you to be like them. Don't give up your faith when someone unsure of their own lifestyle demeans you. You are in the right place.

Marg said...

WOW!, I'm on over load after what you just wrote...I'm speechless and ashamed that someone would not want to be your friend. I am always intriqued at your writings and I know you are on a journey. Many of us are...
Today's church has been more of a stumbling block to many people than a hospital where people can come to be healed....recover and move along again. Too many of us are limping along because the lack of real people.
Relationships are the things that can point us to realism in life.
Sharing and dialoguing with people is the essence.

Thanks for being real....
I will continue to read your blogs and pray that you will find the pathway to your spirituality and that you will feel peace.

Annie said...

Dear Yolanda,

Your post touches me deeply. It is a testiment to the strength of your heart that you have a strong faith that you can express, no matter how it might manifest itself in your daily life.

I cannot help but feel pity for the woman who opened the door to this personal reflection. What a poverty her life must be that she cannot share her friendship with anyone unless they are in agreement with her beliefs.

Just Joni said...

I simply cannot imagine telling anyone I could not be their friend. It saddens my heart that people would limit their love to their own ideals, that's not what we are called to do...but I am proud of you for remaining true to yourself. Yolanda, you always warm my heart and now I'm off to find your Simple Abundance post to see if you are keeping a journal like me!

The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach...if you are not keeping a journal, check this out.

Relyn said...

How sad that she would not choose a friend like you. I know that her rejection must have hurt you and that my next words will sound trite. I think I have to write them anyway. What kind of person is that anyway? If she continues to refuse friendship, how impoverished her life will become.

Look what you've already gained from her. How wise of you to find lessons in even the difficult things life brings your way.

I love what Susan said about seeing past the differences and knowing each other's hearts. Sounds an awful lot like what Jesus does. Doesn't it?