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An Intense Spiritual
has been significant turmoil at my church for several years, and it finally
reached the point where I felt compelled to resign my membership. That decision
was clear to me, but the subsequent steps weren't so clear. Initially I
assumed that I would simply find another church that met my needs and affiliate
with them. Then came the realization that it was time to step back and re-examine
just what my needs actually were. Among the questions to be answered was
whether I could continue to participate in a religious philosophy that routinely
demonstrated open hostility towards transgendered people. This thought process
greatly increased the difficulty in reaching a decision.
Spirituality has always played a central role in my life. In my youth,
the Catholic Church presented its dogma as established fact not subject
to any questioning. However, I could not dismiss the questions that I
had and ultimately those unresolved issues caused me to leave Catholicism.
For an extended period I considered myself an agnostic with no religious
affiliation. Eventually I reconfirmed my belief in a Supreme Being. I
also reconfirmed my belief in the spiritual principle of applying the
Golden Rule to my interactions with everyone. With those two key beliefs
soundly in place, I was ready to return to Christianity. Upon returning,
I discovered that many of the issues raised in my youth were also present
in mainstream Protestantism. Over time it became obvious to me that these
issues were so fundamental that they simply could not be openly questioned
within the context of the institutional church.
I feel that the worst aspect of the church is hypocrisy, especially
its failure to follow the Gospel message of demonstrating love for all
of God's children. Some very wise people have observed that the traits
we dislike in others are generally ones found in ourselves. And there
I was, a self-proclaimed follower of Jesus, who also held some beliefs
that were incompatible with Christian dogma. Pretending to be a church
member in good standing made me a hypocrite too. I finally realized that
in order to be true to myself, I couldn't just resign from my local church
but would have to leave the entire Christian church. So, after much soul-searching,
that is the step I have taken.
What made such a radical step necessary for me? While I simply cannot
conceive of this universe without a Supreme Being, I also cannot accept
that Christianity, or any other religious system, owns the exclusive path
to that Supreme Being. That position alone represents a vast chasm between
what I believe and what is expected from members of the Christian church.
I don't pretend to know the answer to that and many other spiritual questions.
Some of the questions may in fact be unanswerable, but I must be free
to continue an open search for answers.
Since I resigned my church membership, I deeply miss many of the wonderful
people with whom I attended services. I admire and respect their great
faith and conviction but cannot continue to pretend to share their views
any longer. I don't know where this path will lead so, for now, all that
I can do is to attempt to live in harmony with my beliefs and principles.
Leaving the church is a difficult and lonely journey, but one that I must
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