Sunday, 24 January 2010

Papa Don't Preach!

I didn’t like having to delete one of the comments to my post of last week, as I don’t like censorship at all. However, as this space is my own spiritual journal where I record my own thoughts and spiritual journey I felt that someone posting the Christian gospel, asking me to walk a different path and stating that the Christian way was the only way, was not only disrespectful and rude, it was also insulting.

People who have journeyed with me over some time will know, from the posts I have made over the years, that I once was Christian. I was raised in an evangelical/charismatic Christian family and even went to Bible College. I know the Christian gospel as well as anyone. I have also chosen to reject it.

I’m making this the theme of my post this week for a reason, and the reason is this: I don’t believe anyone holds the key to absolute truth. I also don’t believe that any of us have a right to criticise the spiritual path of another. I cringe in horror and embarrassment when I look back at my life and think of the times when I have ‘preached the gospel’ at people, instead of respecting them, their journey and where they happen to be in terms of their journey. I really wish I could go back and apologise to each and every one of those people. This kind of attitude shows no respect for individual intelligence and neither does it respect people as individuals. It also shows an utter disregard for the integrity of others. It is this kind of fundamentalism that has caused our world to enter into many dubious and dangerous moments in recent and not so recent history.

Who am I to tell another what they should believe and who am I to tell another what they believe?

My spiritual journey has shown me that my body is a shell, it’s a tent, and it’s something in which I am choosing to live at this moment in time. My body is not me. My body simply houses that part of me that is before name and form, that part of me that is part of Source, part of The All. My soul is on an evolutionary journey and at this moment in time it lives within this body. No one can criticise where my soul is at today as it is where it is meant to be! By the same token, who am I to criticise you, your journey or where your soul is at today, for the very same reason. We will travel on our respective journeys until we have leaned and experienced what it is we needed until we rejoin Source and become at one with the One Divine Life. We make our own journey and we follow our own path and each is valid, each is special and precious and each deserves respect and honour.

I am not one of those pagans who hate Christians. I don’t understand people who dislike the followers of other paths so vehemently. I just don’t get that. I have reason to dislike the Christian path for so many reasons, but suffice to say that for me it was too restrictive and for me if did not value difference and diversity enough. The Christian doctrine to me was little short of a clone making factory and I found it to be something of a suffocating and claustrophobic experience and one that I have no desire to repeat. But this was my experience and for others who feel this is their way, I wish them well and I wish them blessings. I simply ask that they wish me the same.

I have no doubt that I am on the right path for me in this incarnation. Some people have wished me well on my ‘new path’ as some may perceive my recent draw to the Western Way as a new path. To me it isn’t a new path at all, rather a step along the path that I have always been walking. Where I have been informs where I am now, and there is no contradiction. I am simply placing my feel on the path that opens up before me.

And this brings me to where I am today. The comments made on my previous post were so very helpful as they have helped me to see the very real connection, or should I say, relationship, between my thoughts around ancestors and others thoughts around ‘the spirit of place.’ What I have seen is that there is indeed a relationship between the two.

I know that the wisdom, knowledge, experience, creativity and insight of my forebears reverberates within my very DNA. Their very being is present in the cells of my body. At the same time, the land they have walked has been invested with their energy through their spiritual practice as well as their everyday life and therefore the land also reverberates with this self same energy. Ancestors and land coming together.

And with this is the spirit of place. My forebears called to the elements, they called to their Gods, and as they were called, so the Gods responded. Someone once said that the more a God is called the more powerful in terms of energy and presence the God becomes. I don’t know what I think about that, but I can see that as a people call to the One Divine Life in the way that has been revealed to them, so this Deity forms part of the Group or Folk Soul.

As I walk the land I am beginning to sense all this in new and powerful ways. It is bringing a new sensitivity to the spirit of place and I can sense the energy of both those who have walked before and the Spirits of that place. The Gods have not deserted that space just because they are not called so frequently.

So the wisdom and mystery of my forebears, the land upon which I walk, and the Deities of that place lies before me. I just need to learn how to truly connect in such a way that I receive this wisdom.

I guess that is something of a lifetime journey!


Von said...

You bet!Good wishes for the journey and the learning.

Jerome M said...

I just said this in a comment I left on the post above Andy, but I think it bears repeating. Your gentleness of being is exceptional, and admirable.

For many years I've been angry at Christianity (that is, the religion and some who follow it, not the Man). I'm just beginning to reach a point where I can allow myself to "live and let live," and I hope to grow into this more and more with each day. Thank you for providing inspiration in this regard. :)

Andy said...

You really are very kind, Jerome, thank you.

I find it difficult not to get angry at Christianity at times, for deep and personal reasons that I have shared on this blog over the years. The Popes recent comments show that there is still much work to do in showing what true equality really means. Who has the right to deny any human being their basic human rights?

Jerome M said...

(Hmmm...I apologize if this is a duplicate. I'm not sure if my browser timed-out when I posted this originally or not. If so, delete at will! :) )

It's interesting - at points in the past I've felt so much anger toward organized religion that I've wondered if perhaps it's held over from previous existences. In this life I've suffered some hurts at the hands of those claiming to be Christian, (like many have), but nothing so terrible as to explain the rage I sometimes feel. As I proceed down the path of spiritual growth, this unresolved anger continues to concern me. Anger can quickly turn from a positive call for personal growth to an immense burden, and few things are as dangerous as a witch with a grudge (both for the witch and for those around her/him). I agree with what you said in another post, (if I took the intended meaning from it), that those who walk in power have a responsibility to use that power wisely, lest the Old Ones take it away.

Anyway, thank you for providing a thought-provoking topic and the space to explore it. The moon is waning, and I feel a ceremony of release coming on... :)

Brightest Blessings,


Andy said...

A witch with a grudge . . . better beware! Hehe!!

But yes, you're right, if this in an intolerable burden, then indeed release it, and now is the best time for that. However, if you have this burden to work through and eventually it can work to the greater good of yourself and others, then listen to the lesson in the midst of the anger.

You're a man of great insight, integrity and depth, Jerome. I wish you love and blessings.

mahud said...

"I cringe in horror and embarrassment when I look back at my life and think of the times when I have ‘preached the gospel’ at people, instead of respecting them"

As a former Christian I'm the same. I think of the time when I've proclaimed that 'their' lifestyle, etc, was wrong. And I hate myself for it. Really Christians need to be allowed time gaining wisdom before devaluing others. Just reading the bible is not enough. Things need to sink in. Hopefully not in a purely dogmatic manner.