Sunday, March 22, 2009

A memory

In church today the sermon was on the "Divine Feminine". This stirred up a memory of mine which I'd like to share:

When I was 15 or so I was very involved in my then Methodist church. I attended Bible study every week, was on the Youth Council and participated in all the youth group events. That summer I went to Church Camp, and that, funny enough is where the event occurred which precipitated my move away from Christian belief.

We were participating in a guided meditation in which we were supposed to imagine ourselves in a beautiful place. Mine was a gorgeous old-growth forest (think the mountains of western Oregon or Washington) beside a stream. I can still see the image today, and it was my idea of heaven on Earth. In this meditation we were supposed to imagine a conversation with Jesus. But he never showed up for me, instead this beautiful woman appeared. She was God. I don't remember what we talked about, but I did come away from the meditation with an understanding that the Divine was far more than my narrow Christian upbringing had led me to believe. It also became clear to me that while Jesus' teachings were to be respected, he was not the conduit to (nor the Son of) God.

That night we had a bonfire and I remember standing under these beautiful pine trees in the mountains with a gorgeous, starry sky above me and feeling so very connected to the universe and this new, unfettered version God that I had just met. It was an amazing moment.

Later, back home I continued to take part in my church activities but I refused to worship or pray to Jesus. I wanted a direct connection to the Divine. I also began to explore information about the Divine Feminine, or Goddess. These heresies were a source of consternation to many of the older members of the congregation and I was removed from the Youth Council. Then I stopped attending church altogether. I began a period of intense longing for an alternative religion. (This is also the time I first attended a UU church, but I moved shortly after to Missouri where there was no congregation) I explored Wicca for a few years, but without the support of a religious community I eventually moved away from having any spiritual practice at all.

Looking back now, I know that this period of exploration, and most importantly this understanding that I gained during that meditation has shaped much of what I believe about God, the Divine and spirituality. Today in the sermon, our Reverend challenged us to think about what shapes our image of the Divine. For me, the Divine is sexless, genderless, and neutral. It is also all encompassing, ever present and at its core is a boundless love.

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