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Oh come oh come Emanuel... [Dec. 17th, 2006|11:34 am]
[emotional state |contemplativecontemplative]
[song on the wind |The First Noel]

I find myself listening to the church service on WBUR this morning. It's Advent. One of the things I miss most about being Christian, actively passionately Christian, is the Seasons of Advent, Christmass, and Epiphony. They are a beautiful time of year. And the best part of Christianity shines through. Lots of beutiful soulful pagentry. It's... the whole thing is making me a little nastalgic. For people who have become less glorious or more biggoted, and for a congregation that turned concervative and judgemental. For a time when I belived in anything that much. I've grown cynical, bitter, and jaded at the age of 24.

I've been at odds with my Christianity since I stopped identifying as such. I'm pagan, not because I stopped believing in Christ, or even his divinity. I believe in the Holy Trinity. I believe in the teachings of the son of the One God. I believe in the power of the holy spirit to lift your fears and alieviate your pains and guide you on a path of light. I believe in a father god, who has a chosen people, who is vengful and trying and requirese obediance. But I do not believe he is the only god, and there are times when I worship other gods before Him. I am not good at obediance, and I believe it is His fault that Lucifer was cast out of heaven never to return. I do not believe in absolute good or absolute evil. But I do believe in heaven and hell.

I believe in other things too, decidedly not Christian. But that's not what this post is about. I wear a pentical proudly, as a sign of my beliefs. Sometimes I wear a sun instead, but it is the same to me as a pentical. The sun is something to be revered, as it is the source of all life. But I do not wear a cross anymore. Assumptions, false assumptions, are made upon doing so. But assumptions are also made when I do not. I wish I could wear a cross again, to support that part of my faith, and even more, my heratidge. I was raised in the Church, which is something most people don't know about me. My great great uncle (deceased) has people, including my great uncle, an Antiochian Orthodox Preist, trying to get him made a Saint. He was the head of the Church I grew up in, and was excommunicated for challanging it. I feel like that's something I should be proud of.

[User Picture]From: ricevermicelli
2006-12-17 05:31 pm (UTC)
I have similar feelings around this time of year, especially about the hymn you quote in the sig line. I don't believe that humanity needs to be saved. I don't believe we are forever tainted by the sins of our ancestors. I don't believe in the coming judgement, and I have no time for a vengeful or irrational G-d, but I do believe in the yearning for the presence of divinity, especially at this, the darkest part of the year. The minor key exhortation to rejoice moves me nearly to tears.
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[User Picture]From: randysmith
2006-12-17 05:41 pm (UTC)
My sympathies. I wasn't raised in it, and I agree, the music and spirit is often beautiful. When I can disassociate that in my mind from the sense of people trying to tell me what I should believe on the pain of eternal torment, I enjoy it quite a bit.

(I also want to call out: I'm being good. This post makes me very curious and wanting to go back to quizzing you on your spiritual beliefs, but I'll respect your wishes :-}).

A deep Season of Advent and a Merry Christmas to you?
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[User Picture]From: nchanter
2006-12-18 01:34 am (UTC)
(I also want to call out: I'm being good. This post makes me very curious and wanting to go back to quizzing you on your spiritual beliefs, but I'll respect your wishes :-}).

Go ahead and ask :) Worst that happens is I don't answer. It's very likely that if I do, it will be in a locked post.

-K (who may resurect her spirituality filter. But i guess easter would be a more appropriate time for that...;)
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[User Picture]From: randysmith
2006-12-18 01:58 am (UTC)
Go ahead and ask :) Worst that happens is I don't answer.

Thus crushing my spirits :-}. (Ok, I know, bad pun).

So ... I'm trying to get my head around what you said in this post. Basic outline is fairly clear; there's spiritual truth to you in some Christian teachings, including what some would see as the more negative aspects of standard Christianity (the God who is vengeful and trying and requires obedience, and to whom you assign blame for Lucifer's fall). And there's also spiritual truth for you in traditions other than those, other gods, other spirits.

So the first obvious question is: What other gods/spiritual path have meaning for you? This is sorta where I was going with my original question about what type of pagan you were. This post has answered part of it, but I'm still curious about the warp and weft of your spiritual beliefs. What has meaning to you? What do you orient to?

But in some sense that's old hat; I've already asked you that (in my own head, at least :-}). The other question that comes up for me in reading your post is what you see as the relationship between the Christian mythos/framework and other frameworks? The meta-framework I'm most familiar with is Gaiman's, in which (at least, this would be my interpretation of _Sandman_) the Judaeo-Christian God is the primary god of the universe, and the other Gods are lesser, created, in some sense, out of mankind's dreams. Is that basically your image, or are they more on an equal footing?

And there are follow-on questions from that. You say you believe in heaven and hell; do you believe you are still under the authority of that God that requires obedience? Or is part of your self-identification as a pagan choosing to remove yourself from his authority? One possible interpretation of your post is that you believe that the choices you've made are going to send you to hell, but you're still making them because you believe they're the moral choices. That's a disturbing image to me, mostly because it strikes me as a heck of a burden to live your life under (though I could sorta understand it; in the _Sandman_ universe, Lucifer got shafted possibly as no other being in the history of the world has been shafted. Although I could argue even that. Hmmm).

Hopefully that gives you a sense as to the context for my curiousity. Sorry you asked me to ask? (:-}; I know you're not).

(I have a memory that you have read and enjoyed _Sandman_; if that's not true, just ignore the references I've made or ask me for clarification and/or the loan of the series :-}).

-K (who may resurect her spirituality filter. But i guess easter would be a more appropriate time for that...;)

Pity; if you had never had a spirituality filter, now would be a fine time to create one :-}.
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[User Picture]From: naqerj
2006-12-17 09:00 pm (UTC)
Who was your great-great uncle, and who's your great uncle? I'm an Antiochian Orthodox priest myself, so I'm curious.
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[User Picture]From: nchanter
2006-12-18 01:33 am (UTC)
Wow. I'm happy to tell you, but probably shouldn't do so in such a public place. E-mail me... nchanter@livejournal.com

Also, how did you find this post? Seems a bit random to me, but, you know, search engines...

Also, in the e-mail, if you can tell me what congregation you work with, that would be swell. I have lots of family that are still very involved.

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[User Picture]From: moxie77
2006-12-18 06:27 pm (UTC)
i made the mistake of wearing a cross recently when i went to visit my (jewish) grandmother. i've never been terribly religious, but do consider myself a spiritual person... yeah, she called my parents right after i left to yell at them for letting me run off and join "the church" or something to that extent.
i try to stick to non-denominational jewelry now, makes everything simpler.
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