I was sitting in a middle pew to the right of the dusky-rose carpeted aisle. Midmorning sun shone through stained-glass windows, illuminating peaceful biblical scenes. Dust motes made visible by incandescent rays hovered silently in the musty air. I fidgeted with the hem of my second-hand blue dress, anticipation coursing through my six-year-old body and making it difficult to sit still as I waited for my very first grown-up sermon to begin.
A sweeping hush fell over the small-town Maine congregation as the minister made his way to his modest pulpit, townsfolk dressed in slightly ragged Sunday best showing reverence with their silence. I remember neither how the sermon began nor any specific details, only the concomitant feelings of disappointment and rage. What stands out clearly is the acute passion that swept through me, burning fiercely hot, like a forest fire that consumes pine trees in an unstoppable rush, leaving nothing unchanged. I do not recall the exact details of what brought on this all-encompassing paroxysm, only that it was a biblical story of non-believers being killed, an apologue lacking empathy and inferring that those who didn't worship the "one true God" were beneath good Christians and that death, suffering, even burning in hell were their inevitable fates.
Conspicuously offended by the unfairness of such teachings, distracted by the maelstrom of questions crashing through my mind--an unremitting tide of disbelief and soul-deep fury which made little sense--I disengaged from Christianity from that day forward.
Intellectually, I understand that there is so much more to Christian dogma than a judgmental bigotry and close-mindedness which all too often have led to marginalization and bloodshed. The majority of followers are simply good people of faith choosing to worship in a certain way. I know this. But somehow this knowledge hasn't stopped me from feeling irrationally offended by Christianity. I could be enjoying a new song on the radio, but as soon as I realize its words are about God, I am compelled to change the station. Religious postings on Facebook? I hide them from view. Friends talking about a bible study they attend? I grit my teeth to keep from rolling my eyes. Paradoxically, I find churches alluring--like sexy, six-inch stilettos two sizes too small; I'll never be able to walk in them, but I covet them anyway.
Recently, I have felt stirrings of my own spirituality and have embarked upon a metaphysical journey, one of self-awareness and discovery. I was led first to a book about past lives and karma, a book which resonated deeply and made so much sense to me. A few months and several coincidences later, I was in Maryland for an Akashic Record reading. I wanted to know: Why I have always been so knee-jerk offended by Christianity in this life? What I found has helped me begin to make sense of my profound hatred of many aspects of Christianity.
According to my reading, I fought in the Crusades as a Christian warrior defending Jerusalem, only to become disheartened when I found that the church I fought for was not the one I grew up in, the one with the benevolence and love of the Christ. Instead, what I loved and believed in was corrupted and used as a weapon to support man's greed and thirst for power. Through the ages, I have been a part of various Christian sects, always becoming disillusioned and ultimately leaving the church. With this
knowledge, I am now beginning to unravel the complex knot of my psyche and am on the path to acceptance and peace.