Religion and Institution

I’ve been thinking about my relationship with religion and faith a lot lately, and tonight, as I stare out at the sunset and feel the energies of the new moon in Aries, I feel a strong sensation of spirituality reaching out to grab my hand.

Rather than pull away as I usually do, I’m allowing this moment to take over me and settle. I feel myself reflecting on God and my childhood days growing up in the church. I am thinking about all the times that people have told me they’ll pray for me, as a long-time friend said to me earlier this afternoon. It’s weird to think about this stuff because it feels so foreign to me today.

I don’t identify as a Christian anymore. I don’t identify as a person of faith. I don’t identify as religious. What I do identify with is spirituality.

I believe that there is a higher power, for sure, I just don’t believe that there is an almighty deity up in the clouds, or whatever. I believe that we’re all interconnected. That the earth and sky and universe are all strung together. I believe that all living beings are connected. I believe that humans and nature and water and stars are all part of the same web of spirits.

It’s why nights like tonight, I get emotional and feel things so strongly. Its why when there is a full moon everyone goes “crazy”. It’s why I feel at peace when I am near water, as it’s moving, breathing, energy pours over me. It’s why the starry night skies are inexplicably beautiful and I can never seem to get enough of them.

The stars, skies, and water bring me great joy. I believe in astrology and I practice Tarot regularly because I definitely buy into the hippie dippie shit that most religious people think is fake. Hate to break it to them, they’re practicing the same thing I am, it’s just that their faith is in one person or spirit instead of so many interconnected energies.

Jesus and church don’t work for me anymore. I don’t buy into the bullshit or dogma of the “Institution”. Honestly, this is why I’m having such a hard time working in higher education. I prefer less rigid structures. I prefer flexibility and fluidity. I prefer a little room to breathe and move and change as I find necessary. Religion, by nature, isn’t built that way. It’s not a one size fits all situation, it’s more of a my way or the highway kind of practice.

There was a time in my life when I bought all the way in to the church thing. I drank the Kool-Aid, if you will. I grew up in a Christian household and went to a Baptist church. I didn’t know anything different. I thought it was normal to go to church and to be involved in youth activities at the church multiple times a week. It wasn’t until college that I really explored faith and spirituality in a different way, or even knew that there was other things out there for me to explore.

I’ve struggled with Christianity and religion for a few years now. Ok, it’s been longer than that, but I wouldn’t have admitted it until now. But what I am realizing is that right now, in this space and time of my life, it’s not for me.

Institutions aren’t for me. Church, institutions of higher learning, marriage, etc. There are so many institutions that just don’t fit into the picture of my life right now. I don’t know if they ever will.

As I deconstruct and unlearn all that I know about the world and this life I’ve lived for so long, my hope is that I find peace with myself. With the world. I’ve lost a lot this year, but I think I’m going to gain a lot more from the world by stepping away from institutions.

I hope to create my own sense of faith and spirituality and find my way to a career doing something I love, that makes a difference, and that makes this place better. After all, isn’t that what institutions are supposed to do? I don’t know that I believe that anymore.

Communicator. Educator. Empath. Survivor. Writer.