I have received some moving stories about why people left the church. Sid Hall sent me a facebook message yesterday about his daughter’s response to the blog. As a minister, he should be very proud of such a strong daughter. I hope she is able to find a community where she can be this authentic:

Hey Jim. Here’s what my 28 yr old daughter Rachel wrote after reading your blog The Church is Standing On the Wrong Side of the Cross:

What a powerful message. I’ve never lost faith in my personal beliefs, only in the communities I’ve tried to relate them to. Over the years, I’ve translated my beliefs into many different representations, all of which appear so very different from one another.

One day, I looked back and saw that my core beliefs really hadn’t changed at all. I had changed as a person. So had my surroundings and my community, and most importantly, my ability to view people for who they were and not for what symbol they wore.

It’s not difficult for me to find spirituality in every faith, every path, in every day and every person. It is difficult for me to find a community in which to worship. One that would not ostracize or wish to change me. A community that would not ask me to pray in the way that they did and to view God as the entity that they saw.

Ultimately, I worship alone, where I am safe to do so. I’ve found a handful of communities in which I’ve felt completely welcomed. Coincidentally, 2 were Christian and 1 was Buddhist. The key word there is coincidentally.

What am I? What faith do I follow? I’m sure many people I’ve met will have varying answers. Does that make me dishonest or undecided? Absolutely not, as I’ve said, I know exactly what I believe and I tell everyone that I meet…

I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, I believe in the enlightened path of the Buddha, I believe in God, The Goddess, Science and Nature. I believe that we rot and become apart of the Earth after death. I believe in loving thy neighbor. I believe that these are all words for the same thing, and I believe in all religious or non religious paths that are guided by love. To me, the Kingdom of God was always meant to be here on Earth, a loving place in which all exist and are welcomed for their differences.

To me, God is everything…male, female, and neither. This feels divine to me. And yet, no matter if I’m walking with an Atheist, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, a Jew. The list goes on. As long as they love me and everyone, for who they are, we share the same faith.

I want to walk into every place of worship, or every casual coffee-shop conversation, and hear this message. Happy Easter.