Faith

23 Mar

Faith by definition is:

  •  Confidence or trust in a person or thing
  •  Believe that is not based on proof
  •  Believe in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
  •  Believe in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
  •  A system of religious belief
  •  The obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.
  •  The observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.

Throughout different times in my life I have gone on this search of “faith”.  As a freshman in high school, I started going to a Disciples of Christ Church with a friend, I remained a part of that church until the age of 22 when a sermon was preached by a guest speaker who said, “the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, the opposite of homosexuality is holiness”.  I had recently admitted to myself and to a few others that I was gay, hearing this sermon immediately left me feeling empty inside.  What I thought for the past 8 years of my faith went flying out the window as quickly as I went flying out the door to that church, never to return.  While looking back and hearing others accounts of that day and how far the church has come to becoming accepting of different lifestyles, it still leaves me empty inside.

My first real encounter with other religions came when I was a senior in high school.  I signed up for a Comparative Religion course.  Not because I was interested necessarily in the course, but more because the teacher was one that I had the prior 3 years of my high school life through history courses and since she refused to teach Government my senior year, I decided I would take this course to ensure I would have her as a teacher, one of the teachers that helped me through my high school years and I felt compelled to complete my high school years having one teacher in common all 4 years.  The course however proved to be quite enlightening.  While I thought of myself as a Christian since I was going to a Disciples of Christ Church, I also found myself questioning more and more and eager to learn about other religions.  The two that stuck out the most were Buddhism and Judaism.  I did well in the course as it turned out once it began I was so eager to learn that I did more research than was required by the course itself.

After leaving the church at 22, I didn’t feel the need to go searching for another faith or another church.  I was hurt and felt that nothing could undo that.  I was newly “out of the closet” and had lost several friends when I told them I was gay because they couldn’t accept that it was okay.  In their minds I was just going to burn in hell for even uttering the words that I was gay, let alone being in a relationship.  I lost what I had known to be my faith in a higher power.  I lived my life for the next 8 years and didn’t think much about religion; afterall how could I be gay and be religious… that was what I had thought, that is what I believed when others had said it to me.

At 30 my relationship of 7 years had started to go downhill, we began to grow apart, I began to feel the huge hole in my life, I felt that my belief in a higher power was indeed something that I needed, but didn’t know how to figure it out, didn’t know where to begin, I felt as I imagine a toddler feels before taking their first steps, is it really possible to move forward and go into the world and find a belief?  I decided to try a Christianity class at McLean Bible Church, while I found it to be enlightening as far as learning about religion went, I did not feel that it was something I could put my faith in.  That particular church was not accepting in homosexuality, I did know that before I went, but it offered that class and so I thought maybe I could just hide that part of me and be okay with it, but the fact was I didn’t want to lie to myself or to anyone else about who I was, who I am.

At the Washington Gay Pride events I would walk up and down to the exhibits and spend time speaking to the religious groups that were there, searching for an answer.  Searching for something that would just jump out at me.  I got information from a lot of different groups in the last few years of going, nothing really jumped out at me, still searching I guess.

My most recent studies have led me to Judiasm.  I have a few friends who are jewish, not one pushed me toward my studies, in fact, I was hesitant to tell anyone about my studies as I didn’t want to be swayed one way or another.  As judgemental as that sounds, I was afraid of someone squashing my studies by uttering anything negative, the way people had when I said I was gay.  I figured I would do my research, in time ask questions of safe people in my life that I know would not judge me no matter what and just see if it leads to finding a faith, finding a higher power to believe in.  I don’t know where this recent journey will lead me.  I hope that at least I will come out of this knowing more about a religion that I was curious about, in fact, I have already come out knowing that.  I have learned from my readings, from the few questions I have asked, I plan to continue to do my reading and learning about this religion, I believe one can’t ever learn enough.  While I do “hope” that it brings me to a faith, it may or may not be the faith for me, but at least I will come out of it a more intelligent individual.

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