(Insert Your Name Here)ism

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my friend, Ray, and he brought up an idea he had presented me with before.  It was the “ten years from now plan” and in his picture he saw me as a minister.  I responded by saying that I do kind of like the idea of it, but I don’t really think I fully align with any one particular church or religion.  I mentioned a comment from an old post where someone said I was trying to create my own religion-Lesleeism.  I told Ray that if it was the church of Lesleeism, I could definitely be the minister, but otherwise I’d just have to go with the flow and see where it leads.  He responded with the idea that we all have our own personal religions, he has Rayism, and everybody else has their own “isms.”

Some people might disagree with me on this.  They will promise they are true to their religion.  But what I see when I look out into the world is that most of us straddle the line instead of walk it.  People pick and choose what works.  It’s all about Jesus’ birth at the Christmas Eve service and all about Santa Clause on Christmas morning.  We “forgive those that trespass against us” until we come face to face with someone with different political or religious beliefs.  We remind those around us of the importance of upholding the commandments, as we break them daily or hourly in our minds (which if I understand correctly the bible says is the same as actually breaking them.)  We teach of the power of forgiveness through salvation from Jesus, but we hold grudges that often follow us to the grave.    (It seems all my examples are from Christianity, sorry about that, it’s all I know.)

So what is my answer to this seeming hypocrisy?  OWN IT!!  Admit that religion is not a “one size fits all.”  I don’t think any one person can mold themselves to perfectly into one religion and trying to is simply putting you out of integrity with yourself.  When I was young and was taught about Hell, it absolutely broke my heart.  I just couldn’t rationalize it.  I didn’t get how an evil person could recite the words “I accept Jesus into my heart as my savior” and be admitted to Heaven, while someone good and charitable who may not know or get the opportunity to say those words would burn for eternity in Hell.  It didn’t make sense.  The world is too big and there is too much diversity for that to be true.  Because of this idea and others, I left God behind for years.  When I learned new ideas, one being that we all experience the same thing when we die no matter how “good” or “bad” we are, I could embrace God and spirituality again.  What rang true for me was the idea that our human existence is like school.  We are here to learn and evolve and we keep coming back until we meet the goals and can graduate and return to “God.”  But that one idea, that feels right to me, could absolutely assault the sensibilities of someone else.  And that is OK!  I am not asking anyone to take my words and beliefs as truth, I am suggesting you simply ask yourself what YOUR truth is.  It will probably not be the same as mine and if you’re completely honest with yourself it may not even be the same as your religion’s.

So I encourage you to find your own truth…create your own religion, one that makes you feel loved and happy!  Grab a plate and partake of the buffet of spirituality!

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6 thoughts on “(Insert Your Name Here)ism

  1. Marcy April 30, 2010 / 11:24 am

    I had a similar revalation about hell as well when I was younger. Both my parent’s being Catholic (but Dad being Byzantine, mom being Roman) they had different views on hell. When I was young, there was a child in my class that was not christian but such a good person. It was ironic, or perhaps a cosmic plan I set in place prior to coming to this earth, that at CCD class that weekend the topic was “hell”—how kind to teach 6 year olds about hell (with a big spin on accepting Jesus and if you don’t you go to hell or purgatory)—After coming out of CCd class, on a scary lesson on hell, I asked my mom “why can Jesus allow people to go to hell”. She said if you don’t believe in him, and you are bad you go there. I was terrified for my friend in class. Didn’t know if I had some type of responsiblity to convince him to at least think about Jesus. The thought of him burning in hell terrified me and I started to tear up.

    My dad, after my mom left the room, pulled me aside, and told me something that stuck with me to this day–he said “Marce, if you follow your heart, and be good to others you have a place in heaven–it dosen’t matter what religion you are–because we all come from the same place and Gods love we can’t put human words to.”

    Today, I think about that conversation, and the fact being, living in fear dosen’t allow us to elevate to our higher spiritual selves. I am catholic, praciticing, but prefer to be called a “free loving catholic”. So, you are right, I have my spin, and will continue to b/c I cannot put faith in fear, only love.

    • lesleehorner April 30, 2010 / 11:48 am

      Wow Marcy, what an amazing thing that your father said to you and so true. Thank you so much for this comment, it really is a perfect representation of what I was thinking…

  2. rageomatic April 30, 2010 / 3:16 pm

    I agree, everyone makes up their own code as they go.
    Everyone fails to uphold their own standards.
    You can’t fight it. So freaking own it.

    Actually, that is a large part of my code.

    Amen, Rev. Leslee.

    • lesleehorner April 30, 2010 / 3:22 pm

      I’m glad you came by and commented on this one! I was interested in hearing your thoughts!

  3. Darkwulfe May 1, 2010 / 6:21 pm

    Leslee, This is a subject we have discussed before and actually was one of the first discussions we had. I believe that man creates God in his Image rather than the other way around. We mold it to what we are comfortable. We in many ways humanize it. I find your blog very insightful into your way of thinking and how you process God, church and religion.

  4. Renee May 2, 2010 / 8:19 am

    My mother said she stopped being Catholic the day a nun at her grammar school told her that her father was going to hell because he was a Protestant.

    Personally, I definitely practice “Reneeism,” so I conform to every bit of its requirements. 😉

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