The First Half

My Christian mind, also called “here is where God fits in”.

I was brought up Christian (baptized Methodist, confirmed Episcopalian, raised in a congregation that thought it important to teach it’s youth about other religions and cultures).

After the birth of Ems in 2001, I began to see the ENTIRE world in a whole new light (that seems to be something that happens to first-time mothers).

In an instant of holding this girl, I was filled with miracles of which I knew nothing about, some wonderful thing had happened, taken hold inside of me and created this magnificent creature from nothing and it all happened with no control of my own. Right there proved the existence of God to me, more than any number of years sitting in church, Scriptures, hymns, you name it.

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As much as I loved God, the messages I was getting from the church could not coincide with the feelings I had about life, love and the world.

But, I believe in God.  I need God. We have some pretty crazy conversations somedays, some more filled with anger, some more filled with thanks.  God seems to be everywhere I look.  The sun, the moon, the girls, the trees, the plants unfurling, the winds blowing, the dog at my feet. I don’t know what God is.  God seems to take so many forms for so many people.  What God is most is a reason to live, a reason to believe, a reason to go on.  What I know of God resides in that still, quiet place in my heart.  The Quakers believe that God is available to anyone, that you should just be quiet and listen to that still place.

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But for me most of Christianity was still an “all or nothing” game.  If you were not “one of us” you were “one of them”.  There was no place there for my Muslim friend, for my gay friend, for all the people of the world that were not Christian, for if we could not love ourselves as we were, if we could not find a love or a common bond with EVERYONE, how could we ever conquer the hatred that so often consumes this world.  Because just as bringing a child opens you up to the miracle of life, so too does it instill in you a sense of the danger that lurks around every corner.  Ems was born in April 2001, and was a small, vulnerable package of sweetness when the September 11th attacks happened.  If there was ever a time that needed a message of love and inclusiveness that was it.

That was when I found the Quaker philosophy, perhaps the most loving and inclusive of all the Christians, and Buddhism, the flip side of  my coin, the other half to my whole.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “The First Half

  1. Reading your words about Ems birth brings tears to my eyes and floods my soul with memories of my kids’ births. It seems that with each one, not only was a wee little one brought into the world, but I had a re-birth of sorts myself. A strengthening. A renewal. A promise.

    Again, love. As a Follower of Jesus Christ, I am called to love – everyone, as Christ loves them. How is it that such a simple, straightforward command is so…difficult? Thank you for making me think – as prickly as this subject is, I am grateful to you for being willing to bring it up, my friend.

  2. Ditto what Camie said.

    I have a SIL who was raised in a Quaker church. A very rural Quaker church. One of my best friends from school also attended there. I went there frequently with my brother & SIL and also with my friend — Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening youth group, Vacation Bible School. Later another brother of mine and his family attended there.

    Don’t get me started on what you hear at church. I am a believer and in regular attendance but there are many days when I think I’m too liberal to be in this particular church.

    God loves us all. We should too. Let him be judge and jury when we arrive at the golden gates.

  3. Thank you for writing this Jennifer.
    Becoming a mother has brought me new insights and wisdom, understanding, and compassion. Motherhood truly makes me delve even deeper into meditating on the way our family treats others and the push behind these reasons. Trying only to seek truth along the way through the midst of being in contact with very loving and also unfortunately on the flip side coming in contact with very negative people.
    It is helpful to hear about your spiritual journey. This is a beautiful post, and I appreciate your sentiments. I agree, in the end what matters is love, love, and more love. xo

  4. All I can say is, religion sucks. But God is good…all the time. And His ways are perfect. As far as Muslims and gays…God loves them as much as He loves anyone else. He may not love their choices…but He loves them. I was taught to love the sinner, hate the sin. And so often we get it mixed up and hate the sinner. So sad.

    I will say that I do believe in “all or nothing”…as far as Jesus is concerned. You are so right…it’s not about religion. It’s about LOVE. And Jesus showed us the ultimate in love when He died on the cross for us…simple. Done. Forgiven. Set free.
    Redeemed. Saved. God gave His son to die for us…it’s a gift. And that gift is for everyone…all we have to do is accept it. Amazing.

  5. I am so loving that you opened up this dialogue. I am loving also what my friends are adding to it. I know why we come here – because it is a safe place to share our thoughts. We can do so with fear of judgement or wondering what others may think of us.

    I went to a VERY conservative Christian school – we were not even aloud to tap our feet to music! really. No movies. No dances. No pants. Ugh. don’t get me started. The “rules” sucked the life out of me. So hypocritical. We have found a church now that is just our style. It’s motto is – loving God, loving People, loving Life. We love going. It is fun. It is uplifting. It is practical. But, it took me many years to find a church that I like. And, after graduating high school – I didn’t go to church for years. Imagine that!!

    My point is – find what works for you. Do what works for you. It does not need to fit anyones definition but yours. Faith is personal and faith is unique to every individual.

  6. I was baptized presbyterian, confirmed methodist and spent 8 years in catholic school. I don’t attend church regularly now. BUT, I can say… I’ve never felt closer to God. This also has to do with all the fine people I’ve met in our circle of bloggers. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Mon

    Wow, a quaker-buddhist. Groovy.

    I’m a spiral walker – I connect to All through the physical world of plants and wind….., and through the unseen web of ‘energy’. We’re all connected, everything alive is connected. Love is vast and infinite. Some call that God and add other attributes. I call it nothing at all, and let it be and experience it.

  8. blueskyhi

    My parents never christianed or baptised me. I’ve never seen my parents in a church except at funerals and weddings.

    I believe in God, he doesn’t belong to any particular denomination or religion but he does belong to me, and I belong to Him. He lives in a special place in my heart and encourages me to be the best and most loving person I can be.

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