Religion has always been one of my favorite topics. I was seven when I started studying comparative religion – a hobby that has persisted until the present day. I’ve created five or six con-religions (for my con-worlding hobby), and have practiced three separate religions in my thirty one years on earth. I have always found it fascinating to learn about what people believe, why people believe what they do, and how they apply it to the mundane details of everyday life. Yet, despite the fact that religion is one of my favorite things to talk about, it is also a topic about which it can be very difficult for me to open up.
I once wrote in my personal blog that I often feel as though I am multi-faith. I remember a time when I searched desperately (and in futility) for examples of people who felt that they belonged to more than one faith tradition. I am something of a religious empath, if there is such a thing. Having studied so many different religions, and having practiced three – I have an ability to deeply understand other faith traditions in such a way that it makes an undeniable impact on my spiritual life. Ultimately, I identify as a Christian in that I believe in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our atonement and reconciliation to God. Yet, though my spiritual path begins and ends with Jesus, the path itself is quite eclectic.
I’ve had Christian friends begin to view me as non-Christian, and I’ve had non-Christian friends fail to understand why someone so open-minded and religiously liberal can’t abandon Jesus or take the Bible lightly. I know that labels aren’t always a good thing, but sometimes it’s difficult not to fit neatly inside any of the boxes. For this reason, it’s taken me almost ten years to become comfortable with my religious identity and in all honesty, I’m not totally there yet.
The beautiful thing about my situation is that I have the ability to ask hard questions and not be afraid of the answers. I love that I can learn from any faith tradition and apply the things I’ve learned to my walk with Christ. I love that I know how to let doubt and wonder build faith. I love that I am fluid, and able to continue to grow and evolve into spiritual maturity. I wouldn’t change these things for the world.
There’s a Walt Whitman quote that I love, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.” I’ve always felt that this quote encapsulates my spiritual fluidity and all of the changes I’ve gone through as I have learned and grown. I am hoping to be more transparent about my faith journey. Though I may, at times, seem to be growing in varied and non-linear directions, I am growing. And I believe God has allowed me to be the way I am in order to use me for his purposes.
Photo Source: Elisabeth Renne