Alright. [Cracks knuckles] I planned on sharing some of my own thoughts yesterday, but time and all that. So, I'm sharing today I guess.
None of what I am saying is an attack on any one person, group, or any sort of generalization. I grew up in a Southern Baptist household, what I'm saying is in relation to my own upbringing and spiritual background. So read this in that context I suppose. Disclaimer over
Spirituality is such a crazy concept. Combined with the internet, it becomes a pretty big thing. Very
big, loud even, and with so many screaming voices, I've always been okay not letting mine be heard. Really, being misunderstood never bothered me. Is anyone ever completely understood all the time anyway? Some things are simply not worth it, and if they're meant to be understood in some way, I always said God will find a way, won't He?
I'm neutral, quiet, and generally don't speak up unless it's in some way warranted. I don't want to be too quick to share my wares and not listen to others. That's just how I approach everything, even my spirituality. I do feel actions speak louder than words do. That's not founded in “New-ageism” (Whatever that may be? The word does seem thrown around a lot lately) or my own logic. I've read the KJV Bible in its entirety four times now. I've walked with, and known, God my entire life. I don't follow any organized religion, don't call myself religious, or even Christian (though I don't mind if you do. I don't mean this in a condescending way, but sometimes labels make things easier for us to accept and understand I believe). I'm just a woman who loves and follows God, and I don't need to shout it from the rooftops. Doing so doesn't prove or make me any more faithful to Him. He knows what's in my heart, and others too, if only through His love which I try as best I can to best to share with everyone
To be honest, I'm surprised some find my insistence on empathy and fascination with understanding the human mind as some something un-spiritual. I actually find both to be deeply held together in dynamic tension with my spirituality. That said, to get the point across, I don't usually pull out Scriptures, for a good reason, but I'll reference some today.
You know, there's about collectively a total of 2,500 different times in the Bible which remind us of just how passionate God is about the poor and the needy. “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17); whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord. This is indisputable, and true to me of anyone who reaches out to another in human hardship. I'm not a parent, but those who are, here's a thought. When someone is kind to your kids, how does it make you feel? Admittedly, don't you appreciate it as much
as they did, if not more, because of how deeply, emphatically bonded you are to your children? For those who aren't, what about your best friends? Those friends who are almost blood you're so close; again, when someone is kind to them it is almost as if they are kind to you
, isn't it? To me it feels that way at least.
Well to God, those people are deeply, truly, and immensely emphatically connected to Him. "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it
unto me” (Matthew 25:40). God calls
us to empathy. Truly, and this is such a central theme in Biblical context, and yet it's missed so often. I feel empathy should be very near to religion, and yet how little we apply or even try to understand it. Instead, we focus on legalism; not on real lives or people, individuality, stories that beg to be heard and very much need to, as if our real lives and focus on them is inconsistent with a focus on Scripture. To the contrary I think it's the other way around. Again, I don't focus on it as much, but when I do, I tend to think any Scriptures cannot be accurately interpreted without it.
Throwing empty verses at a person won't move them towards righteousness, it'll make them feel diminished and dehumanized. You aren't treating them as a person, suddenly they're this act, or concept, or abstract idea, and that is deeply troubling to me. How can one know a person better than He does? Know their life-story, know their heart, their soul? Really? A fraction of what they tell you is even less of what compromises who they are. My God made beautiful, unique, and immensely, intricately, fascinatingly wondrous beings. I am called to love them, not judge (As if I even can), condemn, or damn them. Why am I assuming His role and interpreting His will?
I can't for the life of me, try as I might, look at any of my friends and see them as a walking billboard reading "Pagan", "Atheist", "Hindu", "Not sure", "Whatever they believe, it's not what I do", I just don't and I couldn't ever. I see mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, friends, teachers, that person with the awesome sense of humor, that person who overcame awe-inspiring adversity, that one person who always knows just what to say, or gives so much. I see their histories, their backgrounds, and who they are. We are all individuals. Our brain chemistry isn't all precisely identical, it couldn't ever possibly be. Which is why there are no quick or easy answers when it comes to people, frustrating as that may be sometimes. Love isn't easy, love is adapting and making sacrifice and compromise.
That's why I want to know everyone, their stories, their culture, their beliefs, their faith, and their unique ideas. It is as important to me as they are. They are
important to me. Not as trivial ideas or something I need to come at defensively either; something innately bad and of no consequence to me. If I did, I can't imagine how much strength there is in my own beliefs then. No, my interest is sincerely genuine. Even if the things they think are things I might not be comfortable with immediately, or ever, or I find harmful in some way, I can still reach inside and find the good in them necessary to love them as simply a human being worthy of such. This isn't a popular stance, but as I always say, I don't mind people disagreeing with or seeing anything wrong in what I say. Feel free to think I'm not in the right at all. You're more than welcome to. Hopefully though, with more than a simple damnation, and a little compassion. I extend more than that to everyone I meet; I hope they can honor me in the same, perhaps?
So those are my thoughts on spirituality and how I apply it to myself. I apologize for the immense amount of text, that was the most I've ever written here I think. I'm not sure if that's an accomplishment, but it is certainly something lol! Whoot! Can I get some confetti up in here?