I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household. At about the age of twenty, I came out as gay. Needless to say, this did not go well with my family. Things are a lot better with them now, but I’m still struggling with my spirituality. For a long time, I totally rejected anything to do with God or Spirit because I equated it with the Christianity of my childhood. But now I’m wanting to be more connected to Spirit again. I know that the church of my childhood isn’t for me, but I’m not sure where to start in finding something better. Any advice?
Fed Up with Fundamentalism
Dear Fed Up,
Your timing couldn’t be better! These days, there are many ways to discover spirituality that is not the dogmatic, fundamentalist version of your childhood.
There are so many, in fact, that it’s tough for me to know where to begin.
I think it’s best for people who are exploring their spirituality to do just that: explore! One way to do this is to look in the yellow pages or on line for what’s out there. I know that this can be overwhelming. But it’s great to see the range and notice where you’re drawn. Even if it’s a wide, general direction, you can get started in knowing which way to go.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, you could also head to a bookstore, or check out books online. Find the spirituality section and peruse some books. Again, notice where you’re drawn.
If you find that you still identify with the teachings and life of Jesus and want to find a less fundamentalist version of Christ’s teachings, there are hundreds of options! As I imagine you know, there is a tremendous spectrum of Christianity. And many of us who identify as spiritual-not-religious love Jesus, too. There are those who suggest that sticking close to the religion we grew up with can be best for us. I don’t always agree. But you will have to be the judge for yourself on this.
If you don’t have a preference for Christianity, the spiritual world becomes even larger! I have friends who are deeply moved by the teachings and practices of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. The list goes on. And within each, there are ranges – fundamentalism to liberalism.
Still others find that being outdoors is their best, most powerfully felt church. Spirit can be so easily seen and felt in nature.
You wrote because something within you is stirring. One place to begin would be to recall what started the stirring itself. Were you in yoga class? Perhaps a physical practice suits you best. At a friend’s wedding in a mosque? Try checking out their regular services. In a counseling session? Perhaps a more psychological approach, or one-on-one support, is best for you.
Let me know how it goes, and where you are led. I imagine other readers will share how they came upon their own spiritual practices too.
Most of all, I would suggest that you ask Spirit to guide you in this search and discovery! Prayers are always answered, no matter how they are prayed.
Wishing you all the best in your spiritual inquiry! May every step bless you.
Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at email@example.com