Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 5

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 








Part 5 of 6:

(...continued from Part 4)











So that means that I also believe in an open communion table. This means that I believe that all Christians should be able to come and receive communion, whether or not they belong to the particular church. This is quite controversial in some faiths. 
I don’t belief in original sin. I believe that people are just born. Not born good or bad, just born. I learned this from my wise nephew. So that means all kind of unorthodox spiritual things to some people. It leads many to call me “not a Christian”, which is okay, I suppose. There is nothing much I can do about that. I know that many people don’t believe in original sin and don’t let it bother them if their church believes in it and derives its theology from it. This is too hard for me to do, and it leads to many other beliefs I cannot accept. 
I have a love for liturgy and for mystery, and I love communion especially. I sound like a Roman Catholic; however, I object strongly to aspects of the Catholic Church, like papal infallability, strong demarcations between religious orders and laity, and annulments. I also object to women not being allowed to be priests, to the taboo on most methods of contraception, and many other things. So I wouldn’t make a very good conventional Roman Catholic. 

However, recently I came across some information about a "renegade" Catholic denomination called the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC), which they say is  “an alternate way to celebrate your Catholic faith”. I know that the term "renegade" is pejorative, but to me in this case, being renegade is delightful. The ECC is gay-welcoming. It does not accept the authority of the pope, but of a local bishop. It allows congregations to choose priests, not be assigned them, and the priests work with the people together in the congregation.  And the priest can be a woman, too, married or single, gay or lesbian. It does not require annulments for divorce and remarriage, although it grieves the breakup of any marriage. It allows contraception to be decided privately by the couple involved. It is concerned with justice issues. It has an open table for communion.
It accepts the orthodox Catholic creeds, and the orthodox Catholic faith, even if not the ways the faith is lived out today. 


I'm guessing you can tell how much I like this church :)



(To be continued...)




~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

7 comments:

kate i said...

Olivia, I'm so glad you've found a place to share your spiritual journey with others of similar beliefs. This must feel like you've "come home"!

Olivia said...

Thanks, kate, yes I do! In fact, that's how I end the series tomorrow, by saying that. I think we all benefit when we have others to share our journey with.

For me this spiritual journey has felt like a big step in the direction of authenticity. In the past I just would try to fit into various places or else be completely alone. I've been looking for a long, long time, and compromising in ways that didn't feel good. So this is a homecoming that I've never felt before!

Thanks for commenting, kate, and I do like your icon! xoO

Heather Plett said...

(AAArrgghh. I've tried three times to leave a comment with my Sophia Leadership account, but it's not working.)

I'm thoroughly enjoying the storytelling of your journey, Olivia. Especially since you've come to many of the same conclusions about religion as I have.

Olivia said...

Thanks, Heather. I appreciate your commenting, despite the difficulty. I don't know what the obstacle is to leaving it with Sophia.

I appreciate your example and leadership. For me, choosing the way to express my Christian beliefs is a big huge deal. I have only felt comfortable in the past by fitting in to what an external source told me I must believe. Thus, following my heart in this area is new.

I am grateful for Sophia Leadership. I've been reading some of the books you've referenced and others too.

Thank you for witnessing my journey, Heather, and for letting me know here.

Love, O

lorilyn said...

Olivia,
I am enthralled by your story and so grateful that you're sharing it here. You and I have such a similar feeling about this. In many places as I read these posts I think, I could have written that exact sentence!
I am experiencing something quite similar in my life. I too found a (gay-celebrating) welcoming church where I feel both at home and spiritually moved. I never ever thought it would happen.
It was actually the gift from you that made me realize I wanted to find such a place.
Miracles. All around.
Love, love, love to you. Blessings on your journey and happy new year!

lorilyn said...

Olivia,
I am enthralled by your story and so grateful that you're sharing it here. You and I have such a similar feeling about this. In many places as I read these posts I think, I could have written that exact sentence!
I am experiencing something quite similar in my life. I too found a (gay-celebrating) welcoming church where I feel both at home and spiritually moved. I never ever thought it would happen.
It was actually the gift from you that made me realize I wanted to find such a place.
Miracles. All around.
Love, love, love to you. Blessings on your journey and happy new year!

Olivia said...

Lori-Lyn, Your comment meant so much to me. I was feeling like people supported me, but I noticed that I'd gotten far fewer comments on this series than others and figured that people were just not as interested in Christianity (even my amazingly loving experience of it) as in other things I've written about.

I'm so glad that you have found a place too. I know what you mean when you write that you never thought it would happen.

There is something about people who WELCOME gay people. It sounds weird and in some ways maybe even silly to single out gay people for this. But it's true in my experience. When a group welcomes people of all sexual orientations, they seem to have all kinds of other things that are loving and congruent. It's as thought their views on sexual orientation are a bellwether for everything else...

At any rate, thank you, Lori-Lyn. Your comment and your experience is really, really encouraging for me :)

xoO