Friday, December 31, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 6

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 6 of 6:

(...continued from Part 5)

One belief in particular will cause many (mostly my family members, but that's okay) concern, but I love this belief: 

Invitation to Intimate Commitment: The experiences and insights of laypersons are nowhere more needed than in the area of intimate human relationships. We believe that the gift of sexual union is a source and celebration of love for couples, which allows for the special and safe sharing of intimacy. We consider it a danger to marriage and other intimate relationships to be denied sexual sharing. This has significant implications for Catholic practice, particularly as it applies to divorce and remarriage.

I am not sure of all of the implications of this, but I know that one thing it implies is that sexual unions between people are holy, and are to be respected. Another type of holy sexual union (and more) is marriage. These are two different things, both to be honored, both very holy. I have acted upon this belief, which I have held for others and even for myself at times, while “officially” believing something else. But deep down in my heart, I believe this. 

I know that there is something very, very holy about sex. It is the act itself that is so holy, and so abused in our culture. But not by all--some people do honor and respect their union--and oftentimes before marriage have sexual intercourse or even live together and share their lives in a way that eventually leads to marriage. I believe that this is much more sincere than serial marriage. Or the game that many Christian couples play of engaging in sex while purporting not to, feeling guilty, thinking that no one knows, and doing it all over again. Everyone knows and we all pretend not to. At least in the Christian cultures I’ve been in, this is what we do. 

So I've been going to this little church for the last few weeks. There is a male priest and a female priest and a very small congregation. It was intimate and lovely and very welcoming. I got to receive communion. I participated in the service. I felt good about being a Christian for the first time in a long time.

I feel like I've found a spiritual home, at last.  

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark


Anonymous said...

Olivia, that is so awesome! I did not even know the ECC existed until I read your post. Then I went to their website and saw that there is a young church in my hometown of Little ROck, AR (San Damiano). Very cool. How did you find it?

laundrygirl said...

There is NOTHING like finding a place where you feel a sense of belonging! I am excited for you. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Heather Plett said...

Have you read the book "Take This Bread" by Sara Miles? I'm pretty sure you'd like it. Check it out.

kate i said...

Thanks for sharing your journey Olivia...I love that there are as many ways to finding our connection with spirit as their are people in the world...and they all ultimately, lead home!

(that is an amazing flower!!)

Kim Mailhot said...

I am so happy that you have found a spiritaul home and community in your new church, Olivia. It is truly a gift to feel understood and supported in your beliefs and I think we all have need of that at different times in our lives. Long may it feel like home !
Happy New Year, my friend ! Light and Love !

Olivia said...

Kelly, that's really interesting. Little Rock! I have a "San Damiano" cross that is from St. Francis, I believe.

I found it surfing the Internet, as per usual, and stumbled upon it. I've been looking for a way of being a Christian that is both loving and that is congruent with my beliefs for a long time, so I was thrilled.

For me, even at 53, it takes a lot of courage to say that I don't care what anyone thinks, but I'm going to trust in myself and in what I believe in and just follow that. From the way I grew up (authoritarian) and from cults I belonged to, I specifically learned how to DENY any inner wisdom, to mistrust it and to look for an outside authority to define things for me. So this is a real departure for me :)

Thanks, Kelly, love now and in the New Year and always, O

Olivia said...

Kristine, thank you and also thanks for witnessing it. It is so unconventional that I didn't know how people would react, and I appreciate your support. Peace, love, joy in this New Year (and always), O

Olivia said...

Heather, yes I have and I loved it. Now I have her new one really high in my queue, Jesus Freak. You are right that it's the kind of thing I like.

But for so long, even though I liked it (the book) when it came out it was too far of a stretch for me to "risk my salvation" or to "trust myself" to depart from an orthodox and externally-imposed plan. It was too radical then but not any more. It is very scary, good.

Thanks for your support, Heather. I appreciate Sophia Leadership too. Which is you, of course. But I know you can't comment as that. So I appreciate your commenting as you!

Joy in the New Year and beyond, xoO

Olivia said...

kate, yes, I agree with you--which even this is a departure from what I have lived with most of my life--one way, my way, the way I see it, the way it was revealed to my leader, a leader who hears directly from God. It seems silly writing it, but when you have never believed anything else--or rather, never allowed yourself to validate your beliefs in anything else--it is radical.

I wish for everyone that they find their path home!

Thank you, kate, for your support and comments.

You know, that is a "hoya" I think. It is furry and fuzzy and in the center of each flower, waxy and weepy. LoveHubbie Mark took innumerable pictures of it to get this great one!

Peace and love to you, a wonderful New Year, and more, xoO

Olivia said...

My Queen Kim, thank you. I hope it lasts too. I keep feeling that "maybe it's too good to be true" feeling, but I am learning to receive and accept good things, so I don't want to indulge it.

I am at a place where I need support and community and am so grateful for it. Thank you for being part of my community and for extending your Big Love to everyone, Kim.

Happy Anniversary again, Happy New year, and Big Love back to you, xoO