2015: Advent Religion: Journey

by on December 24, 2015

I’ve avoided talking too much about what I think now, in favour of what I thought then. This was meant as an introduction to where I came from, and I didn’t want to get sidetracked into where I went afterwards. But, well, what’s Advent for, if not the prologue to new stories?

Someone asked, not in the comments here, whether I’m an apostate, and I told them no. I don’t go to church every week, but I’m going tomorrow. I have been baptised and I am glad of it. When I pray, mostly it’s to the God of Jesus.

But not always. Not only.

I believe in Grace. I believe that no-one is irredeemable and nothing is unforgivable. I believe in the greatness of the human heart that can love and trust and hope enough to make that true. I believe we live narrow walled-in lives and stepping outside them is hard and scary and painful and the only way to become better, more joyful people. When I’m angry and contemptuous I try to reach first for our shared humanity, because when I understand why someone does what they do, I may still be angry, but I usually don’t hate them any more. I often fail at this. I, too, am redeemable.

I believe we are animals. I am not a ghost piloting a meat-puppet, I am not a soul trapped in mindless flesh. I am not alien to my own skin. I am a smart tool-using primate and my biology is part of who and how I am, and that is okay. I believe it’s a damned shame that Christmas sermons end up being about the Crucifixion, as though people somehow hadn’t heard that story, and not about the vast mystery of Incarnation.

I believe in ritual as a way to change ourselves on purpose. I believe in the efficacy of symbols. I believe that knowing how it works doesn’t make the magic go away. I talk to bridges and sometimes they talk back to me. I burn candles for the Solstice and draw runes on my skin.

I believe that all genders should be equal in law and in life. I believe that whether your sex life is ethical is not dependent on your anatomy or pronouns or the anatomy or pronouns of your partners. I believe it’s okay to be monogamous provided you don’t try to make everyone else monogamous too. I believe in personal autonomy. I believe in food and shelter and medicine. I believe that on matters of race I should sit down and listen. I believe that without justice there is no love.

I believe in God. I pray to Jesus, take Communion, and cry over the parts of the Bible that promise all things shall be well.

I’m not an apostate. I’m just a heretic.

Merry Christmas, and gods all bless.

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