I am not an activist. Or should I say I have not been in that overt, in your face kind of way where people stand on street corners with signs or work for a political or social or religious movement. I like the idea of demonstrating my belief system by how I live my life.
For example, for as long as I can remember, I have believed in a higher power. Through my childhood experience of going to church I learned to call that higher power God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. But the initial acknowledgement that I can recall came at a very early age – sometime around the age of 5 – 7 years old because we were still living in our first house in Enfield CT and my brother had been born. We were in the rooms that my father and our neighbor built on the second floor of that house because we were at the point that we were old enough to have our own rooms. I remember distinctly thinking that there was something bigger than me, outside of me, that was there, present in my life watching over me. And throughout my life I have had enough experiences that support that feeling to continue to believe.
In high school I was very active in our church and the youth group, and ultimately went to a Christian college. It was a very conservative college, being of the Reformed Presbyterian tradition – they don’t believe in drinking, smoking, using instruments other than the voice in church. Very Footloose. During those years my belief system was challenged and honed.
But through all of my church related experiences, I was not the one who was out evangelizing to the non-believers. I stand pretty firmly in the conviction that everyone needs to find their own path to their understanding of God or Goddess or higher power of their choosing. I cannot stand here and tell you I am absolutely right about almost anything, much less God. No one really knows my position on religion or politics or the designated hitter rule unless they ask or it somehow comes up in conversation.
Extremism in anything makes me uncomfortable. I like balance. I also like honor and integrity. I have problems with extreme acts that are done in the name of “God”. The murder of Dr. George Tiller is a good example. He was a doctor who provided abortion services. I don’t care if you agree with abortion or not, I think we can all agree that killing a man, IN CHURCH, is just wrong. Killing in the name of God is wrong. I recognize that some people feel that abortion is as much an attack on the unborn fetus, is in fact murder, as any attack against a full grown adult, but taking a life in order to make your point is wrong. It is hypocritical. It is terrorism.
There are a lot of things I can’t deal with in terms of organized religion. I will not go to church if I hear bigotry, chauvinism, racism, any kind of intolerance being preached from the pulpit or being exhibited by the members. There is no room for hatred and intolerance in Gods house, whatever house that might be – church, synagogue, mosque, temple, big open field full of sunflowers. We all need to work harder at loving in spite of our differences, BECAUSE of our differences, and embracing each other for the gifts we bring to this life. Stand for what you believe, live it every day, but stop hurting those who don’t agree with you. Learn to understand them, to accept them and maybe we can move forward as a community. A big world wide community.