I have recently changed my religious status on the forum. Having been prevented from attending eucharist most of the time due to my schedule, some spiritual priorities were simply cast in a different perspective. I briefly considered (a broader) conception of Catholicism (and wasn’t sure whether to veer Roman or Anglo), especially after the traditonal Latin mass became the easiest service for me to attend.
After hearing a ranting “homily” about the wickedness and depravity of trans people (and indirectly, gay people) in that setting I made my mind up that, while I have traditionalist Catholic friends who are very creative and adept theologically in coming to more compassionate conclusions, I do not want to deal with this kind of baggage. I don’t fault the entire tradition since there are numerous resources within it for coming to different conclusions, and people do so, and some affirming Catholics are downright saintly in my view. But this is my choice, I have made up my mind, and I don’t frown on others who come to different choices. Let each one do what is conducive to that individual’s flourishing, I say.
Regarding liberal and (self-described) esoteric Christianity as a whole, since I have retained my community connections through friendships, and since I cannot make it to church often, I simply decided I didn’t want to wrestle with that tradition anymore, and I’ve gone in my own direction. It’s not that I don’t feel welcomed even with my eccentricities in the community — I’ve always been made to feel welcome to fellowship and altar in my Episcopal parish, and without having to hide my beliefs. I just don’t feel like putting the energy into wrestling with a tradition that is very different from my private path.
That said, I will always hold in my heart a fondness for this tradition without which I could have never forged my own path in the direction it has taken today. I do not feel that I have lost anything, but rather that I have been given a gift that continues to flourish. I have felt no need to mourn, but rather rejoice.
As to my still-developing notions of Deity, I have long identified with pantheism in some way, shape, or form. In some contexts this path does not lend itself to devotion, though, and I gather that there are different senses to pantheism. I dropped the term because my approach is a bit too complicated to convey in a simple one word term.
When I refer to the Ama-Father (Mother-Father is what I mean), the Father, the Mother, or God (with a capital G), I am not really referring to Yahweh, who for me is a distinct god of his own. I am referring to the One (the interconnected whole, thus the “oneness” part) or what I may refer to as the All, the source of our existences (thus the parental imagery).
I am not sure that the One or the All is not impersonal, but given its mysterious nature and the presence of reported experiences of the numinous (and perhaps even a transcendent aspect to reality?), given the reality of this enigma of consciousness that we report experiencing, I do not tend to treat the All as merely inanimate matter. Experientally it is more than that for me, and to respond to that something “more,” whatever that “more” is, which I believe is involved in consciousness and experiences of the numinous, I do address it as encompassing a personal dimension, thus my reference to the “Ama-Father.” I am a person, so I tend to see a person in Ultimate Reality as well.
The Ama-Father for me is androgynous, beyond mere appearances of good and evil, and everything that we experience whether we perceive it as good or evil is a part of this Ama-Father. The whole of reality including any numinous or transcendent dimension(s) as well as the mundane is encompassed by the Ama-Father.
Now I am not overly familiar with Wicca since after doing some reading on that path early on in my teenage years its emphasis (at least in the materials I read) on male-female polarity and fertility just didn’t ring a bell for me, but I’ve been poking around on the interwebs very recently and coming across some similarities in some Wiccans’ conceptions of the All. But this is a matter I am still needing to research, as well as the Hindu concepts of Brahman.
Right now what I am developing in regard to my beliefs about Deity in the sense of the All is based largely on my own introspection, so I need to put that out there, and I would be interested in further reading if anyone has any recommendations on this topic. I do believe in research in developing my spirituality, and I know that is important on the cauldron. But on some spiritual matters I tend to intuit first, then do research, and if and when I find similarities in other paths with my intuitions, this is a sort of confirmation for me and opportunity to further develop my ideas and intuitions more coherently. So that’s how I go about this. It can be a slow process, but I enjoy it. Some intuitions I discard upon research, others are confirmed.
One thing I have come across in Wicca is the idea that all gods are one god and all goddesses are one goddess. This is incompatible with my beliefs. Although the All is a One in the sense of a Whole, there are still distinct parts within that Whole. We are distinct beings, albeit interdependent. I may eat a good meal, but that won’t feed the world. So while the gods — whatever their nature is, I do not take firm positions on these matters other than affirming that there is a “matter” that we are dealing with in some way, shape, or form — may be manifestations of the All in particular forms, as every being and thing is in some way, I do not believe they are all one except insofar as everything and every being is interdependent. Interdependence does not negate individuality.
That’s all I have time for at the moment. Any commentary, personal insights, or research recommendations would be greatly appreciated! As always, thanks for reading.
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