Monday, May 12, 2008

Ecletic spirituality

I read an essay today about eclectic spirituality. I think that describes my path up to now. I was raised Roman Catholic and after I was confirmed, just drifted away. It wasn't until last year that I found out that my mother had converted to Catholicism when my sister was 9, and had been raised Protestant. After all, I am from a good Irish family. I assumed that my mother had been raised Catholic as well, but alas, all those years of identifying with my long-standing Papist roots were for naught.

My mother told me when I asked her about it that part of our family had been Catholic, but that her paternal grandfather hated blacks and Catholics with equal ire. It felt like a natural thing to her though, and she felt called to it, and converted towards the end of her first marriage.

I don't think my mother has set foot in church since I stopped going either. My dad made a brief foray into Baptist church (no idea which kind) when he was in an an assisted living facility in eastern PA. He seemed to enjoy that. Then the Mormons came to his assisted living facility in Central PA and dragged him off and baptized him and wanted to make him an Elder. I always thought that they must have been pretty desperate for souls if they wanted to make a pretty seriously brain damaged and falling into dementia old man one of their respected elders, but he got sick of them bugging him and thought that going to church all day on Sundays was boring and useless, so he quit going. Now he seems to enjoy the non-denominational Christian service at his nursing home as much as he enjoys anything. I do know that he has a strong belief in a Christian God though.

I haven't told my mother yet that I'm going to apply to seminary. we have a difficult relationship at the best of times, and I just don't have any desire to have a discussion about it. I recently told my sister, with somewhat selfish intent, since she lives near the seminary I want to attend and would like to stay with her during my intensives. She was gleeful. "Now I'll have someone to marry all these kids!" If they wait that long, I'm good for it!

Anyway, after leaving the Catholic faith (I'm another one of those many reformed Catholic UUs), I turned to agnosticism for a long time, then to some earth-based interests for a few years. I still enjoy celebrating the seasons, and feel strongly about the earth/mind/body connection and the circle of life being paramount. Then I found the UU. I enjoy a mix of Buddhist, Pagan, Christian, and other practices and dogma nowadays, but if I had to choose an umbrella to live under,I'm a UU Humanist. and am even fascinated with the whole concept of Intelligent Design, although not the Christian version created to circumvent the Supreme Court. I'm mostly fascinated with the idea, and the designer need not be "supernatural" (aka God). Just interesting stuff,that's all.

Well, I started this post yesterday and have somewhat lost the thread, but eclectic spirituality, yes. That's a good term for where I come from and where I'm going. And it ties into spiritual practice, because I can avoid the term discipline, and find a wide variety of ways to grow my spirit that appeal to my intellect, my heart, my mind, and my soul. Good stuff.

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