Millennium Memoir
Moon and Stars . .

12.6.1999

Crisis of Faith

Past

If you had asked me, when I was ten years old, if I believed in God, the answer you would have gotten, would have been an unqualified and wholehearted "Yes."

I sang enthusiastically during the service, knew almost every part of the service by heart, and on days when I didn't want to go to church with my family, I would put on the Sunday morning worship broadcast on the BBC and pray along with it. I would get a piece of bread and a tin cup of water, or some grape juice and take communion with the people on TV.

I loved Sunday School; learning about the stories from the Bible, the life of Jesus and how to be good. I loved the social hour that took place afterwards when the large auditorium/gymnastics room beneath the church, was filled from one end to the other with adults and kids, juggling sherries and beers and orange sodas from the bar in the side of the room.

There was a stage on one end of this space, with heavy red velvet curtains, saturated with dust, behind which was stored a stack of old chairs and abadoned pews and wooden crucifixes. We children could play for hours on end, it seemed in the heavy dusty skirts, without ever tiring of the mysterious allure of the shady storage space beyond.

It was a mark of maturity to finally be allowed to move up into the class that took place in the room called "the Grotto" -- a cave-like room behind the bar where all of the older kids went for their Sunday School classes. When you were in "the Grotto" you were finally learning the more serious stuff, we had actual Bibles to read from and various other instructional materials of a more serious nature than those which were used in the classes for younger children.

I was ten when I first moved up to the Grotto, and I was very excited about it. In fact, I came home from my first Sunday of class in the Grottoe ecstatic and exuberant, feeling as if somehow, I'd finally arrived.

Church and Sunday School, were one of the cornerstones of my life. They held down the end of the week, as surely as going back to school on Monday supported the beginning of the week. My world was bounded by school and school friends, Sunday School and Sunday School friends, outings with my mother and brothers, family dinners with everyone at the table, afternoon playtime and cartoons and nights of reading, or being read to.

At ten, I couldn't imgaine life being any different.

Present

Today, I am confronted by a crisis of faith.

It began, unsurprisingly, during my adolescence. The sureness that had informed my late childhood, was eroded by my questioning spirit and my growing awareness of the world beyond the bounds of my family life.

The simplicity of my days was coming to an end, along with the end of innocence. While I continued to attend church for many years, I began to question blind faith, to push beyond the boundaries of the teachings of the church, searching for more answers than the liturgy had to give.

By the time I got to college, any trace of my former devout self was almost completely erased, tempered by learning about other religions, other ways of looking at the world.

For years now, I have been content with a very vague definition of my beliefs. I am both spirtual and moral, but I do not suscribe to any one faith -- all have seemed to narrow, too confining, too tainted by mistakes of the past.

But yesterday, I stumbled across some Born-Again sites, that brought up some intelligent points about Christianity, that woke up something that had been sleeping inside of me.

All of a sudden I am no longer quite as content with the amorphous nature of my beliefs, the absence of faith in my life.

While I do not long for the unquestioning acceptance of my youth, I feel as if something is missing and I am restless, dislodged from my comfortable niche and sent searching once more, in a new crisis of faith.

Moonlit Trees . .

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