Friday, October 28, 2011

Embracing Faith Transition

Thank you Joanna Brooks for putting words to something I have felt often of late.
(This is an excerpt from a piece she wrote for the latest Exponent II magazine, called "Embracing Faith Transition" )

Here are the last few paragraphs.

My faith is not the same faith I had when I was sixteen years old. It isn’t without wrinkles, puckers, and scars. It isn’t perfect now, but really, it wasn’t perfect then either. It is not effortless, and it never has been. If I stood my faith naked before a crowd, some might say it isn’t very pretty. Not pretty at all. But it is my faith. It is hardworking, scarred, and muscular. It has been cut, pierced, torn, and reorganized beyond recognition. It has been fed, and it has fed others.

My faith is strong in the way a survivor’s body is strong. To survive, I let go of some once-precious parts of myself, parts of myself that others may have thought were special and beautiful. But these parts were not healthy any more. They were making me sick. And my survival was more important than holding onto them. They have gone, and my faith has a new silhouette.

My faith has been through some major transitions, and it continues to change. It may not be pretty, but just look how many miles my faith has carried me. I can say: I have lived, I have lived, and my spirit is stronger still.

Of late my faith is changing, is transitioning. I don't know precisely how it all will come out. Part of me has feared to say anything, lest I make others uncomfortable or worried about me, yet honesty and authenticity demand that I speak. Know that I am not doing anything rashly. I am studying with my mind and my heart, seeking the Spirit, searching the scriptures, and trying to follow as I feel led. "A mind, once stretched, can never return to its original dimensions" said Oliver Wendell Holmes, and so too with spirituality and faith. I learn things, I experience things, I understand things in new ways, and I cannot return to the simple faith I had when I was younger. I share my journey with you here both for the sake of honesty, and also because I know that I am not the only one who journeys. I have updated the "My Faith" tab here on the blog. I have added a section at the end for the series of posts which traces my journey. I claim Mormonism as my heritage, my culture, and my center, but I am no longer the vanilla mormon that I was. I'm butter brickle, or strawberry swirl, or cookie dough fudge crunch, or perhaps all of them all mixed up. I'm more complicated than I was--as is appropriate for one who is no longer a child--and my faith is more complicated as well. This is part of why I wrote about being a Big Tent Mormon--because I think that the time is coming--or has come--when it will take a big tent to hold this mormon.

(PS, are you suddenly craving ice cream? Because I totally am. mmmmm.)

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