Freedom from Religion

A quick story: A woman approaches me while I sit alone at my favy coffee shop. I am wearing headphones, reading some Shaman wisdom cards and writing in my journal about my need to pursue some form of spirituality without clinging to absolute truths. She sees the box of wisdom cards, interrupts my quiet time and asks me why I am seeking wisdom when “God is all I need.” It was “the Lord” who put this on her heart to say to me and it was “the Lord” who she has been following for 39 years. Unsolicited, she offers me Jesus, a Bible tract and her testimony. Somehow, my urge to mock her is silenced by the genuine look in her eyes, as she tears up, talking about her “master” who, mind you, “wants to be your master too.” I want to tell her I’m a lesbian pagan-ish homospiritual person with a Bible College degree and a school girl’s crush on Jesus. Instead, I smile and I nod. I ask her for her name because I want to look up its meaning. She says she “really hopes I’ll look for God because He is just waiting for me to accept Him,” I wish her well and I thank her kindly for following her heart.

I found out her name means “soft and tender” and it occurs to me… If only her religion was as soft and tender as her name and her face. 

But as my hands started to shake and my head started to spin after she walked out the door, I knew that what she was offering was toxic to me not because I don’t want Jesus but because I don’t want a “Lord” who speaks so intrusively and with such authority into someone else’s life.

When will people tire of questioning others about how they live their lives? When will “well-meaning Christians” accept me for who I am, just as I am? When will we truly coexist and cease needing to rescue one another with our spiritual choices?

Maybe I’ll ask my cards.

Until then, I celebrate that one thing is for sure: While I may not be able to forget the wounds from religious abuse at the hands of Christians, I do have freedom to pursue spirituality in whatever form I deem necessary, appropriate or supportive to me. And I do have the power of free thought, to question all that I have experienced. That, my friends, is freedom from religion… and it’s my unalienable right as a human on this beautiful Earth.

(P.S. Maybe some day I’ll share what I read in the cards… oddly enough, it had something to do with Father Sky and following the Great Spirit towards all things good. “Christian Tarot card readings,” next on For Gail So Loved the World ;0)  JUST KIDDING! )

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