Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Questions to Consider

The questions I occasionally post, with my answers interspersed, come from a Christian confirmation book designed to help guide the confirmand in finding their faith and their center. I have been going through the book for a few reasons, but mostly because the questions are darn good ones, regardless of your religion or belief set. These are MY answers.

What are some of the times when you have been aware of God's presence with you?

I have had many times when I was aware of the presence of my gods. Some have been quite dramatic, and other times (most of the time) it's been fairly subtle. Generally, if I feel a need to reach out, or if I feel separated from the gods in some way, then I can settle and meditate, or make offerings of water or barley groats, or even just of myself offering thanks. When grief or pain comes over me, I often feel their presence, cradling me and holding me. This is much the same thing experienced by my Christian friends, and my other religious friends.

What experiences, events, or people have helped you to know of God's presence?

Well, I met Hecate as a small child (though I did not know that it was her until many years later). Dionysos I met as an adult. Hecate came of her own accord, but Dionysos found me through Neos Alexandria and Sannion and others, who helped me find direction and focus. The Christian god I met through my church and my sisterwife. There are others I sought out, or who sought me. I think I could summarize it by saying that gods find me and touch me mostly through other people, at least in the beginning. After time, the connection is formed directly, but when we start it's almost invariably through the other people in my life.

How have your family, friends, or members of the church helped you in your faith journey?

My family supports my faith journey wholeheartedly. They're supporting me financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually as I go through the seminary process at The New Seminary. My friends are counted in that number as well. The most surprising place that I've found support is in my church, though. Considering I'm an openly Hellenic polytheist going to a Christian church, they have embraced me and held me (and not proselytized, I might add). They have been confused, uneducated, and even uncomfortable with my path, but never has anyone denounced me or made me to feel unwanted or unloved. Quite the contrary. They have encouraged me to explore my own path and how it intersects peaceably with Christianity. They have invited me to preach, and listened and asked questions after. It's been an incredible and uplifting experience.

What qualities or traits might someone else see in you that show your faith?

There are a few physical things I do which stand out, like covering my hair when I am in the presence of the Olympic gods, or refusing to have bound hair at weddings and funerals and such. However, I think the thing which makes me stand out most is my habit of prayer. I may not say the same words, necessarily, as my Christian friends. Yet they see the faith in my words and my thoughts, and they see the devout belief when I bow my head in prayer. I feel the most connected to my gods (in general) during very deep meditative prayer.

What qualities or traits do you hope God will help you develop as your faith grows?

It is my hope that I will grow to be tolerant and understanding of all religious paths, and be able to minister to and help anyone who needs a helping hand. I hope that my patience will be nurtured into a flowering plant (it's rather sparse and weedy right now LOL). I also hope that my actual devotions become easier to do. Sometimes I find I get bogged down in all the day-to-day things, and I become spiritually lazy and unwilling to go out into the cold dark to worship alone.

Even though our faith journeys and experiences are unique, have you discovered ways your story connects to the story of others?

I have found myriad ways in which my spiritual path has run alongside other people's paths. I have a similar parental background as Pastor Alison had. I have the same "need for geek" that our new pastor, Rev. David, has. I connect with some of the older, more conservative members of the church in my politics and the application of my beliefs. There are so many ways that my spiritual life touches gently with others'!
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