During 2011 I did something on this blog that I have rarely done before: speak openly about my progressive religious views. Both of my parents came from families that were deeply religious in orthodox, literalist ways. My mother’s brother remained true to the conservative beliefs of his Baptist church until the day he died. Late in their lives my mother and her sister dared to ask themselves a few shocking questions, like, “Were Adam and Eve real people? Is Satan real? Are Eden and Hell real places?” but they too remained closely tied to their churches to the end.
My father’s parents were strict Baptists. To my knowledge, Daddy was not religious in their way, but he did attend church and sing in the choir. And I have no doubt whatsoever that his gnawing guilt over having blatantly broken the 7th Commandment had something to do with his death from a heart attack at the age of 43.
Being raised in this kind of environment naturally had an effect on me. Completely unaware of the negative side effects of my religion, I became deeply “religious” at the age of 17. But the unresolved issues of parents are always passed down to their children, and the more unconscious these issues are, the more powerfully they seek resolution in those who inherit them.
Thus, in retrospect I can see that my most pressing issues are all about trying to heal my parents and rectify their mistakes. The themes of my work are empowering femininity, (my mother aligned herself with the masculine values of “tunneling through the mountain” while repressing her feminine, feeling and nurturing, “river going around the mountain” side); and uniting masculinity and femininity (my parents divorced, after all) in my psyche, relationships, and God-image.
Anyway, back to this blog. When I finally found the courage to write openly and honestly, I discovered to my great surprise that my progressive thinking was not only accepted, but the posts from 2011 receiving the highest number of views were almost always about religion! In fact, my Dec. 14th post titled “How’s Your God-Image Working For You?” received an all-time high of 257 views in one day! Being surrounded by religious literalists for most of my life had pretty much convinced me that my views would be perceived as heretical by most people, yet every single comment in response to my religious posts has been overwhelmingly positive!
I can’t adequately express just how affirming, freeing and empowering this is. It has given me the confidence to recommend an extraordinary book I’ve just finished. I don’t do this often, but this one is simply a must-read for anyone questioning traditional religious beliefs. Written by N.M. Freeman it’s titled “The Story of Q” and is about the many ways in which people are effected by religion. It’s deceptively simple on the surface, but deeply profound, and although a fictional novel, it’s based on actual historical events. This book is truly mind-expanding and I suspect will be life-changing for many who read it. Why? Because in language anyone can understand, it blasts religious literalism right out of the water and reveals the true, historical, underlying meaning of the Bible and all religious scriptures, showing them not to be about “right belief,” but about opening to the soul’s journey through life.
If this sounds at all interesting to you, I hope you’ll give yourself a special gift this year and read “The Story of Q.” (I’ve already ordered six more copies for gifts.) And please let me know how it touches your soul. Happy New Year, dear friends, and thank you for your readership!
I too have suffered from despair since childhood. It began at the age of 11 when my father died. To this day there are many occasions in my daily life when I cannot get excited about something because I know it will not last and my pleasure will not last and I will die and nobody will care and nothing I have done will make any difference, and so what?