The road from evangelical Christianity to where I’m at now has been a pretty long road filled with both times of spiritual peace and spiritual angst. Currently, I feel like I’ve entered another period of peace and I’m not entirely sure why. One thought that I had today is that perhaps it’s because I am finally begining to "let go" of Christianity a whole year after giving up the Christian label.
I think before giving up the label I spent a good couple years working through various theological ideas (as documented in this blog) to help justify my faith because I simply could not see my spiritual experience apart from it. After I gave up the label this past year, I spent the majority of the time feeling confused on just how to edify myself spiritually without a rigid system and community to guide me. I knew that my old ideas and ways of doing things simply wouldn't do but yet I felt a sense of emptiness without anything to replace them with. I struggled to figure out what spirituality outside of religion was supposed to look like...only to conclude that the idea of it needing to look like anything was just another byproduct of the religious mindset I had tried so hard to overcome.
In another sense, “letting go” is no longer feeling a strong need to help instigate or stimulate change within the religious systems as a whole…at least, not in an active sense. I have great respect for those that are devoted to those systems and seem to be benefiting from it. I also have great respect for those that do feel an active need to stimulate change within those systems. For me though, I’m starting to feel that people find what they are looking for when they really need it. People that are truly in a state of cognitive dissonance will pursue what they need to recapture their spiritual equilibrium, which in some cases means dropping spirituality altogether. The best thing I can do is focus on my own spiritual well-being and if “fate” has it, I will be able to assist someone else if and when the need arises.
I've just become aware of how much mental and emotional energy I have put towards this Christian/institutional religion thing that I don't even identify with anymore. Perhaps to some extent it was necessary to sort of work through my new ideas but at some level I think it's prevented my own healing and progress. I wasn't allowing myself to enjoy the extent of spiritual freedom. It's like constantly talking about an ex-girlfriend that you've long since ended things with but are still rehashing the events that led to the break and the painful aftermath in an attempt to warn the current boyfriend. Not only are you going to piss of the boyfriend, you're just reopening your own wounds for no reason and not being mindful of the opportunities before you.
It's not that I have to swear off ever thinking or talking about it again, but there is simply so much more to explore and focus on. I've said what I've needed to say regarding it. The "good" fruit grown in my time as a Christian I have carried with me and I have discarded the "bad". There isn't really any point in wrestling with it or trying to get others to wrestle with it. I have a journey that I am on and others have theirs.