Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lack of structure

    In my last blog, I talked about how I had finally done away with the "Christian" label after holding on to it since early childhood. It has now been half a year since I decided on that and one of the downsides that I have found is that it's been increasingly difficult to structure my "spiritual life" since.

    I mean, when I was a Christian, finding structure to my spiritual life was rather easy. Preschool easy, actually. There was going to church on Sundays (of course), youth group on Wednesdays as well as Bible study and worship band practice on other random days of the week. Not to mention that in between all that there was prayer, Christian friends on and offline, individual Bible reading and probably enough Christian books to fill every football field in the NFL. There is simply no shortage of avenues for Christians to explore their spirituality in a structured way.

    I say this not to complain about Christianity but only to say that once you distance yourself from that culture it  just becomes hard to know what to do with yourself. I suspect this to be one of the reasons why many people who leave such a culture and it's beliefs eventually become staunch agnostics or atheists -- there's just no structure for their remaining spiritual ideas to thrive in. It's also part of why I am much less zealous than I once was in changing the minds of others to my line of thinking -- it's a lonely road (at times) to travel that can result in a complete shut out of spiritual ideas and I don't want to be the cause of that (I also have no idea if I am correct on anything in the first place). That's not to say there is nothing for those of us outside the Christian culture but there is considerably less and even less so for the growing number of us who don't necessarily identify with any religious label. 

    In addition to there not being as much structure available for me, I think there is also not much trust or faith left within me to give to any other potential structure. For once you lose faith that a single religion and it's culture magically contains all the answers to life's greatest mysteries, you can easily become disenchanted with virtually all beliefs and any structure you could potentially arrange them into. It's like how we sometimes can be with relationships--we give our absolute all to one or more of them, that when and if they do break down it can be hard to give the same kind of trust and passion to any other relationship again.

    Perhaps part of the problem may be that I'm not entirely sure what it is I'm looking for. I think the Unitarian Universalists have a bit of a good idea, based on what I got to experience in boot camp. All religions being viewed as equally valid spiritual avenues is a refreshing idea. Unfortunately,we do not have a group of them on base in Cuba and the online community seems to be lacking.

     I guess I'm kind of half expecting to know what it is I'm looking for when I see it. I miss the community and structure of a church, so much so that I've thought about attending the Christian church here on base for the bit of sustenance I can get from it (since I can't go anywhere else in Cuba. I'm in Guantanamo Bay now, if you weren't already aware). Of course, I am reluctant to follow through with that based on the bad taste I have gotten from church in the past, despite the many potential good things about it. I may give it a shot anyway just to meet some people and get the spiritual gears turning in my head again but we'll see.

    Maybe I'm just making this all too complicated, as I do with most things.