I've lived out here going on 5 (!!) years now and there is a person out here who, almost every time I see them, asks "Are you going to church this Sunday?"
I know that this person doesn't read my blog, but even if they did, that's alright because I think it would help reassure this person that I'm not some non-believer. Quite the contrary, I consider myself a veryFaithful person, but I don't consider myself a Religious person.
What's the difference? Well, let me explain when I decided I couldn't be a Religious person anymore. When I was younger, say mid-teens I went to church on a regular basis and some older friends of mine had decided to become Missionaries and believe it or not I was even thinking about that too. I couldn't think of anything better then spreading the word of a loving and caring Heavenly Father through the word of his Son, Jesus Christ. And then our Preacher of many years retired and our church hired a new Preacher.
I went to his first Sunday sermon and left knowing I would never return. Our last Preacher spoke of God's love, of Jesus' kindness and acceptance of all people. Our new Preacher spoke about how anyone not of our faith was going to you-know-where and that they were all terrible sinners and we needed to do everything in our power to convert them.
At the time I had many close friends of many different faiths and they were all very Religious people. I couldn't believe that the loving God that I had been taught about throughout my life would condemn someone to you-know-where just because they had found a different path to believing in Him. So, that was when I decided I would be a Faithful Believer since I didn't feel comfortable being a Religious Believer.
I don't believe in having my children taught that people of other faiths are evil and wrong. I mean just because the Dalai Lhama isn't of my Religion, he's not going to Heaven? Or how about the Pope, he's Christian but not Baptist, so that means he's gonna be turned away from the Pearly Gates? I don't believe so.
I just decided that if Heaven was going to exclude all my friends and family who didn't practice my Religion then it just wouldn't be Heaven and the kind and loving God that I believed in wouldn't allow that type of Heaven to exist.
So, I consider myself a Faithful person, just not a Religious one. How do I practice my faith you may ask? Well, everyday I give thanks to the Heavens above that I have two healthy children and a healthy husband. I give Thanks when we all return home safe and sound, because I know that there are people who have someone they love who isn't coming home that night.
I send up a prayer of thanks when I have to mow my lawn because I know there are many who are physically unable to do so or don't have a home of their own anymore. I'm thankful for having a good job and great co-workers, because I know there are many who don't have jobs during this tough economy.
I say a prayer over the checks I send for donations to the various Vetrans organizations and when I put change in the Salvation Army buckets at Christmas and for the money I put in the Fill-the-Boot campaign and of course when I fill out a card showing I donated money around Labor Day for the MDA Telethon.
Everytime I donate I say a prayer that the money I give will bring a wounded Veteran a little closer to getting the prosthetic limb he or she needs since they were severly wounded by a roadside bomb or that one more person without a home will find help at the local Salvation Army shelter or that a scientist will be brought one step closer to a cure for MD or MS.
Just because I don't go to a church every Sunday, put my money into the plate they pass around, sing hymns and listen to a sermon that may or may not reflect my true beliefs, doesn't mean I'm not a Faithful Believer, it just means I don't believe I have to go to Sunday Service every Sunday to practice my beliefs, I try to practice it every day. And I try to show my children every day by my example.
So, far I've been very happy with how they have turned out. My son has friends of many faiths, including the son of the Hindi manager of the motel and my daughter plays with children of every race and religion equally. Just like in the song "Jesus Loves the Little Children", red and yellow, black and white, she plays with everyone. Now if I could get them to clean their rooms and help ME around the house more, I'd be doing real well. Guess that's just one more thing for me to pray about I guess, while I mow my lawn on Sunday morning, watching cars pass by full of people on their way to Church.