Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My place of worship

Living in the Bible Belt, I had to get used to folks being very forthright in promoting their faith.  Although raised as a very church-going Catholic by a devout mother, the Midwesterners I grew up with were much more introverted about their worship and kept their faith seemingly private, whereas the Southern Baptists and other faiths here in Texas often prosthelytize, making it their mission to have others join their faith and congregations.  I respect and admire the courage they have to spread The Word, and I certainly see the merits of worshipping within a church's walls and community.  I very much enjoyed the structure of religion growing up, and the rites and passages were beautiful and memorable.
However, at this point in my life, I consider myself a very faithful person, just not a religious one.  These are my pews.  When we had our deck redone recently and after it had been stained/water-sealed, I remarked to Husband that the benches had the same color as the pews in the Catholic church I attended growing up. 
It is here that I enjoy God's blessings most as I am surrounded by love and beauty and grace at nature's pulpit.  And I thank God most fervently for all of these gifts.


Deb said...

I have to agree with you girl...church can be any where you are...not just in a building on Wednesday night or Sunday morning...I love your church

Allison said...

I can truly relate. This spring when I was coming out of the great darkness I've already told you about, I found myself in church one morning hearing God whisper to me that I didn't belong there today...that I belonged in the forest with Jesus.

For the first time in my life, I got up and walked quietly out of church. I changed into jeans and walked out into the forest, up into the mountains, and sat down on a simple wooden bench that looks not unlike your "pews" here. I sat down and let Jesus come upon me, and minister to me.

My spiritual life has not been the same since. There is a lot less fluff and circumstance, and a lot more honest living by His side, simply walking together and learning as I go.

I have said to my own hubby that if I were to ever leave the church we go to now, that I may take a long stretch of time to just worship alone. There is something to say for being alone with God...

Have you ever read Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton? It is wonderful...something to take out on your deck of an evening. Wish I could pop over with my copy and sit on your pews with some ice tea and read a page or two. ;) Beautiful post!

Liesl said...

I love your new header! To me Religion is very much about the content of a persons heart,no matter the name of their religion...I think you are spoiled rotten to have such a stunning place of worship,all your own!

Nancy said...

I grew up without a real identity as far as religion goes -- my parents were religious/spiritual Methodists, but not devout church-goers. Easter and Christmas Eve were the only two times we would go to church as a family.

Now that I'm older and wiser (I hope,) I have developed my own personal thoughts on organized religion that don't usually fit match those of my family or community. But that's okay -- I believe in a "live and let live" philosophy as far as one's religious beliefs are concerned. Whatever works is fine by me.

I love the fact you have a special place to think and ponder about things. Very nice post, T. And your feet are cute! :)

Melodie said...

God does not care about church ,he cares about your heart! Many people need church for their journey,many more do not.I am one of those who find I am closer to God when it is just me and him but since I have a child we go to church faithfully so he can be involved with other Christians,especially other kids. I think you have a beautiful church!

Sharon said...

I LOVE your place of worship! Excellent!

Farm Girl said...

I agree with every word you say. It has been my experience as well.
Thanks for sharing

Dawn said...

Oh I could hug you for being honest...It is hard to find that around here lately on this issue. And I struggle with this alone.
I have not been to church in 2 and a half years (gasp)- to the horror of many here. I was RAISED in the church and went 3 times a week.
In the last couple years my faith has been shaken by "the church" and i have reached a valley so deep I never thought I would get out of.
I am.
I have shed "Religion" to find God.
And it is people like you who understand.
Wish I could go to "your church" with you:)
Thank you for this post.
You have brought me one step farther out of this valley.
(I just finished reading a book called, "Divine Nobodies" by Jim Palmer.....it was a "lifesaver" for me. On this very topic.)

Have a wonderful new day!
:)))))) (You put a smile in my heart....)

Dawn said...

And I love your new header:)

Louise said...

Sometimes I envy those people who find comfort in organized religion. They have their rituals and shared beliefs to fall back on. But, like you, I will meet my God in the woods and meadows, where his work is more in evidence.

Winchester said...

That is very inspiring.

texwisgirl said...

Thanks, all, for your wonderful comments. I struggled with whether or not to post this one. I didn't want to offend anyone, but also realize I don't share too much really personal stuff with you all and I wanted to be honest about who I am, here and now. Glad to hear many of you practice the same "faith of the heart." :)

Thanks, Allison and Dawn. I will look into both of those books.

Nancy, thanks for saying my feet are cute! I am built for power, not for speed, and my short, stubby feet and toes reflect that. If I'm not careful, I can turn into one of those old-time refrigerators - you know the ones, about 5'4", stout and sturdy with lots of rounded corners... :)

bon bon said...

amen, sister. when i visit my grandma, i know God. no one is a better example of showing love and compassion for her fellow man (and beast). she has no possessions worth mentioning and her home and body are deteriorating around her, yet she (and grandpa) have shared their home and meals with many less fortunate. and i could not begin to count the number of stray cats and dogs people have just dumped off at their farm thinking one more won't be noticed. they would simply buy another loaf of day-old bread and skim a little more cream off the tank in the milkhouse to cover it...

living by example is the best religion.

Allison said...

Dawn, your comment about shedding religion to find God has been so true in my life, too! I wish we could all get together and share our experiences...maybe laugh, maybe cry. But finding who God really is? First we'd have to shed ALL our ideas of who He is and what we think He wants, which is most definately not what we think! :)

I came so close to scrapping everything last year. Truly, I would have if it hadn't been for a friend who brought some simple and raw truth from all the chaos that is organised religion. I understand the valley you speak of here! I spent years in a very conservative church, but I wouldn't want to live that way again - not ever. God is much too ferocious and delightfully wild in my mind to be put in a tiny box.

I have loved reading all these comments! And here I was thinking I was all alone in my quest for Truth! Thank you for this, texwisgirl (though I wish I could call you by your real name!) xoxo

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Well done, and well said!

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