Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
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06-02-2012, 09:34 PM
Star Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
Hi all,

Valerie here, nice to finally join ya's. What an interesting journey from "there" to "here." I wonder if I can sum it up nicely without boring you all. I'm not exactly known for brevity.

Funny, when I was a little girl, I was always jealous of my friends who went to church, Sunday School, or catechism class. I yearned for God and religion, but my mom and step-dad weren't religious. Mom used to say we were Protestant (to get my Baptist grandmother to quit trying to evangelize me), but that was lip service only; it didn't actually *mean* anything, except maybe that we weren't Jewish and we celebrated Christmas.

When I visited my dad at age 12 for the first time, I got my first bible; a huge illustrated children's version. There were misgivings about my dad, but I was glad for the bible stories.

At 14, Mom took us to the new Lutheran church in town; she kinda' quit going by default, but I kept at it-it was close so I could walk. I made friends with the pastor's wife, and am still friends with them today. They were pretty liberal, nonea' that business about homosexuality being a sin. I was pretty naive, so I didn't know what it was all about, but I enjoyed the service, singing, ritual, and sermon.

In my senior year of high school, I befriended an underclassman who dabbled in Wicca, and I took an interest in magick, and increased my interest in psychic phenomenon (which I'm not entirely sure is *completely* invalid). I continued going to church.

At 19, during rehab for a dislocated knee, I met Eugene, one of my therapists, who was an evangelical Christian. I was intrigued by his message, and eventually had a sort of born-again experience. I renounced witchery and saw it as a threat. I bought a grown-up bible, and began reading in John, as Eugene suggested. I became a bit of a Jesus-freak (I can still hear the song in my head!). I attended tent revivals, bought myself witty t-shirts with evangelical messages, was crazy about those little Pass-it-On cards, I read the Bible, went to Bible studies at various churches, and continued attending church. I ended up switching churches when I moved; still Lutheran, but less liberal...being gay was a sin, but not talked about. I was a bit puffed up in my faith, thought I had the right way, the *only* way; I wanted everyone to have what I did--kind of like wanting to share your lottery winnings with your dearest loved ones. I reached out to Mom, and she went back to church and became a more conservative Christian. In time, thanks to a friend, I loosened my view of other faiths...I was still right, of course, but no longer considered them as below me. Luckily, I never was brave enough to go around saving souls, and Lutherans aren't really into that street evangelizing bit anyway.

At 25 I moved from my childhood suburban neighborhood to a college town teeming with diversity--people of color, different cultures and religions, the poor and the rich, the intellectuals, artists, and tree-huggers. So different than anything I'd ever been exposed to, and apparently exactly what I'd been craving all along. I went to a liberal Lutheran church, and in time grew inerested in embracing other faiths...I didn't necessarily believe their myths, but enjoyed them; I loved the music, symbolism, and ritual.... At some point in my first few years here, I had some cognitive dissonance going on, and approached an older friend of mine who I'd always seen as a mentor...and whatever she said to me, I just accepted it, sadly.

In 2009, I began attending the Unitarian Universalist church, because I wanted a place that encompassed all religions. Boy did I get more than I bargained for! I fell in love with their 7 Principles and focus on social and environmental justice, their non-creedal stance, the fact that here, "come as you are" is true. But I also felt as though there were a lot of people who came out of Christianity and were disparaging of it; I felt as if it wasn't OK to be a UU and still believe in the Trinity.

But I stayed, and came to a point where I asked myself, "Well what *do* I believe about Jesus?" I really didn't know. I visited my old church one day, and really stopped to think about the recitations of the creed, the words to the songs. It's funny, I could sing songs to Hanuman and Krishna all day long while not believing that they actually exist, but in my ambiguity about Jesus I was unable to participate, though I still believed in God.

February 21, 2011 my closest Friend, Michael, died. I never in the past looked to God when a loved one died, but to the person who died, believing they were in a perfected state. In April, I came across Philhellenes' YouTube video, "Science Saved My Soul." I cried, and watched it obsessively for weeks. I decided it doesn't really matter to me if God exists or not; this world is enough. I also encountered TTA and other creators of atheist content. I read "The God Delusion" (in so doing I perceived Dawkins to be quite cranky, and am glad I kept reading; I've seen some video clips of him and am rather endeared to him now). I eventually concluded that there's no God, but had trouble with the "no afterlife" part since I recently lost Michael. I still have trouble with that, only now it's because I've accepted the notion and it's a hard pill to swallow when thinking of loved ones past. I've no trouble at all contemplating my own death, so long as I live first.

I feel a little obsessed right now with all this; I s'pose it's normal, though. I've always been somewhat sheltered and never learned to think critically...this is going to be quite foreign to me, and empowering as I learn to stand on my own intellectual feet. I'm in love with the natural world and it's so wonderful now to be able to appreciate it without feeling obligated to attribute it to God. I plan Ooto read all the books on Philhellenes' recommended reading list (might take me quite a bit, but almost through with "Cosmos"). I so regret that I didn't get a chance to explore and appreciate Christopher Hitchens before he died. But so thankful he was here, and has left his treasures for me to find.

I commend and thank anyone who suffered with my babbling right to the end, especially if you needed to refill your coffee. Wink Apologies for any typos; did this on my phone. Looking forward to meeting and interacting with you, and learning....

~Valerie

Drinking Beverage Grab a cuppa' joe; sit-n-read my blog for a spell: www.vaweber.wordpress.com
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06-02-2012, 10:11 PM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
Welcome Valerie Smile

Nice post. Yes, the death thing can be a little scary but you will get through it. You can only grow from here.
Enjoy your stay.

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
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06-02-2012, 10:15 PM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
Wow, that's quite a journey!

Hope you have a good stay here. Smile
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06-02-2012, 10:27 PM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
I'm not sure if I'm more impressed by the details of your journey, or by the fact that you typed all that on your phone! Well done. And welcome to joining our little community here.
Thanks for the coffee. As someone from Seattle, I can tell you that was a pretty good cuppa' joe!

Smile

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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07-02-2012, 10:26 AM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
(06-02-2012 09:34 PM)ValerieAnn1975 Wrote:  In 2009, I began attending the Unitarian Universalist church, because I wanted a place that encompassed all religions. Boy did I get more than I bargained for! I fell in love with their 7 Principles and focus on social and environmental justice, their non-creedal stance, the fact that here, "come as you are" is true. But I also felt as though there were a lot of people who came out of Christianity and were disparaging of it; I felt as if it wasn't OK to be a UU and still believe in the Trinity.

Welcome aboard.

You do know that Unitarian means not Trinitarian. So it really wouldn't be OK to be Unitarian and believe in the Trinity.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2012, 12:33 PM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
Welcome Valerie! I'm very impressed that you typed that whole thing on your phone. I get fed up after trying to type a text of a single sentence! Big Grin

That was a good story, thank you for sharing! Many of us here have similar stories of searching and finally ending up at this logical point and realizing that now we are free to explore and think like we never were while in the bondage of religion.
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08-02-2012, 04:07 AM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
Hi and welcome

impressed (like the others) about the fact that you typed that on your phone. How long did that take you??
interesting journey!
Cookies? *offering* enjoy your stay

cheers

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08-02-2012, 07:05 PM
RE: Siddown wit a cuppa' joe while I say hullo an' tell ya's my story...
Thanks you guys Smile One day when I have more time I'd like to edit my post and add more detail, flesh it out some more...it's nice to have a little chronicle of where I've been.

(07-02-2012 10:26 AM)Chas Wrote:  Welcome aboard.

You do know that Unitarian means not Trinitarian. So it really wouldn't be OK to be Unitarian and believe in the Trinity.
Yes...and no. UU-ism has changed much over the years. All faiths are accepted. Hinduism has a bajillion gods (give or take); let's call Hindus Multi-tarian...there's no point for UUs to be anti-Trinitarian if they are open to Multi-tarians. Y'see? Cool

Takes for-EV-er to type on my phone. I have no car so I'm on the bus a lot; I usually don't do long posts from my phone, but if I have an itch to say something and can't get to a computer, I'll just copy my progress in case I lose the page, then finish it in increments. I think I get extra points for being almost typo-free. Angel

Happy trails and kitty tails,
Valerie

Drinking Beverage Grab a cuppa' joe; sit-n-read my blog for a spell: www.vaweber.wordpress.com
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