Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Blended Spirituality

Until I found Anglicanism when I was about 21, I identified with Catholicism. But I fell so entirely in love with Anglicanism and identified so entirely with it, that for that last 20 years, I have had a difficult time not saying, "I'm Episcopalian" or "I'm Anglican" (and, the truth is I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church). Now, my progression has gone from High Church Episcopal to High Church independent Anglicanism to Low Church independent Anglicanism, but an Anglican I remain.

However, about 22 years ago I was introduced to Buddhism, and it also deeply influenced my spiritual path. My initial exposure was to Nichiren Buddhism and about a decade later I would discover Zen Buddhism, but Buddhism would come to shape my understanding of divinity, and of Jesus, and Buddhist meditation would become a lasting part of my spiritual practice.

I went through a Charismatic phase when I was 19. The mystical element of glossalalia, the strong faith in the power of prayer to heal, and the joyous worship celebrations were appealing, but much of the obsession with evil and the belief that Christianity (and a fairly narrow understanding of it) was the only legitimate faith experience made it impossible for me to sustain that path.

I also went through a Wiccan phase (a couple of times actually), and while I still respect its connectedness to the Earth, its sex-positive spirituality, and its gender-balanced view of divinity, it hasn't had the same last lasting impact on me that other traditions have.

I considered Reconstructionist Judaism (seriously) during a difficult moment, but before I could pursue it too far, opportunities arose that kept me on my (mostly) Christian path.

The other big player in my personal religious drama is New Thought, specifically Religious Science (aka The Science of Mind). The first sermon I ever preached was in a New Thought church (Unity). I became a certified Reiki Master, and I earned a Certificate from the College of Divine Metaphysics (in addition to my "real" degrees from more prestigious schools). I've also taken Science of Mind classes, A Course in Miracles, and I am a member of the International New Thought Alliance. But within the New Thought movement (and Divine Science, Religious Science, and Unity all speak to me in some way or the other), Religious Science best reflects my understandings, my hopes, and the way that I pray.

I'm ordained in an ecumenical tradition (Metropolitan Community Churches) and in the Old Catholic tradition (which can include Anglicanism, and for me does). So what am I? A Christian Metaphysician? A New Thought Christian? A Religious Scientist? A Buddhist-Christian? A Universalist? A Panentheist? A Religious Humanist? A de facto Unitarian Universalist (and I have enjoyed attending a few UU churches as well)? An Inter-religious minister? Perhaps a New Thought Zen Anglican?!

The truth is, any of these terms would be accurate for me, and none of them can pin down the complexity of a life-long spiritual journey. I am Anglican. I am also a Buddhist-Christian. I am also a New Thought practitioner.

In our label loving culture, it would be nice if I could think of a simple one or two word term to give myself and live with it for the rest of time...but my spiritual path has never been that limited. So, I'm just a spiritual seeker and life-long learner. But if I need a label, I might go with Buddhist-Christian, or Anglican, or Religious Scientist, or Anglican Unitarian...oh hell, it just can't be done. I'm religiously polyamorous, always have been and apparently always will be.

1 comment:

豪杰 said...

You might liek this blog then:

Ecumenical Buddhism. It seems right up your alley!