I have posted a new article for theÂ Milwaukee Examiner titled “My faith (part I) – The beginning”
I was brought up Methodist, but my family stopped going to church when I was probably 8 or 9. Of course, like any child I was happy about not going anymore, because I had better things to do, like play with my G.I. Joe’s or watch TV, than to sit still while listening to adults talk about stuff that was not interesting or fun. At home we never talked about religion. It was not a topic we avoided or anything, but it was just not a topic of real interest for our family.
For most of my life religion has had not much of a place in my daily life or thoughts. It was not that I actively avoided it, but I just never had any interest or immediate need for it. When I was in the navy on the USS Enterprise and in the middle of the Mediterranean I went to a few non-denominational services, but that was about the extent of my interest in religion until I was in my very, very early 30’s (being that I’m 36 now).
It was not until I became more interested in supporting gay rights in the last 6 or so years that I became interested in religion. The fundamentalist and uber-conservative religions being its most vocal opponents made studying Christianity more of a priority. Once I started to do that I started to question things such as morality, religion, sexuality, evolution, creation, marriage, God, faith, organized religion, our calendar and all sorts of other things. I also came to wonder what exactly it is that I believe about these sorts of things since I had never really thought about it before. I had the default Christian theological and socio-cultural values handed to me by virtue of being an American growing up in the southern Wisconsin. In thinking and reading about all of this I have come to find out that I had a lot of catching up to do.
Finding my way through a self inquisition of my personal beliefs has been a very educational and enlightening experience. Half of my journey has been figuring out what it is I think or believe, and the other half is finding the appropriate label for it. We, as humans, need labels for things, so we know where we stand in reference to others and so we know which group we are similar with and belong too. It is that ‘descriptive word to concept’ need as well as the baser need for tribal membership pushing me ahead. I have come up with the concepts of evolutionary creationism, Age-Day Creationism, and the International Fixed Calendar on my own and found out that someone else had already done the work for me. It was wonderful to know that I was not alone, or off my rocker, as I have many times thought.
In my search for understanding of my beliefs and the world in a moral and/or secular/theological manner I have found a home of like-minded individuals and of a theology that is amenable to my beliefs as I explore them. I have found that home in at Park Hall with the Free Congregation of Sauk CountyÂ which is aÂ Unitarian UniversalistÂ and the German Free Thought congregation.