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So Lost....

(22 Posts)
Rinkydink Fri 22-Apr-05 19:43:10

Hi everyone, I'm new here, and thought this board might give me a little advice...
I was brought up C of E and went to Church as a child. My mom divorced my Dad when i was 7 and decided she was a lesbian. (Only for 17 years, she isn't any more!) She said the Church wouldn't accept us, so we never went back. A couple of years ago i looked into Paganism, but found it so lonely, and the local meetings were full of people i just couldn't take seriously.
I want to feel like i belong, like there is something more than this life, and people get what they deserve (good or bad) at the end of it all. I want something to depend on, to console me, to help me grow as a person, but have found nothing but unconvincing stories and emptiness.
What can i do? Where should i go? Any ideas???
Thanks for taking the time
xxx

toomanypushchairs Fri 22-Apr-05 19:51:17

Why wouldn't the church accept you? you didn't do anything wrong, and anyway, what about forgivness?

ionesmum Sat 23-Apr-05 17:15:19

It's not true that the church wouldn't accept you or your mum. Do you still feel as though you want to be a Christian?

Rinkydink Sat 23-Apr-05 17:48:48

My mom told me that after she had spoken to the vicar, and told him what was happening, he basically told her to choose between her new girlfriend/lifestyle, or the church. She chose girlfriend.
I love the sense of community, love and trust in the church, but i find it difficult to believe the Bible stories, and to think that praying might actually do anything. I dont want to offend any one, it's just a result of me looking at the world and how cruel it is, and wondering how any 'higher' being can let such terrible things happen.
But then i suppose, you could say, If there wasn't something looking out for us, things could be alot worse!
I'm a very practical, and down to earth person, and i find it hard to believe in something i cant see, hear, touch. It's like i'm looking for a good solid arguement so i can believe.

juniperdewdrop Sat 23-Apr-05 17:53:59

I'm sorry to hear you feel this way rinky. Is there another C of E Church you could try? I know gay lifestyles can be looked down on by christians (I'm one, though I don't look down on them) but I'm sure there are more liberated churchs out there. Have you searched online for gay christian support networks?
Please keep praying and I'm sure you'll get a sign/guidance soon. xxx

morningpaper Sat 23-Apr-05 17:57:43

Rinkydink: How do you feel when you go into a church? Do you feel happy there, or peaceful? I think if you associate positive feelings with a church, or with the christian life, that is a good place to start. The intellectual stuff can come later. There are lots of Christians (including myself) who don't think the Bible is literal or historical - I think it's more important to look for the truth in the stories, rather than worrying about whether the stories are true.

There are also lots of Christians who don't think that prayer DOES change the world - but perhaps in some way it changes the person who is praying, and that is what matters.

I would say to start whereever you feel at home. You don't have to accept the whole Christian package - whatever you might think that might be. You just have to find a place where you can be peaceful and start to find yourself and your spiritual centre.

morningpaper Sat 23-Apr-05 18:01:55

Another thought is that perhaps you could think about finding somewhere where you could go for a retreat for a day? There are lots of Christian centres around where you can go for day or so and have a spiritual guide to help you. I found Loyola Hall in Liverpool really peaceful and I went on a two-day guided retreat when I was asking questions about what kind of God I could believe in ... it was guided by a Jesuit priest who spent an hour or so a day with me helping me to explore different ideas about God from different religions including Christianity. It was just what I needed. There are lots of places which offer this kind of spiritual space - perhaps you could think about that?

ionesmum Sat 23-Apr-05 21:48:47

Rinkydink, I'm really sorry to hear of what your mum was told. There are churches and Christians who see things differently.

As morningpaper says, not all Christians believe the Bible to be literally true. I don't; but I believe there is a lot of truth in it, about God, about ourselves and how we should be. With regards to prayer, I do believe that God answers prayer but in his/her way, not always a way that we can understand. Prayer becomes away of feeling God's presence in your life; it's not about shooting off a list of requests and expecting miracles.

With regards to how cruel the world is, well, I agree that it is hard to understand sometimes why there is so much suffering. But cruelty is man-made; it is something that people choose to be. It is harder to understand natural suffering but in the end that is what faith is about; I believe in spite of suffering. And I believe in a suffering God who grieves with us.

I think that morningpaper's idea of a retreat is excellent. The Retreat Association has a good guide - think their address is www.retreats.org.uk - if that doesn't work then google it.

Maybe the Quaker faith might be what you are looking for?

Rinkydink Sun 24-Apr-05 20:37:52

I love to be in Church, especially old stone ones. There's so much feeling there. I feel quite emotional in them. I think this week i'll go to a couple locally, and find out what services they do and when, see if i can make it along to some.
I just hope i'm not too critical too soon.
Thanks for your posts, good to know people care xxx

juniperdewdrop Sun 24-Apr-05 20:49:48

Our c of e church is held in a school hall and I prefer it to the old church (our sister church) I bet you'd love it rinkydink as it's the oldest in our town.

IMO the people make the church. I started going to a c of e church when first looking into christianity (8 yrs ago) and that was a v unfriendly church. No one spoke to me, well just the vicar. The one I go to now couldn't be more different, even the people in the old church are amazing

I'll be thinking of you as you search hun xx

ruty Tue 26-Apr-05 14:04:15

just wanted to second ionesmum, there are many Christians and vicars who see things differently to the vicar who was unkind to your mum. God loves us all equally, and prejudice is a human creation, not one of God's.

donnie Tue 26-Apr-05 14:42:03

also I agree with morningpaper's point that lots of Christians don't accept all the bible stories literally - they are symbols ormetaphors in many ways. It is true that some parts of the Christian church are anti-gay etc, but equally true that others aren't. My hubby and I attend our CofE church regularly and we have come to the conclusion that it is human nature to 'disagree' with certain aspects of any teaching, whatever it is. Therefore you should not feel that it is unchristian to not accept every single part of the teaching being offered. There are still lots of disagreements over the whole gay thing, women preists etc. My feeling, from reading your posts, is that you are quite Christian in outlook but need some convincing!you should feel able to ask whatever question you want of any vicar as well - don't be shy to!

DixiExpat Wed 27-Apr-05 11:33:28

I think the great divide within churches is generally which ones choose to accept the scriptures as the final and ultimate authority/infallable word of G-d and those that simply look to it as the smallest basis of their "Christian" faith. Most denominations have very liberal branches as ppl have said.Sort of like Sadducess and Pharisees, the differences are that great and most people can easily "pick and choose" a congregation that is convenient with their lifestyle.I am conservative Christian and find it increasingly difficult to find a truly conservative congregation especially since there aren't any Messianic synagogues in my area.Its getting easier and easier to find liberal ones ie. those that accept unmarried live-in couples as well as gay couples as church members etc;Most pastors/vicars etc; are more than happy to give you their congregation's statement of faith or answer questions specific to your needs without prejudice (at least they certainly should!)

ionesmum Wed 27-Apr-05 17:15:03

Rinkydink, remember that God accepts you as you are. He sees in your heart and knows what is there. IME church congregations are made up of a big mix of people with different views - at our church we have people against women priests and in favour (our new priest is a woman); people who co-habit and people who think that is wrong; people who are divorced and remarried; people who are liberal on the gay issue and people who aren't. And as Christians we try to get along, allow for each other's point of view and not judge others. To take the Bible too literally is to worship a book, not God. I get so sad when barriers are put between people and God, like that vicar did with your mum. Believing being in a gay relationship is wrong did not give him the right to force your mum to choose or give him the right to exclude her from his church. The only person who has the right to judge is God.

SleepyJess Wed 27-Apr-05 17:48:52

Ionesmum and morningpaper.. you are so wise. You echo my thoughts on these threads.. or rather I read what you have written and think 'yes! that's what I think.. but in articulated form!'

Rinkydink.. I'm always posting these links.. but you might like to try reading this . It's part one of a trilogy.. and there are others in the series. Well worth a go.. helped me loads and I identify with what you are saying a lot.

SJ x

Papillon Wed 27-Apr-05 17:55:33

and even a heathen like meself enjoys the insights in those books SJ

And I agree with lots MP and IM say... especially about taking the bible literally... imo abit dangerous when there have been re-writes and modernisations. Better dash off now though before I cause trouble

juniperdewdrop Wed 27-Apr-05 19:19:40

Yes also agree about not taking the bible literaly. Imagine if we behaved like a lot of those in the OT?

There are people of all views in my church/s too. One of my friends was reduced to feeling an inch tall the other day after she told a fellow churchgoer that she was pg. Because friend isn't married CG said "well we all sin sometimes" It's a good job I wasn't there tbh. Friend still likes this person for who she is though and tbh expected a reaction like this. I've found I have to have thicker skin since going to Church as people can be very, shall we say, honest!! I've got some lovely like minded friends though too who have a bit more tact

ionesmum Wed 27-Apr-05 22:13:18

Sleepyjess and Papillon .

juniper - what???? Your poor friend. It's not an uncommon attitude unfortunatley.

The Bible contains factual errors which cannot be true. If these things are wrong then it is impossible to believe that the rest of it has come down to us unaltered. Right from when it was first written, the individual concerns of the writers shaped its content. But it does also tell us what God is like and what Jesus' message for all of us is, and it gives us a code to live by: love God, and love others as you love yourself.

Lonelymum Wed 27-Apr-05 22:17:58

Would it be sacrilegious to say that you could go to church for the community and the comfort and the support, without having to believe every word of the Bible or the rituals? That is what I would like to do, but never seem to quite get through the first gate. But I think a truly Christian community should welcome you, no matter what you believe inside, as long as you show respect towards the main aspects of the faith.

ionesmum Wed 27-Apr-05 22:24:49

Lonelymum, I think most Christians would say they are on a journey. Few of us can beleive in everything - I certainly have more questions than answers, but I know that at the core of what Christianity is about there is the 'pearl beyond price'. And yes, A Christian community should welcome you wherever you are on that journey.

DixiExpat Thu 28-Apr-05 14:24:00

I know the way the vicar treated your mother was very hurtful to you both, according to scripture he did have the right to judge what happens in his own congregation but, I personally feel he most certainly could have done it with compassion and tact such as setting up a meeting and fully discussing the situation and the options.

I think having such an attitude using no tact whatsoever only makes people want to run away from the "church" and "God" and is it any wonder people think Christians are often mean spirited hate mongers?

I don't think homosexuality was G-d's plan for man and woman BUT he gave us all free will,what we do with that as long as it isn't affecting other people in a negative way is between us and our maker.

I am guessing its possible the vicar based his decision on 1 Corinthians 5:12,13. He was probably only doing what he felt was in accordance with the word regarding judgement within the congregation.

It possibly would have been different if she had began attending and already had a partner...whatever the explanation, I hate that it has caused so much pain and confusion .

I hope that you find a congregation that embraces you and that you'll have a fair chance of experiencing true Christian Love.

DixiExpat Thu 28-Apr-05 14:34:27

I forgot to add lol sorry

My beliefs are Messianic as I have said before.
That means I do not feel the Torah was completely done away with.

Most of my prayer time amd personal study I have to do alone at home.
If I observe the moeds/feasts, or lighting candles for Shabbat I do it on my own.

I attend an Evangelical church because there is no Messianic synagogue in my area, in fact the only one I know of in Scotland meets once a month many miles away.

Though I agree on most accounts with the Evangelical statment of Faith, it is only bits and pieces to the puzzle of my faith.

I do understand what its like to be a member of a church and not feel completed by it.
Its only a very small aspect of my faith and I have to realy "dig in" on my own.

...at the end of the day though, it IS my personal relationship with G-d.I do agree that we shouldn't forsake assembly, because its good to meet up with like minded people who may be struggling with whatever issues,whether its as dramatic as a divorce or as simple as Torah st udy questions etc;

I think its rare for anyone to just become a member at a church somewhere, all of their questions are answered and they live happily ever after lol I don't mean that in a cynical way.

For me, the more I learn and study the more questions I have, but that to me is one of the most exciting aspects, the detective work that goes with it.

Even though I choose to believe the Bible,contrary to what many would say is right I also turn to the Talmud,Zohar and historical writings of Josephus as well as other commentaries because they give me a greater understanding of the thinking at the time the Bible was written.

As someone said below, it is a journey, a very personal one.

I just hope you can make some sense out of what I am trying to say I am not always the best at conveying it to type.

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