What is controversy? Wikipedia describes it as "a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion".
I will describe it as the point we've reached in my blog where you will continue to read or not. I figured I would put this out near the beginning of the endeavor as to not "surprise" anyone later.
Part of this blog is for me to get out into the open (more for myself than anything), how it is I (and my family) do what I (we) do with this shifting world. In order to describe that, I should probably first break down a little of our "knowings" (otherwise known as belief systems).
I call it "knowings" and not a belief system because it is something that I KNOW from the depths of my being. I don't need to believe it or have faith that it will work. I know it, I live it, I am it. It works for me and my family, it may not work for you. I am not trying to push anything on anyone as I wouldn't want that done to me. I am simply describing our life, values, and "knowings" to better understand where we are coming from. At no time am I judging or am I asking to be judged. It is what it is and if you don't like it, if it contradicts everything you know in a way that conjures up in you a need to "put me in my place", I ask you just stop reading my blog and move along.
We don't have a religion...period. We are a spiritual family with an "openness" to many faiths. I myself was brought up in an orthordox Catholic family, with a Jewish step family, a Baptist "mom's side of the family" (which I barely if ever saw and when I did, it wasn't pretty), a family priest (and best friend growing up) with an entirely Buddhist background and incorporated that in his Catholic teachings, and myself...with a undeniable draw towards paganism and my own (less than half) Native American heritage (and a small trial run in boot camp to try Mormonism).
What did that turn into? Freedom of religion to have no one religion. I am an ordained minister in "The Universal Light Church" which is a church without a church so to speak. It is a church definitely like no other as it doesn't conform to any one religion or belief, it...like me, likes them all and values in them all what works for the individual. I am also (brace yourself), a High Priestess of Universal Alchemy. It is a term I came up with (launched and started) as I also didn't want to "conform" to any new age form of paganism or anything with any sort of orthodox structure as that is not me, nor is it my family.
Now does this mean that I don't teach my children about the bible? No it doesn't. It means not only do I teach my children about the Bible, I teach them about the Torah, the Wiccan Bible, the Native American stories of my ancestors, the Book of Mormon, Buddha and Krishna, and yes even Muhammad. I can even go further and talk about other "enlightened beings" currently on the planet whose teachings I also pass forward from myself to my children as I find them equally as important and inspiring. But we are not bound by any teaching. It is a fluid thing to us and we grow and shift from it, then continue moving forward.
I do not believe that Religion should separate us. I KNOW that what separates us isn't God, it's us. It is a choice to live in a space of judgment and instead of judging, I chose openness and to not be around those that would push their judgment on me because I don't feel that I need to fight anyone or prove anyone wrong. I am what I am, I live how I live, and I am happy in that. Truly happy.
Now, how has my "knowings" changed things for my family and I? A lot of people (my own extended family included) couldn't handle my choices both in spiritual practices and in life choices (which I base in the same "openness" as my "knowings"). A lot of friends that were friends (since I can't even remember) chose not to be so anymore. I myself, "let go in love" friends and family that were constantly bitter, negative, and unsupportive to me and my immediate family. I know it's a shocker to think, how can you "let go" of your family? They are your family no matter what, it's a solid unyielding thing almost. Well not to me. Another one of my "knowings" is that I honor myself and love myself as much as I am capable (and that evolves and shifts onwards and upwards as I do), and there were certain people in my life a few years back who's only interest was to "dump" their negativity on me, put me in a box, and barrate me with their "belief systems" and cynicism. I never felt loved, I never felt supported (even though I gave it in spades), and it came to a point where I heavily weighed the pros and cons of such a relationship and decided that (for the time being), they were not heading the same direction I was and it was not helping anyone to remain in such a "toxic" attachment. I let them go in love, told them that they are always loved by me and always will be but for now we are heading in different directions and I choose to move forward. And that was that.
This happens a lot with rapidly shifting people. They grow so fast that they turn around and see that there is no one like them anymore and it's almost as if they are being pulled back down to where they were because the ones they are close to notice that they no longer fit the perception of what's comfortable to everyone but themselves. It was not an easy choice for me to make and it's not set in stone, it is as fluid as I am and always up to renegotiation as long as love and acceptance is present (and mutual).
There have been some really great things to come out of this. By choosing myself and loving myself first, I have only invited into my life those people who do the same for themselves and me and have created quite the "spiritual family" of love and support to which I would have never known had I not made my choices.
Now onto my other "knowings"... I know that God (Source) isn't separate from me. He is me. He and She is in me, and they are all of us living in harmony together. This is what I know. So when I put love for myself first, I am putting much more than myself on the table... I am putting God, my family, and even you there with me because I know (despite physical realty limitations), we are all one. Me doing what's right for me and loving myself does the same (energy wise) for everyone and everything connected by God (Source). If I have to let someone go from my physical reality, nothing on the love level changes...it is just growing in different directions and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with your path and there is nothing wrong with mine. It is all learning, growing, and necessary....and above all...EQUAL. This is what I KNOW.
So do I believe in one God or many? The answer to both is yes. :D (I'll let that sit with you a bit)
My "openness" life choices...
I am married to a great man and have been for 7 and a half years. But we don't hold the same view on marriage that most others do. We don't feel "bound" to each other by our vows or the restrictive constraint that society puts on "the sanctity of marriage". We are best friends and that will not (nor has it ever) change. We are also and always will be parents to our children. That is our agreement. We live in love with one another always but there has been times where we have had time apart to grow with someone else. It is not an "open" marriage in the sense to not imply a simple romp in the hay with whoever is available. It is an agreement that we started before the "I do's" that if and when we would ever meet anyone that we connected with on a soul level in unconditional love, we would discuss it and go further from there. What this means is there have been times in our marriage where we have loved others while being "separated" from our marriage relationship, and for that duration. We always eventually came back together because there was more work and growing to be done between the two of us. We decided a long time ago that we would be married as long as we felt that we had that type of relationship agreement with one anther. I know how this can be interpreted as "it sounds like you are only doing the fun stuff and ignoring the real work"....this couldn't be more further from the truth. We have endured and grown so much together as a couple that I never thought I could feel so fulfilled in life with another person. We don't take anything for granted with one another anymore and everyday is a choice to be together, not an obligation. It is a beautiful thing to us and not something we are in the least bit shameful or feel guilty over, and we never will.
I can go on and on about more "controversial" things we do that differ from society, but I don't feel the need to. The gist is there. We choose to live free. Free to live, love, and be... without anyone telling us otherwise. It works for us, it allows us to be better people, and I feel more at peace and a sense of purpose in my life by staying true to who I am and allowing and encouraging my family to do the same.
So in future blogs, if I have my kids involved in Christian-based (or other religious-themed) activities. It is not to say that I choose that particular religion for us nor is it to say that I am only using them. It is a choice I make for my family to be around positive people moving in positive directions. Even if it's not the same way we do it (and I would never expect it to be). My family and I don't have to only associate with those of like minded-ness. We unconditionally love and accept everyone regardless, and if our kids go to Christian acting camp or Jewish dance class, it's because the people there accept and love us too and we are so grateful for that.